So Tony, where were you born?
Guadalajara, Mexico. Which if you’re now wondering if I’m legal, the answer is yes.
What was your childhood like?
I’m the baby in my family by a pretty decent gap, so I remember craning my neck back a lot to look up at everyone. To this day, I still don’t know what to do around people shorter than me.
What made you want to pursue playwriting?
I started to notice I liked storytelling in general when I was still playing with toys up to an age that by all accounts would be embarrassing. Once I Toy Story 3’d my childhood, I turned to the page.
What is your workspace like?
I write on the floor actually, and have for a while, which I think has affected how I sit in chairs now. Doesn’t feel right anymore.
What distinguishes a play by Tony Meneses?
I’m actively trying to get the audience to care more. I am interested in stories, with people and realities sometimes unlike our own, that still get the audience to connect to and see themselves in. This can sometimes veer toward the sentimental, but I don’t think there’s anything wrong with showing people a humanity worth caring about. Maybe it can then translate into how we move through the world and how we treat others.
Who are your heroes, theatrical or otherwise?
Love me some Thornton Wilder, Caryl Churchill, and Samuel Beckett. Add Virginia Woolf, James Joyce, and Gabriel Garcia Marquez to that literary mix, and we got a party. A special shout out to Oni Faida Lampley for gifting me the most moving experience I’ve ever had at the theatre.
What turns you on/off about theater?
Here are some of my loves: suspension of disbelief, plays with big ambitions, ensemble writing, diversity on stage (preferably a healthy mix of all kinds of identities.)
Bored with: the opposite of what I just listed.
What would your middle school self say about you?
“I see you haven’t gained any weight...”
Where do see yourself in ten years?
I really don’t make long-term plans for fear of mighty hubris striking me down. Ideally though, I’d like to be more stable economically, teaching, writing. Two or three kids would be nice.
If the apocalypse was tomorrow, what would you do tonight?
What are you working on now?
I spent Halloween weekend this year writing a ghost story. Next on the horizon is reading a lot in preparation for a play that I know now is going to require time and thoughtful crafting. Trying to do some homework before and cultivate and broaden my own sense of what literature and theatre could be.
Anything else you want to mention?
A plug of sorts. I have a play being produced through the DCA in Chicago this Spring. Should be a good time. Here’s some info.