Season 1, Episode 4 · 10 months ago

Episode 4 - Foul Shots


In this episode, playwright Christin Eve Cato and director Itzel Ayala share what its like creating a play in the vastness of a PAL basketball gym.

Int Our presents the hell's kitchen arts cord or podcast, a series of discussions with the playwrights and directors from into ours Mekrot theatro play festival in the summer of two thousand and twenty one microt theatro consisted of six plays, all stage within local businesses in inturs neighborhood, upper hell's kitchen. This episode will be hearing director Eat Zella Yella and playwright Christen Eve Cato on their process in creating foul shots. The police ethiletic league is often a place for the youth to find refuge. Sam is a teenager WHO's in trouble. Officer Garcia attempts to connect with Sam three game of one on one basketball. How can he foul shot change the trajectory of your life? Hi, welcome, welcome to the health kitchen arts cord or podcast. I have my wonderful director. It's all. Hi, hi, it's all. And then we have Christen Eve Cato, our playwright for tonight. Yo, Yo, Yo. Welcome, welcome to ent our Christen. Congratulations, you graduated, you got your MFA. Yes, I think. I think this is something that we need to celebrate today, tomorrow, next month, when people hear this, I don't know, every day of our lives, because on an accomplishment. I'm so excited to have you be a part of this as a playwright. I know you as an actor. Yes, I done anything. We've gotta many together, but I'm so excited to see you evolved into this lake. Yeah, you know, just artist with many hats, and you're just like what I want to be today. I could be everything or I can be none of them, and it's all up to me. So your play, foul shots, which is one of the six short plays for this year's me grow at the...

...outdoor festival, and I say this year's because I'm like, this needs to happen every year, every day. So hopefully this is the beginning of a new, I don't know, type of program thanks. Are An entire and in nerk city. So I hope this is such a fun play, because it dids you. You're actually the actors are playing basketball. Yeah, hoops, and this takes place at the police. What is it? At the League, which is where exactly is it located? Down the Block, Oh, towards eleven. Did you, when you got this subject, subject, this location, this organization, where you excited about it. I was so when when we took the tour through the PL and and I stepped foot in that gym, it just took me back to like middle school. It took me back to the time when, you know, Yeh, Jim Class member, gym class member, where there was a period and of like in your day, like a whole period dedicated to going to the gym and and you do layups and you run around and, you know, you do exercise, and I remember those days. I remember having to change for Jim. Yeah, you know, and so and then like it smelled like the the shiny thing, they the shellack. Sure, yeah, whatever. I just brought me back all of these like memories and thoughts and like, you know, so so I'm because there were different places in that center, right. I could have done the lobby, I could have done yeah, I was gonna ask you about that. One made you pick, but it was the jam. It was just this place of nostalgia and this place where I just felt like, well, this is why the kids come, because they don't have a gym maybe around here. Yeah, and there's no park around here with the court like that. Did either of you growing up were either of you a part of an organization like that as a kid? Like did you have those? I mean, I know, I know you're from Me York. Yeah, but it's said. I'm not. I'm from boarder, from Bordertown, California. Oh, I'm for I was like where, because I'm bordertown,...

