Latina playwright Olivia Custodio is a member of Plan-B’s Theatre Artists of Color Writing Workshop. She makes her playwriting debut this season with a dark comedy about bagels, rental cars and rednecks: “Drivers License, Please” is one of four short plays that comprise …OF COLOR, premiering in March of 2019.
Writing a play is weird. Seriously weird.
As an actor, I usually feel pretty confident when I walk out onto a stage and give a performance. But watching my play onstage?! Welcome to Insecurityville, population: me! It is a very strange thing to write words from your heart and know that people are going to hear them. It’s as though someone else gets to read your diary to a crowd and you have zero power to control how it goes. Personally, I think writing a play is far scarier than being an actor. I still can’t even use the word ‘playwright’ to describe myself.
Writing “Drivers License, Please” has taught me a lot about myself, which isn’t something that I necessarily thought would happen during the process of creating a one-act play. It has taught me that yes, I do actually know what I’m doing and I have to trust it. I have to be okay with the fact that it will never be perfect and sometimes, as Julie Jensen says, you need to “just write the damn thing!” That other opinions matter, but ultimately I get to tell my story the way I want to. Sure, it may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but neither was the awkward and crunchy afro that I sported freshman year of college, and hey, I survived that too.
I am forever grateful beyond words for the opportunity Plan-B has given me. I’m honestly not exaggerating when I say it has changed my life. I’m not sure where another opportunity like this would have ever come along. But it did, and it taught me about myself, how playwrights are seriously unreal with the endless stories they have tucked up inside their brains, how magical actors are, about how much talent is in Salt Lake City, and about how all voices matter. Including mine. Who knows, maybe one day I’ll get around to calling myself a playwright.
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