Texas Tech University

Instructor Spotlight: Dolores Díaz

Kelsey Blotter

March 1, 2022

Dolores Díaz

The School of Theatre & Dance is fortunate that playwright Dolores Díaz, a guest artist during last summer's WildWind Performance Lab, is currently teaching a playwriting course for us. Originally from the border city of Laredo, Texas, Díaz is a Chicana playwright who graduated from Northwestern University's MFA Program in Writing for the Screen and Stage. She has worked with the Goodman Theatre, the Chicago Latino Theater Alliance, and the National Museum of Mexican Art. 

I recently spoke to Díaz to discuss her time at Texas Tech and other projects she has in the works.

Q: What are you working on now?
A: I just submitted a proposal for a play that centers on Mexican American identity that takes place in my hometown of Laredo, Texas. 

Q: What was it like teaching at WildWind Performance Lab this summer, and how is your class this spring?
A: For me, teaching at Tech is all about discovery. At WildWind, the faculty made me feel very welcome. Sarah Johnson, Seth Warren-Crow, Rachel Hirshorn-Johnson, Randall Rapstine, and all the wonderful students helped me understand my play in new ways. I'm also enjoying the graduate course I'm teaching at Tech this spring on the collective protagonist; in it, I encourage students to draw new connections and find commonalities in texts that feature a collective protagonist. It's the kind of class I always wanted to take as a student, and I'm honored to be experiencing it for the first time with Tech students. 

Q: Did you learn anything from the students at Texas Tech?
A: Absolutely. WildWind was my first experience trying to workshop a play via zoom. Aside from discovering much about the work itself, I learned from the participants what works and what doesn't work in that format; in other words, I explored the possibilities and limitations of digital workshopping and performance. This really helped me, since later in the pandemic, I increasingly developed plays on a digital format. Of course, I already mentioned the brilliant students in my collective protagonist course and the insights they are drawing.

Q: What kind of theater excites you?
A: Theater that creates dialogue. If you can talk about a play with your friends afterwards, it's my kind of theater.

Q: Do you have a story from your childhood that explains who you are as a writer or as a person?
A: No single story comes to mind. I believe my humanity explains who I am as a writer. My experience growing up on the U.S.-Mexico divide explains my interest in borders and grey spaces where things are “both” and “neither” at the same time.

Q: What is a big dream or goal you hope to achieve?
A: My goal is to never apply for anything. I'm partially there; I apply for events and opportunities that people suggest, or respond to queries that invite my partcipation. 

Q: What advice do you have for playwrights just starting out?
A: Don't fixate on trying to get a certain play produced. Write the next play and then the next one. Keep going. Also, be cognizant of world events; even if you aren't trying to say anything specifically related to them, your work will be received in the context of what happens around you.