We had the good fortune of connecting with Mabelle Reynoso and Tori Rice of the Hey Playwright podcast and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Mabelle and Tori, do you have some perspective or insight you can share with us on the question of when someone should give up versus when they should keep going?
Never give up! If it’s your dream or something you are really passionate about, you shouldn’t ever give up. Do what you need to do to have your basic needs met–food, shelter, etc-but if that day job doesn’t feed your soul, pursue the thing that does at night. There are 24 hours in a day. Instead of watching Netflix, nourish your soul by making art. But if you need to nourish your soul with Netflix, that’s okay, too. We talk about this a lot, how sometimes it feels like it’s in vain. But then we fantasize about what our lives would be like without our art and that is a flatline, a world without technicolor. We also talk about how we define success. For both of us, it’s finding those moments of connection that have nothing to do with financial reward, recognition en masse, or large-scale productions. We stay motivated because we know those moments can come at any time, and usually when we are least expecting it…like an a-ha moment in rehearsal…or the first table read. Magic.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Before the pandemic, we spent a lot of time together teaching playwriting classes. When the world shut down, we needed an outlet to help us stay connected to the theatre, playwriting, and each other. So we started a podcast! It became our lifeline to our craft and other theatre-makers. We are both lifelong learners so we are most excited about continuing to learn from all of the incredible artists we interview on the show.
Both of us are overachievers, driven, and dedicated to finishing what we start. Those can be fantastic qualities but also draining. However, even on our dog-tired days, when we show up to teach or podcast, this magic happens that leaves us energized and refreshed.
We’ve learned that people at every stage of their career still want to share their story and those conversations are compelling and valuable. We’ve learned to take risks and just ask others to join us in our podcast space. We are grateful that they keep saying “Yes, and!”
We think that theatre belongs to everyone. Playwriting belongs to everyone. Everyone has a story to tell. On our show, we talk about theatre, which some people might have preconceived notions about, but we’re not that kind of podcast. We are silly, vulnerable, and human. Those are the qualities we value in theatre, and that is how we want to present the art form we love. The theatre is a place where we can all come together.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Mabelle: I am a Southbay gal (southern part of San Diego) and I’m also Mexican so any suburb that has mercados, panaderías, and quinceañera shops is my kind of place. This is why I love Chula Vista. My favorite place in the whole wide world is the Civic branch of the Chula Vista Public Library. My second favorite place is the Costco on Broadway in Chula Vista (great for people-watching, eavesdropping, and picking up toilet paper, obviously) and if I have some extra time, I will hop across the street to Dulceria Azteca, for all my Mexican candy and piñata needs. If I get hungry, I’ll scoot a little south and head to Tropical Fruits for the best tortas this side of the San Ysidro port of entry. If I want to do fancy, Karina’s on E St. for mariscos and micheladas. And then I finish the night off watching the stars in the sky and lights of Tijuana from my rooftop.
Tori: I’m in East County which has tons of wonderful trails. Walker Preserve Trail, Santee Lakes and Lake Murray are great whether you hike or bike. I have two dogs so I spend time checking out dog parks. Mast Park in Santee and Harry Griffen Park in La Mesa have picnic areas, places for kids and areas for the mutts. I love stargazing and the SDAA (San Diego Astronomy Association) hosts stargazing events at local parks. My favorite is the Oak Oasis Star Party where several astronomers set up their telescopes, focusing on different constellations, and invite stargazers to take a peek. For food, Domo Sushi Bar & Grill in Santee is a go-to for my family (affordable and delicious) and Marechiaro’s Italian Restaurant on Olde Hwy 80 has amazing Italian eats! Plumeria Vegetarian Restaurant on Park Blvd (University Heights) offers top-notch meatless food (so good!) and you can visit Diversionary Theatre after dinner! Mabelle and I both love San Diego Repertory Theatre in downtown San Diego as well!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Our San Diego chapter of the Dramatists Guild (DG), led by chapter reps Thelma Virata de Castro and Aleta Barthell do a fabulous job reaching out and making all feel welcome. San Diego is a theatre town with playwrights at every level so belonging to the DG is a great way to connect with your fellow theatre-makers. P.S. This membership is a must if you are a playwright.
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John Arquilla Mabelle Reynoso