Having Catherine Filloux as my dramaturge, through the Playwrights’ Center, was an extraordinary experience. She asked all the right questions, encouraging me to experiment and push my own boundaries. I saw my play La Danza del Venadounfold under her guidance. She was very sensitive and knowledgeable about the topic of my play, and with her help I was able to bring my manuscript to its final phase. Furthermore, Catherine was extremely kind and patient with my delays when I had to deal with a very difficult personal situation. I would recommend her as dramaturge to my colleagues.
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Cat entered my life at the perfect time when I was questioning whether my interests in art, theatre, and social justice could intersect. Her talk at the University of San Diego for the Art of Peace Conference (November 2015) inspired me to imagine different career possibilities. During her workshop, I experienced the deeply transformative power of theatre and vulnerability in a new way. Cat’s commitment to excellence in her work, combined with her patience and thoughtfulness in her mentorship, both continue to amaze me. I am currently working towards a Humanities Major with a Theatre Concentration and a Leadership Studies Minor, and recently wrote my first play. Cat and I continue to keep in touch when I have questions about how to promote peace, empathy, and understanding through theatre. In the future I hope to pursue an MFA in Playwriting and become a theatre professor.
I met Catherine Filloux in 2010 at an Amnesty International conference, where she was part of a panel on social activism and the arts. A long-time rights activist on Guatemala, I went to New York to see her play Luz, in 2012 when it opened at La MaMa. In 2014, I attended a ten-day retreat Catherine led at La MaMa Umbria, on theater and social activism; the exercises she gave us to jump-start our work were so helpful—and her guidance was so steady and supportive I ended up with thirty pages of a new play. She has helpfully read plays in early draft form, giving thoughtful, encouraging, and incisive critique. With her recommendation and guidance, I was accepted in Arena Stage’s Playwrights’ Arena, a two-year development opportunity for DC-area playwrights. Her approach is gentle, encouraging, and selfless. A wiser, more generous, and more committed mentor is simply unimaginable.
After high school I was debating what I was going to do, because I was not scholastic and the only career option I could have seen myself doing was acting. At the same time, I knew I wanted to make a social difference. I just did not how to combine my two passions and I thought I had to dedicate my time to only one. Then I discovered the field of peace studies at Catherine Filloux’s talk, “Theater As Witness: Advancing Peace And Justice Through the Arts” at USD. That was when I met Catherine for the second time and she invited me to lunch; I had the privilege of asking her questions. She really opened my eyes to something I did not think was possible. Now I am currently a peace studies major with an emphasis in theatre arts, and I feel very fortunate to have met someone who can be a mentor to me.
Catherine and I met when she was teaching at La MaMa Umbria, where she helped revolutionize the way I approach the work of writing. With her tutelage my play Monkey got a reading at La MaMa. She is a sweet, supportive and very talented person. I was invited by her to see a preview of her show Kidnap Road and was able to give her my feedback. Possibly most important in the long term, Catherine wrote me a recommendation for Northwestern graduate school where I am now studying television writing. I feel incredibly lucky to have met her and to keep her in my life.
I met Catherine Filloux in Spoleto, Italy where she was teaching at La MaMa Umbria. At that time I was wondering if theater was really something I could major in and thanks to my brilliant teacher Marybeth Berry and the instruction of Catherine I found a love for theater deeper than I ever thought possible. Shortly after we finished our production of a devised piece I Am Here at La MaMa, where Catherine served as dramaturge, I started at a new school in Spartanburg, South Carolina, but Catherine and I still keep in touch. Because I had the opportunity to work with Catherine in Italy on playwriting I wrote my first play called Based on a True Story or BOATS for short. With every draft Catherine read she taught me proper play format and I could feel my writing growing stronger. This year she managed to get me an opportunity to study for my MFA in playwriting.
ALEXA JUANITA JORDAN
Alexa Juanita Jordan is an actor and playwright, based in New York City. She serves on the board of directors at the Juanita James Memorial Scholarship Foundation and CultureHub. You can learn more about Alexa and her work at https://www.alexajuanitajordan.com/
I met Catherine Filloux in August of 2013 shortly after I graduated from Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle, Washington. My art history professor Elizabeth Darrow introduced us because she knew as a theater artist I am interested in new plays and the intersection of arts and social justice. Catherine is a playwright who explores themes of social justice within her work. I served as an assistant director on her play Selma ’65 where I was able to work with Eleanor Holdridge. Catherine introduced me to Romana Soutus (writer and performer), Monica Trausch (playwright) and Lizzie Donelan (costume designer), with whom I have collaborated on projects ranging from play readings to a full production that had performances at La Mama, Edinburgh Fringe, and United Solo. Catherine also sends me news of professional workshops, labs, or grants for which I may be qualified so I continue to grow as an artist.
