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Insights from Dramaturg Mabelle Reynoso

January 21, 2016

Mabelle Reynoso is a teaching artist and commissioned playwright for Playwrights Project. Her relationship with Playwrights Project spans over 20 years, beginning when she won the California Young Playwrights Contest. She is delighted to make her debut as a dramaturg for Plays By Young Writers! Below are some of her thoughts and insights on the process of working with Jennifer Curiel on Fronteras Hechas del Dinero. 

Mabelle and Jennifer Smiling CROPPED

Tell us briefly about another theatre project (or projects) you’re working on outside of Plays by Young Writers.

I am currently a teaching artist at Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility and I am working with the advanced playwriting class to create a collaborative script that will be produced at SDSU’s Experimental Theater in April. In addition, in February, I will begin facilitating a Border Lines/Líneas de la Frontera playwriting residency to capture the voices of the immigrant experience.

How does your work in the festival differ from your other work?

As a teaching artist for Playwrights Project, I get the chance to help students come up with ideas and get them going on their plays but I don’t often get the chance to spend a lot of time fleshing out a script, and that’s what I get to do with the festival. It’s wonderful to be able to focus on one script and to witness the evolution.

How do you define your role in the Plays by Young Writers production process?

Because the playwright is away at school (first year of college!), I attend rehearsals and am present for any questions the director or the actors may have. I provide suggestions to the playwright on how to strengthen the script and I also see myself as a bit of a cheerleader. It’s an exciting process and I can’t help but to be excited to be a part of it.

What is your favorite part about being involved with Plays by Young Writers?

I get to re-live history. I was once a Festival winner and it’s thrilling to be a part of this experience now as a dramaturg.

Any specific story or moment or insight you’d like to share about the writer or play you are currently working on?

I think Jennifer’s script tells a compelling story that embodies what I love about theater, which is to create empathy. Fronteras tells a story that we may not know firsthand, but it is a very real story that brings to the forefront the difficult choices some people have to make. This play simply draws you in and makes you ask yourself, “What would you do?”

What do you hope the young playwrights will learn from this experience?

I hope the playwrights truly appreciate how the words that they wrote took flight. What was born in the minds of these young writers resulted in a larger group of talent coming together to realize their visions. I think that’s pretty spectacular.

Fronteras Hechas del Dinero can be seen during Program A of Plays by Young Writers, on Saturday Jan. 30th at 7:30pm and Sunday Jan. 31st at 2pm. 

For more information and reservations, please contact Playwrights Project at (858) 384-2970 or Visit 


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