Natalie Wood Was Not Puerto Rican
by Matt Barbot

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An unsuspecting Sam falls head over heels during a game of dominos: Ana, recently displaced from her home in Puerto Rico, is going for a run in the park where Sam and his elderly friend Herbie play. But when he discovers that his new leading lady hates his favorite Broadway musical (and its iconic movie adaptation), Sam finds himself struggling to make a love connection.




MATT BARBOT is a Nuyorican writer from Brooklyn, NY. Matt will be workshopping his new play THE BEAUTIFUL LAND I SEEK (LA LINDA TIERRA QUE BUSCO YO) with Fault Line Theatre as part of their inaugural New Plays in Development series. “Spray Cap,” Matt’s contribution to Lynn Nottage and Miranda Haymon’s THE WATERING HOLE theatre event at Signature Theatre in NYC, featured the voice of Liza Colon-Zayas. His 24Hour Play, FRIJOLES, starring Raul Esparza, is available to view on YouTube. In 2018, EL COQUÍ ESPECTÁCULAR AND THE BOTTLE OF DOOM received its world premiere at Two River Theater. PRINCESS CLARA OF LOISAIDA and SAINTS GO MARCHING were featured on Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theater Company’s “The Mix” list. Matt’s first play for young audiences, STOO’S FAMOUS MARTIAN AMERICAN GUMBO, was commissioned by Peppercorn Theatre. Matt was a New York Theatre Workshop 2050 Fellow and has an MFA in playwriting from Columbia University.



1. When did you start writing plays? If you had a moment where you realized you wanted to write, what was it?


I wrote plays here and there since I started acting in high school production, but it wasn’t until I wrote a play with no role for me in it and produced it at FringeNYC when I realized that writing excited me more than acting.


2. How did you come to write your OOB play? Was there a particular inspiration behind its creation? How has it developed?


In the wake of Hurricane Maria there was a lot of discourse about the US government’s relationship and obligations to the island, as well as its fraught history. Pop culture’s role became a significant part of that conversations, and as someone whose own feelings about West Side Story’s impact on the culture and on my own work was more troubled than ever, I decided to confront that head on.


3. What are 5 words that describe who you are as a playwright?


I tell stories about stories.


4. What/who are some of the major influences on your writing?


Right now: Samuel Beckett, Roberto Arlt, Federico García Lorca, Martin McDonagh, Stephen Adly Guirgis, Quiara Alegría Hudes, Kristoffer Diaz, and Lin Manuel Miranda. I’m also always going to be a huge Shakespeare nerd.


5. What’s one fact someone would never guess about you?


I’m double-jointed in my left thumb.


6. What are some of your favorite plays?


The Last Days of Judas Iscariot, by Stephen Adly Guirgis; Marisol, by José Rivera; The Pillowman, by Martin McDonagh; Yemaya’s Belly, by Quiara Alegría Hudes.


7. Any new projects you’re working on or shameless plugs?


This November I’ll be developing my play the beautiful land i seek (la linda tierra que busco yo) with the inaugural Fault Line Theatre: (plays) In Previews program.