Augusto Amador discusses his new play The Book of Leonidas.
What was your inspiration for the play?
I started this play thinking about legacy and tradition. These both can be very compelling and positive factors for people. That is if you accept the legacy and tradition you have been raised to follow. The hard question is: What happens if you don’t want to walk the path that has been laid out for you by your family? If you fear that you will lose your identity in the forced march to duplicate your father’s life?
My goal in telling this story is to show the consequences and damage that can come with breaking free. Pieces of oneself are irrevocably destroyed in this process. In the end, will there be enough of oneself to begin again?
What do you want the audience to come away with?
The Pabon family is haunted and followed by the actions of a dictator that died in another country over fifty years ago. In everyday life, some families are influenced by an event that happened two, three, even four generations ago. The next generation repeats the lives of the previous one, and the one before that and so on, not even aware of why they do. They just do. As one of my characters says in another one of my plays, “The dead always affect the living…always.”
What was the most challenging part of writing this play?
The ending for me was the most challenging. So without giving it away, I believe the ending was the most realistic.
Why did you start writing plays?
It’s safe to say that one could label me as a loner. Solitude has for the most part come easy to me. And well, writing requires solitude, so it’s been a good fit.
What advice do you have for playwrights starting out?
Love your solitude.
About the Playwright: “The Book of Leonidas” is currently a semi-finalist for the 2015 Eugene O’Neill Conference and was recently a part of the Playwright’s Nest Festival at the Los Angeles Theater Center. Augusto was a playwriting fellow with the 2011 Emerging Writers Group at the Public Theater in New York. In addition to the Public Theater’s Spotlight Series, his plays have also been presented at the Lark Play Development Center, Terra Nova Collective’s Groundbreaking Series, Repertorio Espanol, Red Room, Queens Theater in The Park, and INTAR Theater. In Los Angeles, his plays have been presented at the Celebration Theatre, Audrey-Skirball Kenis Theater Projects, Playwrights Arena, the Blank Theater, Ricardo Montalban Theater, Imagined Life Theater, Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum as part of the Seedlings New Play Series, the John Anson Ford Theater, and the Inkubator new play reading series at the Skylight Theater. He has also served a playwright residency at the Arkansas Repertory Theater in Little Rock, Ark. His plays have been finalists or semi-finalists for the Eugene O’Neill Conference (2011, 2015), the Sundance Theater Lab, INTAR Playwright’s Lab, The Metlife National Latino Playwriting Award, Bay Area Playwrights Foundation, The Arch and Bruce Brown Foundation, Kitchen Dog New Play Festival and the Hormel New Play Festival at the Phoenix Theater. Augusto was named a finalist for the prestigious 2013 Terrance McNally Award and for the 2013 Clifford Odets Ensemble New Play Commission from the Lee Strasberg Theater & Film Institute. Augusto was a member of the 2014 Los Angeles Latino Theater Alliance’s Writers Circle. His play “Kissing Che” was listed in HowlRound’s, “101 Plays by The New Americans, or on Latinidad.”