Miriam and JJ are broke millennial artist types. They’re married and in love but wary of having kids. Enter Miriam’s parents with a strange but intriguing offer.
Cristina Luzárraga is a playwright from New Jersey whose dark comedies tend to feature unruly women and an exploration of the grotesque and uncanny. Her plays include Critical Distance, Millennialville, Havana Syndrome, and La Mujer Barbuda (2019 Screencraft Stage Play Winner and Princess Grace Award Finalist). An alum of The Second City Conservatory in Chicago and Ensemble Studio Theatre’s Youngblood collective, she is a 2019-2020 Jerome Fellow at the Playwrights’ Center in Minneapolis where she currently resides. Her work has been developed with Playmakers Repertory Company, Teatro LATEA, Tantrum Theater, IATI Theater, The New Colony, and Chicago Dramatists, and her short plays are published in anthologies by Smith and Kraus. She holds a BA from Princeton and an MFA from Ohio University.
A BIT ABOUT THE PLAYWRIGHT
1. When did you start writing plays? If you had a moment where you realized you wanted to write, what was it?
I started writing plays in college, but I developed the interest in high school when I read Edward Albee’s The Zoo Story and was like: woah, this is disturbing and funny, and I love it.
2. How did you come to write your OOB play? Was there a particular inspiration behind its creation? How has it developed?
I recently turned 30 and got engaged (and was about to get married until Covid-19 struck—new wedding date TBD). So the adult milestones of marriage and childbearing have been top of mind lately, and this OOB play is me trying to reckon with what it means to be a grown-up when you still feel like a kid. Also, what are the repercussions of a plummeting national birth rate?
3. What are 5 words that describe who you are as a playwright?
Groping in the dark; neurotic
4. What/who are some of the major influences on your writing?
Edward Albee was the initial influence, and I still return to his work as the north star of weird+funny+unsettling. Maria Irene Fornés’s whole “let go! be free!” ethos later helped me loosen up in my approach to playwriting. But today, I’m most inspired by the work of peers I’ve encountered in grad school and writer’s groups. Plus, those niche, boundary-pushing TV shows where you’re like, how did they pull that off? For instance, I love the show Baskets. A failed Pierrot turned rodeo clown—what a concept.
5. What’s one fact someone would never guess about you?
I was 30 and had an MFA before I read my first Arthur Miller play. I don’t know how that happened but it did, and I’m both proud and ashamed of that.
6. What are some of your favorite plays?
5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche, boom, Is This a Room, Marisol, Mr. Burns, The Pillowman, Plano, Venus, We’re Proud to Present…, What the Butler Saw
7. Any new projects you’re working on or shameless plugs?
I just started working on a musical about Betty Crocker, who, fun fact: was not a real person. I’m also developing a play about the famous libertine turned prude, St. Augustine. And I’m in the early stages of a play about three women who accidentally become co-owners of a brownstone when their toilets collapse through the floors.