Jecenia Isis Figueroa: Meet the Playwright
In anticipation of the 8th (and final) episode of Season 1, coming out on Monday, February 5, 2018, let's get to know the playwright of the time travel romp Dirty Laundry, Jecenia Isis Figueroa. The following is her unofficial bio reprinted from her Mastering My Pieces blog:
Once upon a time – around 2013 actually – I was a white-collar worker by day just crunching numbers in a lonely cubicle and a creative night owl when the kids went to bed, penning away about a myriad of my emotions. But then one day, I decided I had had enough. I was no longer going to talk about it, dream about it, wish on it and then write it in my diary. I was going to go after the life I had always felt was truly mine.
I began slowly though.
On a whim one night, I submitted my poem, “Shattered Glass” to an online poetry magazine, and it was published. The blessing was publically small, but personally great. A first step.
Then, I volunteered for post-production work with Escena Latina Teatro (ELT). The surge of their artistic energy was infectious, and it was powerfully wonderful to be around. Unbeknownst to me, my entertaining animation during table readings was giving the company a preview of my acting potential. So when they asked me to be a part of their next staged reading, Mujeres de Arena, I graciously accepted.
Not shortly after, I threw my name and a collection of unpublished poems into an applications’ pile. Only a few of us were selected to be a part of TC Squared’s Playwrights Lab. The wheel of fortune had started rolling in my favor.
A year later my 10-minute play had been staged for an audience of 40 plus people, and I had performed in additional staged readings produced by ELT.
I’ll be honest, 2014 accomplishments made the 9am clock-in at the white-collar establishment a little bit more tolerable.
AND THEN. NOT TO BRAG BUT…
2015 was an exceptionally rewarding year! Having had one of my plays produced in multiple languages (English, Spanish) and multiple cities (one of them being out-of-state), I was certainly feeling the love of the divine universe! That year my acting career really began to kick in, too, with key roles in two play productions.
Not to mention, mi gente, I was fortunate enough to debut a small collection of poetry for a bilingual audience alongside other professional gentlemen poets (yes, I was the only female poet!). The poetry pieces were received quite favorably, I must add.
And I was smiling.
Now, with 2016 came another item off of the bucket list. Published author.
See, a few years before my artistic breakthrough in 2013, I had ended one of the most painful chapters of my life. I had separated from my ex-husband and was literally beginning my new life over from scratch. I was broken and penniless; sharing a bed with my younger sister and my two little boys, in my mother’s two-bedroom apartment, and no prospect of a job to support us.
The truth is up until that very moment I had allowed life, and subsequently anyone with a stronger conviction, to control me. One of my greatest lessons learned to date – it’s one thing to go with the flow of life; it’s a completely different thing to let life control your flow. And when you don’t have a vision for the type of life you want, others will paint the picture for you.
I didn’t come to that realization overnight, trust me. Even after establishing a steady income and obtaining our very own apartment, I was still trying to heal. I played the blame game a bit too well and ended up making others responsible for my recent demise. It took many lonely nights, drunken fits, and ugly truths that I had kept hidden from myself before I could really get back on my spiritual feet. But I did it.
So when it came down to whether or not I would let this life pass me by without ever attempting to live out my dreams, I mustered that same strength and inner-resolve I had found in my depths before. It was scary; it’s never been easy, but every second of this freedom has been completely worth it.
And when the opportunity to be a part of 20 Beautiful Women came around, I couldn’t hesitate. I had asked the universe to provide me with a way to live my dreams and it would have been a disservice to not follow through on that manifestation.
The chapter I contributed to 20 Beautiful Women: Volume 3: 20 More Stories That Will Heal Your Soul, Ignite Your Passion, And Inspire Your Divine Purpose, has been, to date, one of the rawest, most vulnerable pieces of art I have ever written. It challenged me to go within and allow the audience a sneak peek of not just my heart, but also my soul. Enter with caution, but please leave with compassion.
Another literary collaboration that I am extremely proud to be a part of is Basta: 100+ Latinas against Gender Violence. This flash fiction anthology displays the work of 100 Latina authors addressing the disease that is domestic violence. Considering the innumerable Latino families subjected to this trauma, it is a topic we seldom discuss, and as a result, it perpetuates the cycle within our homes.
LETS EXPOSE THOSE SKELETONS IN OUR CLOSETS, SO WE CAN FINALLY HEAL, MI GENTE.
Thanks to the universe and its loving law of attraction, a few more mini projects are in the works for the rest of 2016 and 2017, and I’m beyond ecstatic.
What else the future holds for me only the universe can say with definitiveness, but I’ll tell you this much; it’ll be one hell of a story to tell while I continue mastering my pieces.