Wednesday, November 7, 2012


Desi Moreno-Penson is a playwright and actress based in NYC. Her play, DEVIL LAND, was selected for the 4th Annual Summer Play Festival produced by Arielle Tepper Madover. Other productions include GHOST LIGHT at 59E59 Theatre, and 3 TO A SESSION: A MONSTER’S TALE, which was recently produced at the Teatro Coribantes in San Juan, PR, this past August. The play also won for Best Play at the 2005 Downtown Urban Theatre Festival at the Cherry Lane and was originally developed as part of the 2004 New Works Lab at INTAR. In addition, a new ten-minute play, RECONCILE, BITCH was presented as part of the 1st Annual Red Shirt Rooftop Reading Series produced by Rajendra Ramoon Maharaj and Red Shirt Entertainment.  She holds a Master’s Degree in Dramaturgy and Theatre/Literary Criticism from Brooklyn College where she received the prestigious Samuel Levenson Memorial Scholarship for academic and creative achievement. Desi is represented by Bruce Ostler at Bret Adams, Ltd., in New York.  


1.  Your play "Dead Wives Dance the Mambo In Hell" is in The Decision Play FestivalWhat's the story behind your extraordinarily titled work as well as what inspired you to write this play? 

The extraordinary use of words such as, ''legitimate rape'', by a sitting member of congress clouds the consequences of such unscientific thinking. The story is about if twin sisters suddenly find themselves trapped in Hell looking for their mother, will the charismatic mambo dancer that they encounter be their savior? Or will they be forced to dance the Mambo against their wills?

This may sound a little strange, but for me, it was Aurin Squire…when I received his email, inviting playwrights to submit a ten-minute play dealing with some of the political issues and topics that have come up during this election, I found that I was actually feeling a great deal of emotions about some very definite issues…and this surprised me…I didn’t realize that I actually cared so much, I honestly wasn’t aware that I was as angry about this whole thing as I am. But the strange, underlying, ignorant, and bitterly misogynistic tone that I have consistently felt coming from the Republicans has really unnerved me. It surprised me that I felt such STRONG emotions about this…emotions such as anger, disgust, sadness, deep frustration, and ultimately, fear… a lot of fear…fear that so many hard-won achievements and rights could be systematically taken away from us under a Romney administration, not only as women, but as individuals living in a democratic society. So Aurin’s call for short, political plays encouraged me to look within myself to see how I was truly feeling with regards to this election, and once I did that, a story began to form in my mind.

2. How has this election been different for you? 

I was really scared during this election, you know? Much more so than any other election…I was frankly terrified at the thought of the Republicans getting back into the White House.  I’m not sure we would have been able to survive it. During the Bush administration, I felt like I was in solitary confinement for eight long years. I don’t want to go back to that again, especially since I don’t think Romney was interested at all in being President, I think he was interested in being ‘King,’ and that totally terrifies me!

3. As an artist, what do you think your responsibility is politically to your community (or do you think you even have one)? 

Honestly, I’m not sure that I bear any political responsibility to my community as an artist. Part of my overall idea about myself as a playwright is that I have the freedom to write about anything I want. If people wish to come and support it, then that’s great – if they don’t that’s fine, too. However, having said that, I also think that being a Latina theatre artist automatically makes me pretty political…what I mean by that is although I don’t necessarily see myself as a politically-minded writer, one of my goals as a playwright is to confront the pre-conceived ideas, concepts, notions and perceptions that people still have regarding Latinos…and in my opinion, that’s kind of a political goal to have.   

4. What would it take for you to vote for the other party?

Nothing. I am a staunch Democrat. However, I have to say, if I was offered something like 5 million dollars to switch over and vote Republican…okay…that would be a really tough choice for me…I mean, just thinking about having the resources to be able to produce all of my own plays and not have to worry about ever being supported again by other theatre companies…? WOW! Just the thought of that is soooooo cool!  

5. What do you miss about Bush? 

Are you kidding? I miss absolutely nothing – although I have to admit, his consistent ineptitude, pretentiousness, and idiocy was awfully good for a laugh from time to time, and I’m sure Jon Stewart from “The Daily Show” would agree with me!

6. Favorite president and why? 

I know a lot of people will disagree with me on this, but I really loved Jimmy Carter…granted, I was only a little girl when he was president, but I always found him to be so humble, modest, unassuming, and accessible…I honestly felt like he had this almost ‘grandfatherly’ quality about him, like he genuinely cared about all of us, and wanted only the best for us as a country.

7. When did you think you were going to lose it about what you saw on TV, read, or saw (debates or convention)? 

When I heard about Akin’s comments regarding ‘legitimate rape.’ What an ignorant ass hat…!  


2012playfestival.tumblr.comThe Decision is a short play reading festival about what happens after the heated election but also where we will be or should be after this November.  This event is a fundraiser for the Limitless Health Institute and to help families affected by the storm and living in shelters supported by Safe Horizon.Join us in watching a series of funny, incisive, dramatic short theatre pieces. The Decision will feature a series of 10 minute plays written and directed and acted by some of New York's finest artists.

LOCATION:The Three Jewels, NYC61 Fourth Avenue, Third Floor New York, NY 10003

TIME: *Saturday 11/10, 7pm*Sunday 11/1, 3:00pm*Monday 11/12, 7:00pm

* *Suggested Donation $10 for Saturday or Sunday/$15 for Monday (All 8 plays)Email with Sat, Sun, or Monin the subject line.  

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