Texas, so Alexica. No, Bransma. I used to do a lot of like dancing and sell such classes and like a community center, and that's what I was reminded of. Okay, so you weren't. You were kind of familiar with that kind of not with like the PLS, right, right, but just just programs that, but like after school program right, like I remember, like also my parents, because I'm I still have this vivid memory of like my dad dancing with my mom in the Sousa class, like after school we went to like the community center and then like they poked me along to join the class. And so I when I remember seeing the building for the first time, which was much later than Christen I specifically walking through the lobby. I was like, Oh, this reminds me of community centers. I'm not fully sure right, if New York, where in New York City? There's are something like that. But I grew up with like community centers in tons of centers all around the city, though, like an every borough, and I think the purpose of it is to is to have a place where there's where where there can be some sort of like healthy community relationship with the police, right, and and also a place to offer like to offer like resources for children growing up in like these neighborhoods right where there's not a lot around, and so, but my relationship with pl was getting my working papers, because I don't know, I don't know how that works out, but I remember in height, like when you're in high school and you turned fourteen, you go to the PL and you get work in papers. I don't know if it's like that anymore. Still I haven't been, you know, I haven't been fourteen in a while, so you know. So I don't know if that's the case anymore. I remember you can go through that, you can go through pl to get you working papers. Wow, yeah, so that's how that's not that's how like intricate these centers are... You know that. That's how. That's not important. They aren't in there in our community. That did you have an officer Garcia in your life, either of you. There was a really when I was going out, there was his Irish female police officer who she responded to a lot of the things going on in my building. It was always around, you know, I grew up in the Bronx. You know how it is, but there was always like things, but it was just like noise, complaints, right, you know, things like that, people playing loud music, and so she was the one, for some reason, who always came through and I remember her name being Patty. I don't remember her last name, or her name was patty, and she gave me a ring, the the the Irish Friendship Ring that you know, I had like a heart with the hands holding the heart and then, I think, like a crown. I know it. Yes, yes, yes, yeah, and so she it was like, you know, I guess some silver plated ring or something, but she gave it to me and then tell me the significance of it and I'm and I always remembered her for that. Did you talk to anybody at pl or was this just something that you were like h I got it, I got it in my brain and it's going into paper. Um. Well, the director, like one of the one of the program directors. She gave us the tour and then she did tell us some stories and then, like, I asked her something about what it would like, you know, what are some pet peeves or what are some things that happen and at the pl that you know that angers you? What a good question. And and she was like, Oh, when parents get their late to pick up their kids, you know, like that's always a thing, like when parents are late and that sort of thing. And she mentioned that, I didn't happen so much here, but it happened at another center that she would work, that she worked at, like somewhere in Brooklyn, I think. And so and so I kind of went with that idea. I was like, what are this a parent who's not a really good parent, who is sort of neglective, you know, like you know of you know, of their child? And and then I and then that's when and I'm like and then, and then, and then the story she did give us, the the program director... tell us a story about how, like not a story, but just just like a general description of how police officers come through and develop these relationships with the kids. And so then that kind of like stuck that that that stuck with me, and so I was like, okay, maybe the it could be a police officer and a child who's been neglected, and so I kind of just went with that's with with that track and I'm like, you know what, I'm just going to develop this kind of story and had the real conversation about cops. You know, I had the real conversation about the police officers. Yeah, but also highlight how we can have healthy relationship. Yeah, I thought that reasonally definitely talked. Well, we talked about it together before we got the half involved, but that's certainly something that was on my mind a lot. Of how to tell the story. Yeah, yeah, I mean in conflicted the entire time we're going through the narrative, because Christian writes it so beautifully, right, like it unfolds and and like we explore so much in those fifteen minutes. Yeah, like like someone the other day was asking me for a summary of the play and I was like how do I tell you a summary? Like so much happens, yeah, in fifteen minutes. But I remember like reading the obviously being very captivated and at the same time, with the last year, feeling like how to we tell a story about cops in ways that are like, because both things are true, I think, right like, of course, like this office, like this officer in this play, is an example of actual officers that have done this, probably for their communities. And at the same time, the last year we've had in terms of police brutality and the amount of people that have been killed, and specifically black and Brown people, that's also true, like contradictory, but like they're both true. Story. Yeah, yeah, because I do, I do really believe that there are people who become police officers...

...for good reasons, you know, and and they want to see changes happen and they and they want to be pillars in their communities, like you know. I. I truly honestly believe that, you know, and and the fact that there are plenty of bad apples and law enforcement, you know, really really contradict that that contradiction that we're talking about. They they they pull away, they make us pull away from the narrative that cops can be good. HMM. And and I don't believe, I don't believe they're all bad. There's no there's no way. It's, like you said, it's not black and white. You know, it's complex, complicated. It's not all the not all bad. That cannot be. I refuse to believe that solutely. You know, like no, I have friends who police officers and they're not bad people. Yeah, I have family members to that are and you, it's you, definitely sometimes, depending on the room that you're in, right, you definitely feel like you don't know what you feel pulled from both sides, right, because you respect both perspectives and you know both are so valid. Yes, because I have seen, I have, I have seen bad things out. Of course, I've been racially profile myself, you know, like when I was a a teen, hanging out front of my building, you know. So it's like I've been. I've been on both ends. I had had office at honey, was an officer of Patti. Your first thing was patty, but I had officer Patricia heard and Patricia like, I had her be like it, you know, a great example of somebody who will come around. But then I've seen like officer Brown from when I was in college, who was a really mean person, something that to me was interesting. As we were kind of going going through this this story and also going through some you know, rehearsals and like because also, like, I think we had also like half of the cast was half. There's two people also conflicted at the same time. Other folks being like, I'm not the story itself, the narrative like makes me forget about their other stuff.

