What’s your name and where are you from?
My name is Tony Meneses, and I am from Dallas, TX and Albuquerque, NM.
Albuquerque was small for my family, but I was a kid, so I didn’t notice. They wanted something bigger, so we moved to Dallas. I took advantage of the opportunity to have a fresh start and “reinvent.” I was thirteen. I wasn’t doing so hot in school before that. I used to fail all my classes just because I was lazy. The “classic teacher” pulled me aside in 8th grade and was like, “you know you’re smarter than this?” It actually hit me in a very important, like change-my-life kind of way. So I went to Dallas and I told myself I was going to try and do my schoolwork and see how smart I really was. Teachers can really have a huge impact. It kind of saved my life.
What have you been working on this week?
Yea, so this week, it’s been very structured. After breakfast, I am working on a rewrite of a play I wrote last year that I’ve been trying to write for five years. I applied with it to a couple places and made finalist, so I thought, “ok this is worth more than I thought.” Lunchtime and on is a new play that I’m trying to finish by September 7th. I’ve never done two things at the same time. I’ve finally found a rhythm for it. It’s probably good, because I can’t be too precious about one thing.
I’m hoping to get just two acts done by September 7th. It really started with an anecdote about my mom and her young life, living in Mexico City. It’s about her young love life, kind of like the metaphor of when we go to New York. That kind of a thing. She’s stepping into her young womanhood, her young adulthood. She recently told me this story of how she dated a guy from Japan which none of us had ever heard about, especially with the interracial dating, and all of that. My eldest brother is my half brother, and I never knew the story of that guy, but he was the love of her life. More than my Dad. So she shared the story of the man who she fell in love with and broke her heart. For me, it’s just a story of a young woman stepping into the world. The real world. I’ve been thinking about what we fantasize about when it comes to love; what we have and what we think we have in our head can be two very different things. Sometimes when they converge, it’s nice, but I think they are actually two different things. It’s like Brooklyn, the movie… just set in Mexico.
I write a lot of female characters. I grew up with a lot of women. I just find them to be more… interesting? I think guarded men are very boring, and I don’t find them very dynamic on stage or in real life. They just don’t make sense to me as characters. Or as real live people. It was always very clear to me just how few things were female led. I’m also a gay man, so I find it an accessible talking point in my writing. I don’t think I view women the way straight men view women sometimes, so to separate the attraction to the human that’s there is also a thing. Every one of my favorite authors or mentors have all been female.
Where do you see your new play going?
I have a reading on October 7th right after my Ars Nova presentation, so I’m hoping this new play will be that. I will develop it in a 30 hour workshop. The director and actors have a week with it, and then at the end is the culminating reading.
Where have you been spending most of your time on the farm?
Now alluding back to the female authors, I’m having a full Virginia Woolfe “room of one’s own” moment this week. I’ve just been in my room, Ambrose. It’s got such character. I moved the desk to this window so I can creep on everyone else walking by. I need walls. I’m very distractable. I don’t go to coffee shops. I don’t go to other places. It has to be my own environment.
If you could be reincarnated as any farm animal, which would you be, and why?
Only because I just saw it today, but there was a really beautiful, white caterpillar with black dots crawling outside my window this morning. I was just watching it. See this is why I can’t be outside, because I just zoned in on this caterpillar. It was moving. He knew where he was going… but he wasn’t getting there very fast. I think that’s the perfect metaphor of who I am and how long it’s taken me to get to where I am. He already has character and his little spots. Cute. Fuzzy. Small and unsuspecting.