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Playwright, Javier Alexander, Aims To Master The Art of Storytelling

Javier Alexander aims to use his plays to tell stories that create unforgettable bonds among people with different points of view.

Javier Alexander, 28, is drawn to storytelling. He has participated in theatre and film productions but finds that being behind the scenes and having others express his ideas on stage calls to him the most.

Javier equates writing plays similar to a storyteller in a tribe creating community through words.

"There's something about captivating an audience with your words that calls to me. There is a sort of magic that happens when the words just flow, and I've found that being the man behind the scenes and having my actors tell a story allows me to connect [with this] idea [of a tribe storyteller]."

The community is built through all the people who work to create and perform the play on stage and those who witness it and become fans.

Despite his love for storytelling, Javier has pursued a career in medicine, working as an EMT in New Jersey and only working in theatre on the side. This may seem like a jarring detour from writing, but not for Javier; to him, stepping on stage and helping save a life both provide the level adrenaline rushing intensity he craves in life.

"Throughout my life, I've found the moment right before taking some ridiculous action as being the most exciting. From jumping out of a plane, running into a chaotic situation as an EMT, or the seconds prior to you walking on stage, there is something deep within me that wishes to put myself into situations... . that you can't back down from."

However, his desire to create bonds through stories and his previous experiences of "being burned" due to uninspired writers and directors thrust him into taking a more serious approach to his writing.

"I've come across one too many writers or directors that rather just get the 'thing' done than speak some truth or create a piece of art that allows the audience to escape from the difficulties of life or just to have a good laugh. And in their desire to get the thing done, they've screwed over many an actor or film crew."

With his adrenaline-seeking mentality and talent for writing, Javier traveled far and wide to seek inspiration for a play. Throughout his travels, he noticed a distinct universality to human existence regardless of culture.

"Regardless of where you are, there are certain things that are just universal. Whether that be what a first date looks like, what a mother reprimanding her child on the sidewalk sounds like, or the energy that two men having a conversation in a barber shop invokes. Many different parts of the human condition overlap, and knowing that allows you to write characters that anyone can connect to. "

In terms of his writing style, Javier found inspiration from renowned playwrights Philip Ridley and Stephen Adly Guirgis due to their intentional and thought-provoking use of profanity.

"Being from New Jersey and working in a field where picking up a severed human arm isn't unheard of, a well-placed 'Fuck’ though brash and perhaps vulgar perfectly captures the feelings a person might have after witnessing something emotionally enriching or tragic."

Javier believes that the commonplace use of swear words to express an emotion is another universal aspect of humanity that allows us all to connect, and these writers use that in their plays to add nuance to their characters.

Finally inspired, Javier wrote "Burn," a love story about two men in the 1950s.

"[The couple] were using other characters in the play as a sort of conduit to express their feelings for one another. Sadly, 1950s America wasn't the best place to express such a love, and so the play is filled with a sort of melancholy."

"Burn" made it to the semifinals of the 2023 Stage It competition for 10-minute plays in Florida. He is also in the process of writing a full-length play that is still in the development phase.

After forcing himself to write for 2-4 hours a day, repeating the steps of writing, hating it, and rewriting, Javier completed a script for a 12-minute play entitled, The Farce of Cantaberry.

The Farce of Cantaberry will be Javier's first play to make it to the stage, premiering at the New York Theatre Summer Festival on Thursday, June 15.

The play is a comedy about a couple who falls in love, but things go awry.

"This play takes an archetypal story of love and then proceeds to mess with it and the audience."

Although Javier is one step closer to becoming a successful playwright, it does not come without obstacles. Producing your own play means "you change from writer to logistics manager." Javier had to balance his relationships, his job as an EMT, and the production duties like holding auditions to hire actors, scouting locations for rehearsals, and finding people to fill the positions for lighting, sound, and directing, all while abiding by union guidelines and creating marketing campaigns to sell tickets. Even when all positions are filled, the rehearsal schedule has to be made, and then that writer hat has to come back when rewrites are needed.

During the production of The Farce of Cantaberry, actors dropped out due to scheduling conflicts, the set needed rebuilding multiple times, and there were lots of overwhelming legal paperwork.

"Art is beautiful, but at the end of the day, cash talks and a few of these obstacles ended up costing production."

Even with the struggles of production, it'll be worth it when the curtain rises, the jokes land, and the audience's laughs and applause act as just a taste of what Javier's future has in store for him.

Javier hopes to someday make a living out of his plays instead of needing to drive around in an ambulance to pay the bills on time. Complete creative freedom over his plays in a way that pays is the ultimate definition of success as a playwright.

"Look, we live in a material world, and the idea of me opening up my fridge and it just being empty is disheartening, and yet…though the vices and desires of the real world whisper in my ear, there is still this dream of connecting with my fellow creatures. That was and still is a major reason that I put myself through the nonsense that is the 'artistic process.'"

It all goes back to that imagery of a man sitting by the fire telling stories of the tribe. Javier wants to tell stories that help bridge the gap of understanding between people from different walks of life.

"Seems simple, I know, but I remember being a child and seeing the Latino experience in movies reduced to the cries and arguments of a Latin couple through the paper walls of a building. I remember thinking, we aren't just that, and neither is anyone else, for that matter."

Suffering through the complexities of the creative process is just a condition of having such a meaningful mission to impact humanity through entertainment.

"Putting yourself in a position to be judged for your creative work is never easy, and yet, I feel that everyone has the desire to express themselves in such a way. . . So to them, to you, to anyone who will read this, I hope that your art allows people to connect with you, and maybe one day you can be that nurturing force [of creativity] for someone else."

The Farce of Cantaberry will show at the New York Theatre on June 15, 17, and 18.

Buy tickets to Javier Alexander's play, The Farce of Cantaberry, here.

Follow Javier Alexander on Instagram.

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