Yeah, and because every we all had such different backgrounds in terms of like where we grew up. I the stories that I was sharing, as we were unfolding the narratives of office for Garciat, I was reminded of a vice because, like, I grew up in a border ten right. So I'm I reminded of Lamida every time I'm reading this story or as we were unfolding like on documented girl, seventeen year old girl Sam, like revealing to an officer that she doesn't have papers. And so even though, because we did talk about this, I was like is that something she can like do, it was a new development, it was the script, it was a revision. There was a revision after the conversation that we have because, yeah, and in that revision, when she's like, Oh, I'm undocumented, I was like actually, wait, can she say that? Because because not because of whether I knew, it was because I was thinking of like I've lived that life on the border in which, no matter who it is an authority. I'm just not saying anything, right, because I have family members that are can and are affected by that. And so because then we had a conversation about like Oh, wake, cops, don't they won't immediately like going right, fine, bat and a got. They can also choose not. I can choose yeah. So it's not. It's not in their jurisdiction. Right. It's a completely different department, which is I think it's important for people to know, like it's yeah, it doesn't want it. They're two completely different departments. Yes, like my brain immediately like when, yeah, and it. She can't say like like I was thinking of like wait, I would like I would never say yeah, I'd say that. But it is important, though, for people to know that they can in fact say these things to certain which is why, when that which yeah, you tell me that story, I was like, okay, let's make Maria an undocumented citizens. What I made at her character, Sam I was a let's make her undocumented, because I really like this idea of using this opportunity to also teach something, not new, but something that perhaps you didn't know before.

Yeah, you know right, guess. First of the story that I shared is and my mom is cool. So me sharing stories about my my mom. My mom wasn't documented for a long time and she made friends with a police officer and but but not just a police everson, she was also friends with a border patrol agent, and so that was like such a big thing when I was like fought from like five to eight, five to ten, that I just remember that vividness of my mom just like I like can't say anything and I can't trust my friends, and so that was the story that like we were talk I was sharing because that was a story that I couldn't forget as we were rehearsing. Yeah, HMM, wow. So you guys had really close connection to the the piece. Yeah, I mean in different ways, right, you being from the Bronx, you being from a border town, and two different issues. Hi. Like, I find it that these positive stories to be the more successful one, especially coming from a pandemic and coming from really dark things that many people have experienced all different, you know, moments in their lives, but everybody's coming from from one place or another. But this one is just kind of like a nice little just like nudge to I think by nature it was gonna be that way because, like you said, post pandemic and like you said, you know, we're reopening theaters, you opening, but also the neighborhood is reopening. HMM. And and like the purpose of like one of the purposes of this festival was to explore these places that have been here, that have been a part of this neighborhood for like more than twenty years, and celebrate them and celebrate them. Right. So why are we go up in their space and tell some crazy horrible story, right, you know? And also like these organizations, right, so that we have that they are here building the kid right, we're building community, right, right. But I felt like I felt like, Ma'am is, because I was like man in stall shots, like an after school special kind of like, like I said, I'm like is this to...

...after school special? But then, and but then, like I was like no, no, no, it's not. It's you know, we're touching some roles, we stuffer, touching some world topics and and navigating through some really tough emotions that these people are going through, like tough times, and just adding all of that with the the the setting of a basketball court, which is like, I felt like it's so many like different, you know, like this is a conversation that like, is very serious, but you're also like passing a ball. We are receiving really good feedback to write like those two yeah, where people are like come in and out and they come back to us and they're like that worked in the basketball gym, like the shots they like, and they coming back to tell us right, like they made the shots in this night. They made this. See this, this theater festival has just proven to be what everybody needed. You for joining us. Thank you for being a part of this festival. I cannot wait to see it. Yeah, I can't wait for people to make this a part of their regular outings, because it will be. I'm putting it onto the universe meet up. The other row is here to stay. Thank you for listening to interpresents, the Hell's kitchen arts corridor podcast. Oh and stay timmed, because make up the optrow will return. Sing for more INFO and Intar Theater. You can follow us on Facebook, instagram and twitter, or visit us at Inter theater. DONAL.

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