Featured Artist: Kristine M. Reyes
This is a series of posts featuring our artists who are making things happen in and around our great borough of Queens. Please check back weekly for new posts.
Playwright. I’m an associate artist at Diverse City Theater Company and a company member at Leviathan Lab.
Where were you born?
Born in Manila, Philippines, but raised in NYC since the age of seven.
Which Queens neighborhood do you live in and for how long?
I moved to Astoria three and a half years ago, when I got married. The joke was, it must be true love for a native Manhattanite to move to Queens. No dig against Queens, of course, but New Yorkers are very borough/neighborhood-proud.
How did you get involved in theater?
Theater was something in my life from a young age because my mom is a great admirer of the performing arts; she would take me to shows as a kid – everything from Broadway to shows in little run-down theaters. My elementary school (shout-out to P.S. 41!) also had a strong arts program, so I vividly remember chorus class and putting on our 6th grade production of 42nd Street (I was a chorus girl) with our music teacher Rayme.
So theater was always something I enjoyed, but more as an audience member than as a participant. I think I’m one of those rare playwrights who didn’t start out as an actor, but I’ve wanted to be a writer as long as I can remember. It didn’t occur to me to try my hand at writing plays until college. It was a screenwriting class that eventually led to playwriting, actually. I realized that all I wanted to do was focus on the characters and write dialogue between them. Something clicked, like an “a-ha” moment, and it’s what I’ve been doing ever since.
Tell us about the play you’re working on in the Propulsion Lab?
It’s currently untitled and I’m still figuring things out as I write, but the play is about a conservative Asian-American woman who’s in her first relationship with a woman. She’s still very much in the closet, so it’s about how she navigates that double life and tries to maintain balance in all her relationships.
What do you love most about Queens?
I love that Queens is the most diverse borough in New York City – we’ve got people from all over the world who’ve settled down and created their lives here. It’s a microcosm of the microcosm that is NYC – but more affordable and less pretentious.
Your top Queens picks (food, entertainment, sights, etc)?
I’ve been developing a full-length play called Stage/Mother that I hope to have a reading of later this year. I’m also in the very early stages of working on some non-theater writing projects that I’m really excited about, but can’t discuss yet (ooh intriguing!).In the meantime, you can check out my website for updates and information about my plays: kristinemreyes.com