jakub | August 24, 2023

AMERICAN THEATRE | The Subtext: Nancy Garcia Loza Needs No Permission to Write


Each month on The Subtext, Brian speaks with a playwright about life, writing, and whatever itches we are scratching. On this episode, Brian visited The Understudy drama book shop in Chicago, to record an episode live in front of an audience with guest Nancy Garcia Loza.

Nancy García Loza is a pocha playwright rooted in Chicago and Jalisco, México. Her audio drama BRAVA: a folktale con música launched Make-Believe Association’s inaugural season (with mention from The New York Times), receiving nominations in six categories at the 2019 ALTA Awards, including: The María Irene Fornés New Play Award and winning in the category of Outstanding Original Music in a Play for her song “Corrido de la Brava.” She is a two-time alumna of the national Fornés Playwriting Workshop. She has enjoyed residencies with: The New Harmony Project, Goodman Playwrights Unit, Oregon Shakespeare Festival Black Swan Lab, SPACE on Ryder Farm Institutional Residency, Chicago Dramatists, and more.

Her work has also been supported by: Paramount Theatre (currently in development with Bull: a love story, world premiere 2022), Teatro Leyden (Wave, TYA world premiere 2021), Broken Nose Theatre, Steppenwolf LookOut Series, Chicago Theatre Marathon, Breath of Fire Latina Theater Ensemble, Collaboraction, UIUC Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, and more. A self-taught playwright, Nancy talks about stumbling into plays by first reading works by Maria Irene Fornes and Tennessee Williams. These plays inspired her love of dialogue, but it took her many years to find herself writing plays, which as she says she “writes from instinct.”

Nancy is the eldest daughter of seven children born to Mexican immigrants. She describes herself as the keeper of stories in her vast family and in this episode talks about the responsibility she feels in this role and how these stories manifest as plays. Coming from a large creative family, she discusses how her family interacts with her work, and how it at times has led to disruptions in family relationships. In the case of her play Rust, Nancy shares the intentional separation of the work from her family; due to the personal nature of the play’s story she needed to create and present it without her parents in attendance. 

This episode can also be found here.

This episode was recorded live on August 21, 2023 in Chicago.

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