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ATC awards playwright Erlina Ortiz for comedy 'La Egoista'

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After making use of a number of years and being handed over, Erlina Ortiz has gained Arizona Theatre Firm’s 2022 Nationwide Latine Playwrights Award together with her comedy titled “La Egoista.”

Ortiz, who’s from Studying, Pa., stated the inspiration for “La Egoista” — which interprets into “The Egocentric” — got here from her personal private experiences being born right into a Latino family and as somebody who’s chronically in poor health.

“I used to be identified with Crohn’s illness after I was 23 years outdated, so I used to be compelled instantly out of my life and compelled to face my human physique and the issues that it had,” Ortiz stated. “That kind of jarring scenario at all times stayed with me. Now I am somebody who at all times has to navigate this power sickness. I needed to put in writing about my very own expertise being within the hospital.”

One of many characters within the play goes by the identical expertise she went by. Ortiz stated she had at all times needed to put in writing a play a few humorist. Her title is Josefina, and her character is mild, a bit irreverent and “would not take something critically.” Her reverse is her sister Betsaida, who was identified with the power sickness, and a pious, spiritual individual.

Whereas Josefina makes folks chuckle together with her comedic skits, Betsaida’s well being deteriorates. Ortiz stated she needed to make the sisters love one another and settle for one another even by their variations. The play has surrealist components and it employs components akin to magic and puppeteering. The play additionally walks the road of “find out how to discover stability between the selfless and the egocentric.”

“As a Latina, girls are anticipated to offer a lot and are anticipated to take over households when any individual is in poor health or when there is a disaster. That sort of cultural trait is in these girls and that is why it is referred to as ‘La Egoista.’ When do you determine to be egocentric and the way is that the higher selection like taking good care of your self first, which isn’t one thing we’re taught as Latinas,” she advised the Tucson Sentinel.

Ortiz stated that though it is not specified within the play that the sisters are Latinas, she stated anybody within the Latine group would be capable of acknowledge the tradition. It’s important for Ortiz so as to add to the Latine narrative within the arts. When she was youthful, she did not know trendy Latin playwrights existed and had been working within the trade, she stated.

All of it modified for her when she noticed “In The Heights,” the hit Broadway musical by award-winning playwright and composer Lin-Manuel Miranda. She noticed herself and the tales of her tradition mirrored by the music and the challenges they confronted.

“It makes you’re feeling larger than you truly are and never smaller than you’re, which is at all times what we’re taught, is to only be smaller. If we do not inform the tales, who will?” Ortiz stated. “And I hope {that a} younger Latina will get to learn my performs and realizes that her story is legitimate. Hopefully our tales will proceed to not solely be about poverty or crossing the border or gun violence or trauma, however proceed to be about who we’re as folks on this world.”

Ortiz’s play was commissioned by Dwell & In Colour. It was introduced on the 2022 LTC Comedy Carnaval. She leads Energy Avenue Theatre in Pennsylvania. Her play “Las Mujeres” acquired The Bonaly Award for Creation of Group Pleasure in 2018. In 2019, her play “Morir Sonyando” was nominated for six Barrymore Awards. She shall be engaged on totally producing “La Egoista” by 2023.

The ATC award consists of $2,500 and a workshop.

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