Florencia Lozano: Playwright

ONE LIFE TO LIVE’s Florencia Lozano has a lot on her plate right now. As her character, Téa, is dying onscreen, Lozano is about to have her play underneathmybed produced. Weekly chatted with Lozano about the process during one of her brief moments of spare time.Soap Opera Weekly: Is this the first time you’ve had a play produced?

Florencia Lozano: Yes; I’m so excited. It’s scary, because there’s a lot of things that can go wrong. It’s sort of like deciding to take a trip and going from point A to point B. There will be many obstacles, but we’re going to get to point B, no matter what.

Weekly: That takes determination.

Lozano: Yes, there’s this real, “Let’s move forward” feeling that I have right now. I don’t think I’ll really be able to relax until it’s over, because it takes an enormous amount of faith in the people you’re working with that this is going to happen. And it will happen, and it’s thrilling to make it happen, because it’s very collaborative.

Weekly: What’s it like having others work on something you’ve created?

Lozano: There are a lot of people involved. It’s been challenging to take my baby, something I’ve been working on for a very long time, and share it with others — allow others to hold it, dress it and change its diapers. But doing that has been amazing, because my director is great. The designers are brilliant, coming up with really amazing solutions for some of the technical demands of the play.

Weekly: What’s it like seeing your play step off the page?

Lozano: The actors are bringing their input, and it’s pretty amazing to see people’s interpretations of what you’ve written, to see them bring it to life and make choices, and to see the set designer build a set that you’ve been imagining for years.

Weekly: What stage is the play in right now?

Lozano: We are in our second week of rehearsals. We had a week of workshop in July, because I knew that I would be doing the soap during this time, so we wanted to get the script in as good shape as possible before going into rehearsals. I would say the script is really close to being there. There’s a lot of things that we’re figuring out about the story, watching it being staged.

Weekly: What’s the story about?

Lozano: There’s a girl who lives underneath a bed, basically, and she hopefully will be interpreted many different ways by different people. I know different people in the audience will have different reactions to her. But there’s a fine line between having her be mysterious, and that being a good thing that sparks the audience’s imagination and discussion…or having her not be mean enough, or be too confusing in terms of what she symbolizes.

Weekly: Did you ever consider acting in it yourself?

Lozano: I really wanted to wear my “writer hat” during this process. I really wanted to be able to sit outside, listen to the play. I just didn’t feel like I’d be able to do that if I were inside it. There’s a couple of parts I could play.

Weekly: Which one would you want to play the most?

Lozano: The part that I would want to play is of my great-aunt, who’s in her late 60s. I did play her in a reading, and I had a lot of fun. She brought my sisters and me up. While my parents were at work, she was the one who was at home, making us dinner. She never had any kids of her own, and this play, in some way, is a tribute to her. I loved playing that part, because I loved playing her. But it’s not really right for me, and the actress who’s playing her is wonderful, so I am perfectly happy to sit this one out.

Weekly: Are there going to be some familiar faces in the audience on opening night?

Lozano: I am trying to get everybody at ONE LIFE, including Wayne Bilotti, who does hair, and Renate Long, who does makeup, but I would love the cast to come. It would be a trip for me if my two worlds, theater and soaps, came into collision like that. This is a story based on my childhood, so I would love that to be possible. I think there will be a few there. I think they’re curious as to what the hell I’m up to!

Performances of underneathmybed begin on Sept. 1 at the Rattlestick Playwrights Theater in New York. For more information, go to www.rattlestick.org.

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