Sunday, April 21, 2019

One Theatre World Speakers: Karen Zacarias

Who is really excited about going to TYA/USA’s biggest event-One Theatre World THIS WEEK in conjunction with Cleveland’s Playhouse Square and their acclaimed International Children’s Festival?   Who is crushed that you can’t make it this year?

Well to whet your appetite (or to rub it in that you aren’t in Cleveland this week), David Kilpatrick and Alicia Lark Fuss interviewed the keynote speakers and master class facilitators.   Excerpts from the interviews are in TYA Today.  Here is the entire interview.

Karen is the opening keynote speaker.

Karen Zacarias OTW

1)      What is the first play you remember seeing that made an impression?

When I was very young, living in Mexico City, I saw “Anita la Huerfanita  (Li’l Orphan Annie) ” in Spanish…and I remember thinking…this whole play is about a little girl and her world. That made a big impression…seeing an entire musical from a little girl’s perspective. When I was nine, I saw EVITA (also in Spanish) and I also realized theater’s power in showing the darker, grittier side of a story.

2)      What upcoming project(s) are you most excited about in 2013?

I’m currently developing a large cast, multimedia play for the Denver Theater Center which follows the lives of four Latina high school students, and how immigration policy affects their prospects for a viable future. It’s based on a non-fiction book by Helen Thorpe called JUST LIKE US…and in many ways, it is an extension of my TYA work, bridging my work for adults and young people in a very palpable way.


3)      If you could have a coffee (or an adult beverage) with someone in or related to the field of TYA (living or deceased), who would it be and why? 

I would love to have a glass of wine with Marlo Thomas.  I think her album “FREE TO BE YOU AND ME” was the first thing I heard as a kid that started recognizing the complexity of being a child.  I loved it as a kid.  I still love it as an adult. I would love to have coffee with Suzan Zeder, Laurie Brooks, and Jose Cruz Gonzales; they all have such interesting, textured careers, and have moved the field forward in leaps and bounds. They are a real inspiration.

4)      What advice would you give to a graduating student seeking to enter this field?         

Never forget why and for whom you are doing this work…

Karen is the playwright-in-residence at Arena Stage in Washington, DC and teaches playwriting at Georgetown University. She is the founder of the award-winning arts program Young Playwrights’ Theater which has served over 75,000 children in DC. Last year YPT was honored with an award from the White House and First Lady Michelle Obama as one of the most effective arts program in the USA.

Her plays have been produced at The Kennedy Center, Arena Stage, The Goodman Theater, The Denver Center, Alliance Theater, Round House Theater, Imagination Stage, Berkshire Theater Festival, La Jolla Playhouse, The Arden, Cleveland Playhouse, San Jose Rep, The Berkshire Theater Festival, Oregon Children’s Theater, Childsplay, The Coterie, Nashville Children’s Theatre, Milagro Theatre, First Stage, and many more.



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