Interview with Mabelle Reynoso, Dramaturg for “Feliz Cumpleaños”

Playwrights Project will produce its 35th annual festival of Plays by Young Writers at The Joan B. Kroc Theatre on January 29 – February 1, 2020. The festival will feature winning scripts from its California Young Playwrights Contest for ages 18 and under.

Contest winners were selected from 561 plays submitted by students from across the state. Three scripts will receive full professional productions, and one script will receive a staged reading in this highly regarded festival of new voices.

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 return as a dramaturg for Plays by Young Writers.

What caught your attention when you first read the script?
Feliz Cumpleaños is a play about some really fascinating relationships. I was excited about the prospects of the playwright digging deeper into these relationships and making discoveries as she continued to work on the script.

Can you please share any details about your vision for the play?
I’d love for this play to resonate with audiences from all walks of life. For some audiences, this story might hit close to home — the characters are people they know or can identify with. For others, it might be eye-opening. People who go through what the main character Cami experiences are not simply statistics, nor are they invisible. My hope is that people will see this play and think about the preconceived narratives they have about others, and ask themselves if they see others as more than just a label.

Mabelle and “Feliz Cumpleaños” playwright Jordan Finley discuss the script

What are a few of the highlights of working with young writers?
I LOVE working with young writers. The perspective of a young writer is refreshing and exciting. Young writers are willing to take chances and play with characters. It’s also nice to keep up with the language and pop culture of a younger generation, and Jordan was kind enough to educate me. Who knew “tea” could be a verb?

Please feel free to include any other information or insights you wish!
In addition to being a playwright, Jordan is also a wonderful actress. Playwrights Project Executive Director Cecelia Kouma and I traveled up to UC Santa Barbara where Jordan is a freshman to see her perform as Charlotte in The White Card. Jordan is definitely going places, and I am lucky to have crossed paths with her. 

Mabelle, Cecelia, and Jordan at UCSB

The Plays by Young Writers Festival’s public performance will take place February 1, 2020 at 7:30pm.

For more information, please contact Playwrights Project at (858) 384-2970 or at
Tickets can be purchased on Playwrights Project’s website.

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