Critically acclaimed playwright Oliver Mayer has a lot on his mind and on his plate lately and he's not afraid to write. Of course, it's about theater, identity, sex and love!
"Some playwrights are afraid of or just don't write about the beauty and danger that is life today," affirms Mayer.
The Los Angeles (half Latino) native will jump start 2009 with the world premiere of two of his plays: "Dias y Flores" and " Laws of Sympathy".
On January 16, 2009 he will world premiere at the Company of Angels Theatre his highly anticipated play "Dias y Flores" - a meditation on Love: straight, gay and filial. The play, directed by Luis Alfaro, stars an all-Latino ensemble cast including his wife, actress Marlene Forte, Mel Rodriguez, Alejandro Rose Garcia, and Justin Huen.
Testing which love is strongest, the play seeks the musical magic of love. Its story is loosely based on "A Thousand and One Nights", and the music of Cuban Silvio Rodriguez and Beethoven. It also looks at the changing face of Latinos - Caribbean to Mexican. What does it mean to be Latino and in love?
Mayer who is best known for his plays that investigate the Latino and more specifically the Chicano experience throughout American history has had two collections of his work published as of 2008: "The Hurt Business" and "Oliver Mayer: Collected Plays". It's only natural that Mayer is known as a Chicano playwright, being himself half Mexican. His career has undeniably been very much enriched by being a product of two cultures.
It is no wonder he was voted one of the nation's "100 Coolest" people by BUZZ Magazine in the late 90s. Having survived this brush with fame and fortune, his work continues to grow and evolve positioning him as one of the more singular post-movimiento Chicano voices in the American Arts scene.
His work is extremely relevant today because it comes from a multicultural background - not to mention the fact that over time his artistic creations will come to represent a rich historical record of who we are and where we're headed as citizens of the United States.
Yet Mayer admits that proving himself to the Latino artistic community was a struggle when he first started but that being part of that community helped him and his work.
"I certainly see myself as a playwright of color," Mayer said.
Mayer 's claim to fame is the acclaimed "Blade to Heat" which originally premiered at the Public Theater in New York City. The revised version premiered on the Mark Taper Forum mains stage and subsequent productions have taken place in San Francisco, Chicago and Mexico City. "Blade to the Heat" is still in the works in preparation for the big screen. Pop star Icon, Madonna , bought the rights to the story about a 1950's nobody-turned-championship boxer forced to confront his own sexuality after a dethroned champion accuses him of being gay.
A talented playwright, Mayer is driven by the dramatic engine of both the world around him and the one constantly turning inside of him.
An Assistant Professor at USC's School of Theatre, Mayer is as passionate a professor as he is a playright - and confesses to always be grateful for the fact that he is constantly learning from his students and deriving much of his inspiration out of the classroom.
He is a recent winner of a USC Zumberge Award for the creation of a new original six-play cycle that portrayed how various epochs of music affected American History; and the recipient of a Gerbode Grant to write the libretto for "America Tropical", a new opera composed by David Conte. He is the screenwriter for "Dare to Love Me", a movie about the life of Tango singer Carlos Gardel which begins principal photography in 2009 - the film stars Raoul Bova and Lindsay Lohan.
His other well known plays include THE ROAD TO LOS ANGELES, BANANAS AND PEACHFUZZ, BOLD AS LOVE, THE RIGHTING MOMENT and ROCIO! A PESAR DE TODO.
Oliver Mayer did his undergraduate work at Worcester College, Oxford and Cornell University, where he graduated--his MFA was completed at Columbia University.