Playwright Alexis Scheer on ‘Laughs in Spanish’ (part 1)

Playwright Alexis Scheer (Photo: Victoria Romulo)

Award-winning playwright and Adjunct Assistant Professor Melinda Lopez talks with Laughs in Spanish playwright Alexis Scheer about process, what’s next, and finding her voice.

Melinda: Talk to me about ‘Laughs in Spanish’. Where are you in your process?

Alexis: Ready for an audience! It’s hard to develop comedies without them—they’re their own character. So I’m at the point in my process where I try to stop touching the play and just let it set for a moment. I’ve had my hands on it for a while now. We read the first full draft December 2017. Then I did a significant rewrite last summer, where I basically wrote a new play with the characters and world I had created in the first draft.

Melinda: That’s very brave. Something we don’t talk about enough is the rewriting process. And I know you find so much in revision.

Alexis: I do. I’ve really grown to love it. Probably because—and this sounds so naive—but I didn’t know about revision. Or I guess I should say, I didn’t have an understanding of its weight on something. Like, you don’t pick up a great play and actively think “wow, what a great 12th draft.” But more often than not that’s what it is, right? And that’s something I started to get excited about while working on Our Dear Dead Drug Lord, and really taking my time to write and write and slowly figure out how the play ends. And it’s made me even more grateful and beholden to everyone in the industry who is patient and trusting enough to develop and program new plays.

Melinda: Can you share what’s next for ‘Our Dear Dead Drug Lord’?

Alexis: I have to wait until it’s formally announced! But I can talk a little bit about its journey since the LTC Carnaval and the Boston run with Off the Grid. I signed with my incredible agents Di and Ross at ICM, who’ve totally changed the game for me. I went back to Oregon Shakespeare Festival for another reading, and I was just at the McCarter Theatre Center workshopping the play in their Spotlight Festival last month.

Melinda: There’s a lot of fuss and bother about the play. People are crawling all over themselves—

Alexis: The play has a lot of amazing champions around the country, which is really wonderful.

Melinda: That’s great. And then you’re following it up with ‘Laughs in Spanish’ which is sort of a very sweet comedy.

Alexis: Totally. I keep laughing at the fact that I wrote these plays at the same time, because they’re so different. I recognized as I was writing Drug Lord that it’s not for most theatres because of the brutality. So with Laughs in Spanish I was challenging myself to write something with more broad appeal that still rings true to who I am and what I want to accomplish as a writer.


Laughs in Spanish runs at Boston Playwrights’ Theatre Feb. 21-March 3.  Tickets