Eliana Pipes Wins 2020 ATC National Latinx Playwriting Award
Eliana Pipes, a playwright, actor and filmmaker, has won Arizona Theatre Company’s 2020 National Latinx Playwriting Award for Dream Hou$e, which follows two Latinx sisters on an HGTV-style show who are selling their family home, hoping to capitalize on the gentrification of their “changing neighborhood.”
Pipes, the recipient of the 2019 Academy Gold Fellowship for Women and the Leah Ryan Fund Prize for Emerging Women Writers, will receive $1,000 and a workshop of her play at Arizona Theatre Company. Pipes lives in Portland, Ore.
“Dream Hou$e invites us into the unspoken and intimate world between sisters against the loud noise of societal expectations of money and success,” said ATC Playwright-in-Residence Elaine Romero. “The play suggests that giving up one’s family home might be akin to giving up nothing more than one’s history, one’s ancestors, and ultimately, one’s body. If America has an un-dream, Dream Hou$e reveals it with its artful storytelling.”
In Dream Hou$e, as the sisters perform for the camera, the show starts to slip into the surreal: one sister grapples with turmoil in the family’s ancestral past and the other learns how much she’s willing to sacrifice for the family’s future. What’s the cultural cost of progress in America – and is cashing in always selling out?
“Our judges loved that Dream Hou$e demanded that this play be in the medium of theatre and no other,” Romero said.
Chanel Bragg, Arizona Theatre Company’s Associate Artistic Director and one of the judges, noted, “It’s true artistry the way Eliana uses the complicated relationship between sisters as an allegory for the past and present. This socially conscious play examines the tragedy of sacrificing heritage in return for economic prosperity.”
Pipes’ work has been developed or presented at the NNPN/Kennedy Center MFA Workshop, Ars Nova ANT Fest, San Diego Rep New Latinx Play Festival, Two River Theater Crossing Borders Festival, The Fire This Time Festival and the Samuel French Off-Off Broadway Festival. She holds a BA in English from Columbia University and just completed coursework for a MFA in Playwriting from Boston University.
“Arizona Theatre Company has celebrated up-and-coming Latinx playwrights and their work for more than 20 years,” said ATC Artistic Director Sean Daniels. “It’s exciting to be part of their rise in the theatre world by producing and sharing the work of these incredibly talented artists.”
Runner-up for the 2020 ATC award was Dr. Teresa Marrero for Second-Hand Conversations with Irene, a four-actor play inspired by an imaginary conversation with María Irene Fornés and an homage to her teachings and to all creative women, who, in spite of the fog, shine forth with brilliance and humor.
“This one is personal for me,” Romero said. “When I first read Second-Hand Conversations with Irene, I felt as if I had been transported in time to the foot of my teacher, María Irene Fornés with whom I studied in Mexico in the 1990s. Teresa captures the spirit of Fornés with every word, the personal musings of our teacher, but also the idiosyncratic nature of a type of writing Irene would draw out of a playwright that evokes, without over-explaining, that lives in subtext more than text, that rides the world of a single image and leaves us asking for more.”
Dr. Marrero is a Professor of Spanish at the University of North Texas. Besides plays, she writes scholarly essays, short fiction and performance commentaries as a theatre critic.
ATC is accepting entries for the 2021 National Latinx Playwriting Award, which must be postmarked by Nov. 1, 2020. More information is available at www.arizonatheatre.org/national-latino-playwriting-award.