Tuesday, January 19, 2010

4PLAY: Enter the writer... (pt 1)

Carlos Treviño is the best screenwriter in Austin, TX. I would hire him at the drop of a hat to write anything that takes honesty, courage, emotional depth, piercing insight, wit, and love. I'm also lucky enough to live with him and to have been his boyfriend for almost 12 years. Am I biased? Maybe!

Austinites may know Carlos as writer, director, and actor who worked for over a decade with Physical Plant Theater. His biggest writing/directing hit with the company, co-written with Steve Moore, was NOT CLOWN, which enjoyed a sold-out run at NYC's Soho Repertory and was published last year by Yale's prestigious "Theater Magazine." He co-directed the lauded US premiere of Wallace Shawn's A THOUGHT IN THREE PARTS and performed in the wildly inventive Rockefeller MAP-funded CASKET OF PASSING FANCY, both produced by Rubber Repertory.

I interviewed Carlos by email, two rooms away.


Q. You ready?

A. Yep. I guess our DSL is working today.

Q. What or who inspired SAN FRANCISCO?

A. Hm. The framework of FOURPLAY came first: a collection of short stories, based on sexual experiences of people we know. The idea would be that in each short, a transgressive sexual act becomes personally transcendent—even transforming—for at least one of the participants.

The project had a potential confessional quality that appealed to me. I LOVE discovering secrets. Writing FOURPLAY gave me the chance of looking at myself and my friends in a different way. As for the SF section, you had spent some time with our friend who's a transvestite sex worker (Chloe, featured on the blog) who had told you a version of the story that inspired the SF plot.

Q. He hadn't told you the story before?

A. No, you told me the story first. In fact, I found out only later that you had combined two of her stories into one story, so she cleared the record.

Q. What's his version?

A. *Her* version!!
Early in Chloe's career, a woman called on behalf of her young adult son. He had lost use of his physical faculties in a motorcycle accident only 2 years earlier. His mother was his primary caretaker. She recognized that even though her son wasn't sexually functioning, he nonetheless had feelings that needed an outlet. She had called other girls to help; but they inevitably declined after learning that the kid was paraplegic. Chloe was up for it. She made sure the mother realized she was talking to a TV and not a girl-girl; the mom understood; the kid was straight, she said, but this was what he wanted; she said her son was open to someone open to being with him. So they set up an appointment.

It would turn out to be one of Chloe's most emotional sessions. She could see in the kid's eyes that he felt trapped in his body: a sensation much like transexuals describe when talking about their pre-op lives. For Chloe, the usual challenge of embodying a fantasy was intensified by working with someone who was unable to move or talk. The young man was obviously in need, but how to discern it? How to supply what he needed?

Chloe was struck by the painstaking love with which the mother sought out this gift. Handing her son over, even for a few hours, to an unknown person. The kind of faith and goodwill that would take seemed immense.

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