The National Magazine of the Successful American Latino: The Domino effect: Marco Ramirez: Miami, Florida – playwright

The Domino effect: Marco Ramirez: Miami, Florida – playwright – Entrevista

Charles Dews

It was a glittering evening for Marco Ramirez.

The eighteen-year-old high school senior’s one-act play “Domino” was on the boards at a real-live theater, the Coconut Grove Playhouse. Marco’s play had been such a hit when his fellow drama students at Coral Reef High School put it on for their Miami-area student body, the troupe was invited to show their work in a professional theater. That same night Marco’s drama teacher announced he was one of 141 high school seniors selected as Presidential Scholars of 2001. The sold-out audience’s applause rated the play a hit.

“I’ve always been interested in writing,” Marco says. When he fell in love with theater a couple of years ago he decided to try playwriting. “I started reading plays, going to plays, and got involved in theater at my school.” Theater holds a special appeal for Marco. “There is an intimacy you don’t find in film or TV because the actors aren’t really there. Intimacy is the most magical part to me.”

Marco wanted to write the story of the old men, including his two grandfathers, who played dominoes in the family living room and out in the tree-shaded yard on Sunday afternoons. They exchanged stories–some achingly sad and some hilariously funny–about their experiences as Cuban refugees. He wanted these old men to know how much he appreciated who they are.

“I wrote what I knew. I started off writing a play about four guys playing dominoes, and then to make it more intimate, more personal, I added a story about the grandson and the grandfather.” He felt that it would be a story that he could tell, and, says Marco, “Everyone loved it.”

Marco fleshed out the play with stories from family members and teachers. “When I first wrote it and took it to one of my teachers,” said Marco, “she told me the story of an uncle of hers who had bought a bottle of champagne and said, ‘When I go back to Cuba I’m going to open it.’ He died 26 years later without opening the champagne. The family kept the bottle.” Marco was so touched by this story that he incorporated it into his play.

“To get my first draft written,” he explains, “it took three or four days of working from six in the afternoon to about three in the morning, with Mom coming by and hitting me in the head and saying, ‘Go to bed already.’ I decided it was worth the knocks, because I thought, ‘When she reads it she’ll understand.'”

Marco believes the playwright’s most important skill is to listen, and he should know. By paying attention to old men’s tales he was able to create a tribute to his beloved jugadores de domino. He may also have found himself an entree into a rewarding profession and made an important step toward becoming one of tomorrow’s Latino leaders.

COPYRIGHT 2001 Ferraez Publications of America Corp.

COPYRIGHT 2004 Gale Group