Eliana Pipes on her Latinx playwriting award and inspirations
Oct. 30, 2020
Eliana Pipes, actress, and filmmaker won the 2020 National Latinx playwriting award for “Dream Hou$e.” The play also won the Leah Ryan Prize for Emerging Women Writers, an annual cash prize for unrecognized women playwrights, out of over 400 submissions. Horizonte Host José Cárdenas spoke with Pipes on her inspiration for acting and screenwriting.
Pipes is of Puerto Rican descent and grew up in Los Angeles county. The moment Pipes credits as the start to her playwriting career was when Young Storytellers, a nonprofit that promotes creativity in writing for young people, paid a visit to her 3rd-grade class. “It just started me writing early, and I never stopped,” Pipes said.
Dream Hou$e follows two Latinx sisters who are selling their family home to capitalize on the gentrification of their neighborhood.
“The play is really interested in this relationship between upward mobility and cultural loss and I think that is really embodied in the relationship between these two sisters. The eldest is really invested in this idea of progress and the younger is really invested in her cultural heritage and what that means to her emotionally and internally,” Pipes said.
“No matter where this play has traveled there has always been a very strong local response because almost every city has had some sort of recent past with gentrification. There is always somebody who says ‘that was my family, that was my neighborhood; that’s not my neighborhood anymore,’”
When Pipes was 13 her family sold their house due to the changing neighborhood. ”Everything was turning into a bar, I remember. Little shops were all transforming into a nightlife [environment],” said Pipes. Although the move improved the family’s financial security, it also represented a cultural loss for her, said Pipes.
“I’m so fortunate that has been favored with some awards because it has meant that I got to travel with the play and see how it lives in different communities and in different ways,” Pipes said