The Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center is kicking off 2011 with the 1st Peek Staged Reading Series, featuring San Antonio poet, performer and playwright Celeste Guzman Mendoza. Her never-before-staged play,“El Sabor del Pasado," focuses on family and identity, with a healthy sprinkling of lightheartedness. Mendoza, a San Antonio native now living in Austin, will conduct a Q&A with the audience following the performance.
Give us a brief summary of "El Sabor del Pasado."
Celeste Guzman Mendoza: Like any good novela, the play begins with a death and ends (almost) with a wedding. But unlike the novellas, this play is about one family and the struggles they experience, some of them brought on by the others. The siblings, who range in age from 60s to late 30s, are coming to terms with the recent death of their mother. Rivalries among the siblings and old grudges come to the surface and are almost saved by the wedding of the youngest of the brood.
The play deals a lot with identity, what do you hope the audience learns from the performance?
I hope that people, especially those of us who are in a multigenerational family, will come to understand a bit more about where our older siblings and younger siblings are coming from when conflict arises.
The setting of the play is in San Antonio, considering you now live in Austin, how big of a role does San Antonio play in your works?
San Antonio appears in so much of my writing; it's where I was born and raised. In fact, my ancestors have been in San Antonio since the late 1700s so there is no escaping the city's impact on my own and my family's identity.
You’re a playwright, poet, and pretty much a writers jack of all trades, is there one form of creative writing you prefer rather than the others? And, why?
No. There is no form that I prefer over the other. I do believe that every idea I have has its proper form. I don't always know what the appropriate form is until I've written it out a few times but it comes. This play originally began as a poem I wrote many years ago but never worked out as a poem. So after years of revision I finally just let it go. Then it came back as a play. You never know! That discovery process is what I love about creative work. It so mirrors life in that way.
Any more upcoming works?
I am putting the finishing touches on a manuscript of poetry that Wings Press, which is based in San Antonio, will be publishing. And I have a second manuscript of poetry in the works.
"El Sabor del Pasado" by Celeste Guzman Mendoza
Friday, January 21, 2011
1301 Guadalupe St.