(Editor’s note: this blog series, inspired by the themes of our 2013 TCG National Conference: Learn Do Teach, will focus on stories honoring the elders, teachers, mentors and colleagues who have shared their wisdom and knowledge with us. Learn more here, and share your story by emailing Gus Schulenburg here.)
I am indebted to Jeffry Farrell, a true theater gypsy, journeyman, a real hombre who loves the earth, sky and the soul and who traveled the world for decades seeking the living legends of mask, clown, and ensemble creation but of the magical kind. His travels led him to Johnny Simons at the Hip Pocket Theatre in Fort Worth, Fred Curchack at the University of Texas at Dallas, Jacque Lecoq in Paris, Mump and Smoot wherever he could find them, and Peter Hoff, magus clown master…the list goes on. Serendipitously, I met him as he was planning to leave Dallas and I was returning. I distracted him long enough so that he settled down, got married and had two beautiful boys. Now, he is a shaman himself of the live theater space, a master of moving bodies, and a visionary who turns twigs and ribbons into imaginative worlds. These days, he spends most of his time teaching yoga but he is one of God’s great treasure troves.
He taught me many things but the most important was how to build an original play. I spent so much time with him at 6:30 am yoga sessions, meals, late nights and early mornings laughing and talking maniacally, writing plays in way too little time. I think we broke the law on how quickly we wrote some of our best plays.
A lot of wisdom I gleaned from him was in passing as he mused on theater. He said once, I don’t even remember when or where, I just remember the words: “Imagine a play like a sequence of windows. You just get a moment to peek into a window then you step back and take a look at the next one.” When I had no idea how to write a play on my own, I remembered those words. To this day, when I begin creating a piece, I ask myself, “What are the windows I will peek into and what will I see?”
(Photo credit: Jeffry Farrell directs Frida Espinosa Müller during rehearsals for Cara Mía Theatre Co.’s Nuestra Pastorela written by Jeffry Farrell and David Lozano. Photo by Fabián Aguirre.)
David Lozano is the Executive Artistic Director of Cara Mía Theatre Co. in Dallas where he specializes in writing, directing, producing and acting in original bilingual plays for the Latino community. Notable productions include Crystal City 1969 (written with Raul Treviño), To DIE:GO in Leaves, by Frida Kahlo (written with Cara Mía’s artistic ensemble), and Carpa Cara Mía: A Mexican Pantomime Circus (with Jeffry Farrell and diverse artists from the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center, San Antonio). Lozano explores international techniques of ensemble creation and has worked with theater specialists from the United States, Argentina, Canada, Costa Rica, France, Mexico, Senegal, Spain, and Venezuela.