I had the pleasure of meeting Cat when I got to intern for her for my Fieldwork Term by Bennington College. I was thinking of pursuing a degree with a concentration in film and creative writing, and I was interested in learning more about playwriting and the process that goes into writing a script about social injustices. She had me do some research on political events for her plays, in which I experienced her incredible insight and empathy regarding these injustices. Cat does not shy away from difficult subjects in her writing and makes sure to leave the reader or audience member with a new understanding of the subject’s urgency, making him or her think about it more. She was generous enough with her time and passion to help me write a comedic short play of my own for school, “Moon Society”, in which I learned how a good comedy play should not only be able to make people laugh, but it should also cause the audience to think of the issue presented in the show. I am eternally grateful for the interning opportunity I had with Catherine Filloux, and I am excited to continue growing as an artist by incorporating more about social and societal injustices that we live with today.
I first met Catherine Filloux at New Dramatists, where I had worked as an intern. She invited me to dramaturge a New York City production of her play Lemkin's House--a life-changing experience--and has been one of my most brilliant, steadfast mentors since. Years ago, Catherine encouraged me toward writing about myself, moving away from fiction toward first-person narrative. Seven years later, she read an early draft of a memoir I am working on, and responded so positively that I pursued an MFA in Memoir (Hunter College 2016). Her compassionate feedback and unswerving support of me as a young writer and artist have had powerful impact on my life and work.
SUSAN JENNIFER POLESE
I met Catherine Filloux in 2014 while attending the La Mama Playwriting Retreat in Umbria, Italy. I was in a new place among people I did not know, and Cat was a welcoming presence and created a fertile creative atmosphere as well as safe space in the green hills of rural Italy. She was fully present for the group of writers and actively listened to our work offering invaluable insight. For me, her innate respect for each writers’ process fueled my ability to get words on the page and reinvigorated my playwrighting efforts - I have been on a “roll” ever since having had several productions. Cat has generously been in touch with me since our first association, attended many of my readings and has become my mentor. As a mentor, Cat has been invaluable to me and is more than simply supportive, her insightful suggestions lead me to problem-solve around my work and her encouragement has led me to join The Centre of International Women Playwrights, seek new production opportunities for my plays and consider outlets for my work that I previously did not know were available. Having Cat as a committed mentor has strengthened my focus on playwriting and has enriched my creative process. I look forward to our continued association.
In the fall of 2015 I had the wonderful opportunity of assisting Catherine on the premiere of her poignant play Kidnap Road. On Kidnap Road and under Catherine’s wing I gained invaluable insight on various aspects of professional theater production. Catherine was keen to answer my questions and made sure I was involved in any part of the process I wanted to learn more about. She was someone I knew I wanted to stay in contact with. As a young theater maker in New York City, I knew the significance of having a New York City based artist as successful as Catherine to look towards for guidance. In addition to her valuable advice though, she is also one of the most kind and generous people I’ve ever met. She has taken time to read my new play Aguantando, provide considered and specific feedback, and put me in contact with people that have significantly advanced my artistic development. It’s been a great privilege to work with Catherine and I am tremendously grateful to have her in my life.
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Catherine is a warm and engaging mentor whose insights and support extend beyond the artistic space. In Fall 2014 I worked as her assistant, and was the assistant stage manager for her riveting show about the civil rights movement Selma ’65. After I returned to Rhode Island School of Design, we stayed in touch and she offered critique of the screenplay for my senior degree film. Catherine’s work confronts the worst of humanity with poise and empathy and learning with her inspires me to do the same. I consider her both a mentor and a friend.
I first met Catherine Filloux when she joined the faculty at Vassar College as my playwriting professor during my senior year (Fall 2015). At the time, I had only recently realized my interest in playwriting, but with her help, I emerged from the course even more passionate about the art form, and more confident in my ability as a writer. Her guidance and support were integral to the completion of my first full-length play, The Anatomy of Light, which ended up winning the annual playwriting competition at Vassar the following semester. I couldn't have done it without her! Catherine continues to act as a loving mentor to me, supporting me as a student and writer in my post-graduate career and connecting me to her amazing network of artists and activists. I am so grateful our paths crossed and so excited to continue working with and learning from her.
Catherine was one of the first people I met when I moved to New York who genuinely supported me and my work. She has helped me set up readings of my work, has offered valuable feedback on drafts in progress, and has introduced me to artists who have become frequent collaborators. She offers generous insight, advice, and a compassion that far exceeds any traditional mentoring situation. Catherine shares the resources of her long and successful career openly and honestly, and much of what I have achieved in my own career is thanks to her guidance, contacts and, most of all, support.
Catherine Filloux is a generous and genuine friend and mentor. After my impromptu opera buffa of lost and then found luggage at Fiumicino-Rome, upon arrival at LaMaMa Umbria Playwrights Retreat, she reached out her hand to me with a wide smile, “Hi, I’m Cat.” “Hi, I’m Rod.” A moment passed. I realized. “Are you Catherine?” With her identity established, I felt I was in the right place, right time. I was. With our varied personalities, politics, stylistic differences and personal trajectories as playwrights, Cat wove us together in mutual respect. This is her gift. I returned to playwriting after early years acting and writing for experimental theater. Following this, I began my teaching career at two New York City public high schools. I knew about taking risks, artistic and professional. Still it was Cat who fashioned the spirited environment in a pastoral setting that allowed me to bridge discomfiting boundaries. Thus, my play, TANGLED UP, evolved in complexity and artistry. After two readings, a future production is on course at LaMaMa, ETC. firstname.lastname@example.org