Silvia Gonzales S.'s Experiences

Starting out, Silva Gonzalez S. faced obstacles relating to both gender and race as an emerging playwright. She felt as though there was a space missing for Latinx representation in theater, and so did many mainstream theater companies at the time. However, their motivations were not behind opening doors for POC playwrights, but the money that would come from grants if they claimed to be developing playwrights of color. Theaters across Texas, Arizona, and Chicago would use Silvia Gonzalez S., an asian playwright, and a black playwright as emerging minority writers, but never actually developed their plays. In return, the theater companies received $100,000 and all of the writers were met with a 10-minute snippet of their show in a variety special. In letters found at the LLILAS Benson Latin American Studies and Collections, Gonzalez S. claims to have felt “discouraged and used as a piece of furniture in big, giant, theater companies.” This experience made her question this career path, but her passion overcame her doubts.

In an interview conducted on April 22, 2022, Silvia has noticed a change in the theater world following the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement. Previously, she had spoken to black actors who reported that February (Black History Month) was their busy season, but afterward, it was increasingly difficult to find jobs. However, following BLM, Silvia has observed that more artists are being recognized, and the work is actually being noticed, not taken advantage of by regional theaters that need additional grants. Back in her days bouncing from one regional theater to another, she was not provided opportunities for her work to actually be slated when compared to others. She was fed up with the obstacles that came with her race and gender, and had come to a point to stop waiting for people to use her as a piece of furniture or as granting opportunities, and not being provided space on the stage. She started a theater company, the Hanford Multicultural Theater Company, that reaches indigenous, POC, and disabled people. Through this company, she extends opportunities in theater, puppetry, playwriting, and acting classes, providing exactly what she wishes was available to her years ago.

This journey would not be possible without the revolutionary writing of “Boxcar” which jumpstarted Silvia Gonzalez S.’s pioneering career in allowing more cultural intersectionality to be featured on a performing stage.

Siliva Gonzalez S.'s current work is displayed through original plays as well as creating spaces for cultural intersections between race, gender, and age.