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Photo of María Irene FornésPhoto: James M. Kent.


Imagining with Irene

A three-day symposium that aims to celebrate and elevate the work of María Irene Fornés. Irene arrived in the U.S. from Cuba at fifteen years old in 1945. Throughout her career as a playwright and a director, she earned nine Obie Awards and was the first Latina playwright to be produced on Broadway (though that show never made it past previews). Just as importantly, she mentored and cultivated an entire generation of playwrights, many of whom would go on to be the most prominent and incisive voices in Latinx theater and beyond. As we work to include her in a canon that has largely overlooked her, we are also interested in thinking through the work that canons perform in this particular moment. Imagining with Irene will explore how we approach her rich and inspiring body of work. In uplifting her work, we think beyond its preservation as a static museum relic with a singular interpretation. Motivated by the way Fornés moved throughout the world, in a state of constant readiness to receive inspiration, this symposium is a gesture towards entering into conversation with her. To step into María Irene Fornés’ world requires a new kind of relationship with our history, our artistry, and ourselves. 

Over the course of three days, we will learn about and contextualize Fornés’ work. On our first day, the focus is on her trajectory as a queer Cuban-American woman and her place in the theatre of the American avant-garde. Our second day will hear from writers who trained with her. On the third day, we will screen Michelle Memran’s documentary film about Fornés, The Rest I Make Up.

Imagining with Irene Part 1: Aesthetics and Inquiry 

Monday, November 16th 5:00-7:00pm PST  

A conversation with Dr. Brian Herrera (Princeton), Dr. Anne Garcia-Romero (University of Notre Dame), Dr. Roy Perez (UCSD, Ethnic Studies), and Professor Emeritus Dr. Jorge Huerta (UCSD, Theatre & Dance), moderated by Dr. Jade Power-Sotomayor

Imagining with Irene Part II:  In the Writers Room

Tuesday, November 17th 5:00-7:00pm PST 

A conversation with award-winning playwrights Caridad Svich, Migdalia Cruz, Luis Alfaro moderated by Professor Deborah Stein. 

Imagining with Irene Part III: The Last Years

Wednesday: November 18th 5:00-7:00pm PST

Screening of The Rest I Make Up and Talk back with filmmaker Michelle Memran moderated by Professor Robert Castro 



Please fill out  this Google form to reserve your spot

This event is made possible through the sponsorship of: 

  • Office of the Vice Chancellor for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion
  • Latinx/Chicanx Academic Excellence Fund
  •  Chicanx and Latinx Studies Program
  • Department of Ethnic Studies 
  • Critical Gender Studies
  • Dean’s Fund for Undergraduate Enrichment