In the beginning of August, I traveled to one of my favorite cities to develop my play The Stories of Us with Vision Latino, a dope theatre company in Chicago. This has been in the works for about a year. I thought it was going to be an opportunity to hear my work and get feedback from the audience, but Xavier Custodio, Johnathan Michael Nieves and Yajaira Yari Custodio Baez made it so much more.
Two of my closest friends, Myhanh and Jorge, came to Chicago with me. It was pretty much a "girls trip". I felt like the character, Ryan, because just like her friends were coming to see her Keynote speech, I had my #flossypossy there to see my show. And we did get some fun in!
But let me tell you about this process. I went into the reading room with the actors and they gave me notes that took my play to an ENTIRE new level. Xavier, the director, set up a space where the actors and creative team could dig into the work and offer their feedback. It was beautiful because I was seeing the play through an entirely different set of eyes and perspectives.
I spent each night up until 3 am (that's why my hair was in a ponytail) writing, eating Taco Bell and thinking about the Stories of Us.
When Thursday came around, I was tired, but ready to see what we had come up with. I was nervous as well. How would the audience react? What would they respond to? Would they hate it? These were my thoughts.
When the audience came in, I was surprised at the response. I heard laughter, snaps and gasps...okay, the audience is responding!
In fact, many people were touched by the work and offered their own stories. It was a beautiful experience.
I want to thank Johnathan for pulling together a great cast. Xavier for being a dope director and for pushing me! Yari for producing and keeping me encouraged. I want to thank Dago, Matthew, Victor, Ayanna, Katrina, Destiny and Jocelyn for being a part of this process. This was a tough process, but I was so grateful for the wonderful artists that I got to work with.
I can't wait to see you again Chicago. Leaving you is always hard.