SPOTLIGHT: The writers of Mothers & Mijas at Off The Tracks – Gabriela Lopez de Dennis
Off The Tracks is a new performance and art space in El Sereno. For their first show, the founders of the space commissioned new works by Los Angeles writers. The show is called Mothers & Mijas and will honor mothers in preparation for Mother’s Day. This week pLAywriting in the city hosts each of the writers who will have their pieces performed at Off The Tracks. A new blog entry spotlighting a different writer will be up every day leading up to the Mothers & Mijas opening on Friday, April 29th.
We start with Gabriela Lopez de Dennis talking about the piece she wrote titled, “Zod, I Am Your Mother.”
One of the collective artists, Angela Imperial, of the new performance space in Lincoln Heights, Off the Tracks, called me one afternoon and asked if I could write a monologue for their upcoming Mother’s Day show Mothers & Mijas. As a new mommy, I gladly and enthusiastically accepted. I then approached the piece like I do most of my writing, with a blank page and absolutely no clue what I was going to write about. The piece immediately became less about being a mother to my baby girl, and more about sci-fi. Man, this keeps happening. My experience with being pregnant for the first time last year, which I documented in a book of diary entries titled Baby Mama, right down to when I was in the hospital at five centimeters dilated, was very much a sci-fi experience, in my mind. An embryo grows in your pod from nothing into a person that comes out of your body. And when you’re pregnant, you feel kicks down there and see limbs and bones stretching out of your skin all “let me outta here!” You even see their face embossed in your skin and a tiny hand with moving fingers extending out of your bountiful belly…oh wait, that last part was just a dream I had. Never mind. So that’s what I wrote about, my fascination with sci-fi and how it relates to being pregnant, giving birth and learning how to be a new mommy using my animal instincts. Like I said, writing is very organic, I don’t like to think too much about it. I sit with pen in hand and just, go. Whatever the piece wants to be, I let it be. In this case, the piece wanted to be less about bottles and crying babies, and more about The Twilight Zone and alien abductions. I’d like to share a short excerpt here:
Poor thing. She must be just as exhausted. Babies feel the contractions too. I was so focused on what my body was doing, the pain of the contractions I was feeling, the pressure in my stomach, that I forgot that babies feel all of this too. She was getting pushed and turned and sucked through some dark and horrifying vortex in a silent scream begging, “When will this be over already! How hard is it to freakin’ push ma’!” The next morning, my mind is exhausted from the trauma I experience. That visual of the nurse reaching high up in the ceiling and pulling down this white, ginormous and bright hospital lamp flashing all up on my exposed body while saying “she’s ready to push,” keeps haunting me. I think of the bright light they keep flashing on Janet Tyler’s face in “Eye of the Beholder” when they’re about to take that “monster’s” bandages off. The way I feel the next day, I could easily interpret the disturbia of birthing and write a gruesome horror saga on how to torture someone painfully and slowly. With impeccable detail and haunting scenes of evil, macabre and gore. Stephen King would be so proud.
Excerpt from “Zod, I Am Your Mother”
Gabriela López de Dennis is a freelance writer and visual artist and her design firm, Soap Design Co, has specialized in the arts and entertainment industry for over 12 years. In 2007 Gabriela was one of the screenwriting fellows of Film Independent’s “Project: Involve,” a mentoring and training program designed to promote cultural diversity in the film industry. Her play Hoop Girls, originally developed through TeAda Productions and Center Theatre Group, was part of the 2007 [Inside] the Ford summer readings at the Ford Theatre. It had a full production directed by Corky Dominguez and co-produced by Gabriela in July of 2008 at CASA 0101 Theatre in Los Angeles, and a workshop production at Rutgers University in New Jersey. Gabriela co-developed/co-wrote, directed and dramaturged the very talented performer Miriam Peniche’s first solo show for the stage, Faking It. It had a workshop production this past September at CASA 0101 Theatre, and will have a full run next summer. She is also co-writing/co-developing children’s books and products with her husband Terry Dennis for their company Scuddlebut (Scuddlebut.com). She and her husband are proud new parents of a nine-month-old baby girl.
Mothers & Mijas: A Special Mother’s Day show celebrating women, life, love, & family! April 29th & 30th and May 6th & 7th. With original works written by Gerardo Davolo, Fanny Garcia, Ramona Gonzales, Gabriela Lopez de Dennis, Carmelita Maldonado, Rosalva Reza, Selene Santiago de Nasseri, Felix Umana and directed by Carmelita Maldonado. All performances at 8 p.m.(Doors open @ 7:30 p.m.) $10 donation/ Moms $5
OFF THE TRACKS 5068 Valley Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90032. RSVP at firstname.lastname@example.org or 323-383-3291