Gustavo Ott | Autor Teatral | Playwright

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Gustavo Ott (Caracas, Venezuela). Playwright, fiction writer and journalist, participant in the International Writing Program of the University of Iowa (1993); Residence Internationale Aux Recollets in Paris (2006) and Cité Internationale des Arts de Paris Residency (2010). Recipient of numerous playwriting awards, including the Tirso de Molina International Playwriting Prize (1998, Spain) for “80 Teeth, 4 Feet & 500 Pounds”; the Ricardo López Aranda International Playwriting Prize (2003, Spain) for “Your Molotov Kisses”. Nominated for the Helen Hayes Award/ The Charles MacArthur Award for Outstanding New Play or Musical (2009, Washington, D.C.) for “Mummy in the Closet; the Return of Eva Perón” . Prix Ville de Paris/Etc_Caraïbe 2009 for “Mademoiselle et Madame” ("Miss & Madame”); FATEX Award for Playwriting (Mérida, Spain, 2012) for"An Atom Distance". ALSO: First Runner-up of Madrid-Sur Award for Plays 2011 for "Three Five-Dogs Nights";  Finalist of Nuestras Voces National Playwriting Competition 2011 Medlife/Repertorio Español, New York, for “Cinco Minutos sin Respirar; Third BID Award “Hispanics in USA 2010 for “Juanita Claxton”;  First Runner-up in Torreperogil Playwriting Prize (2007, Spain) for “Monsters in the Closet, Ogres Under the Bed”; Venezuelan Ministry of Culture Theatre Prize (Caracas, 2007) for “Proyecto Padre: Obras José”2nd place National Contest for Contemporary Creation and Innovative Playwriting (2006, Venezuela) for “120 Lives a Minute”. Apacuana National Playwriting Award (Venezuela, 2015) for "Peludas en el Cielo" (Poodles in the Sky).  Aguijon Theater's International Hispanic Playwriting Award  (Chicago,2016) for "Brutality"- and 2017 Trasnocho Playwriting Award for "La Foto"

Chosen in 2002 and 2003 to participate in the “New Work Now!” program at the Joseph Papp Public Theater in New York, with "80 Teeth…”and “Two Loves and a Creature" as well as the Playwriting Program of La Mousson D’Ete in France and "La Mousson a Paris" in the Comedie Française, with “Photomaton”,  directed by Michel Didym. In 2005 “Deux amours et une petitte Bette” again in the Studio of the Comedie Française, under the direction of Vicent Colin (Lecture Semaine de la Caraïbe). “Photomaton” was published in France by Les Solitaires Intempestifs, Paris. In 2013 stage reading of "120 vies a la minute" , translated into french by Mathilde Arrigoni for ETC Caraibe in Le Tarmac de Paris.

Plays Produced:

In 1988 “Teatro Cinco” was published in Venezuela with the plays "Los peces crecen con la luna"(1983, "Red Sky At Night"), produced in 1994; "El Siglo de las luces,"(1986), produced in 2008 and "Passport"(1988), produced in Spain in 1993, which explores the loss of identity due to arbitrariness and lack of communication. But Ott’s stage premiere, by the group Textoteatro, came in 1989 with  “Divorcées, Evangelists, and Vegetarians”. The 1991 premiere of “Pavlov: Two Seconds Before the Crime”, showcased Ott’s hallmark “cruel and unusual humor”. GALA’s (Washington, D.C.) production of this play in 1995, under the direction of Abel Lopez, marked Ott’s debut on the American stage.

During those years, Ott wrote plays with social issues for wide audiences, with pieces like “Whoever Said I was a Good Girl? (1992),on youth gang violence, also produced in the U.S. by GALA. With “Good Girl…” . Ott founded the Teatro San Martín de Caracas (TSMC), while that same year Madrid’s Cuarta Pared inaugurated its Lavapies Theater with “Passport", directed by Javier Yagüe. The 8-Day Hustle (Putty-Tat) also opened that year, chronicling the search for affection in relations between North and South America. “The Very Thought of You(Quiéreme Mucho) followed at TSMC (1993), with parallel stories of immigration and love in two different generations symmetrically structured as an Escher painting. It opened in Caracas in 1994 directed by the author.

In 1996 Avispa Editorial (Madrid) published two volumes with six plays covering Ott’s early work. In 1997 "Las piezas del mal" was published in Caracas, collecting "Pavlov; 2 Seconds Before Crime",  (1986)  a play about crime, media and conditional reflexes, produced in 1991 ;"Gorditas” (“Fat Chicks”,1993), produced in 1996;  and "Corazón pornográfico"(1995), produced in 1995. Between 1997 and 1999 he produced five plays in what he dubbed “the Latin American macabre style.” These include "Comegato” (1997)a work on the dilemma between decency and crime, stage in Caracas directed by the author; "Fotomatón” (1995), an autopsy of the Latin American soul, stage in Caracas directed by the author; “80 Teeth, 4 Feet & 500 Pounds” (1996), an epic piece on the subject of guilt; “Tres esqueletos y medio”(1997), a play on the macabre intersection between transcendence and the criminal present, stage in Caracas in 2000 directed by the author; and “Miss” (1999)an epic piece on Latin American ambition, stage in Caracas in 2002 directed by the author.

In 2002 Casa de América in Madrid published "Dos amores y un bicho”(“Two Loves and a Creature”). This play about hatred was quickly translated to English, French, German, and Creole, and premiered in Caracas in 2004, under direction of the author. As "Deux amours et une petite bette”, the play opened in December 2003 in Lyon, France. Ott’s one-man show “Bandolero y malasangre,” (Brigand et Filou) translated by Françoise Thanas, premiered in Potiers, France, by Scene Nationale while Conjunto (Cuba)  published the play in 2004. In 2014 “Dois Amores e um  bicho" opend in Río de Janeiro at the Espaco Tom Jobim directed by Guillherme Delgado. Also, in 2014, "Two Loves.." was produced by Teatro Escambray in Cuba while in 2015 opened in Natal and Sao Paolo produced by Clows de Shapeseare, directed by Renato Carrera.

In 2004, in Santander, Spain, “Your Molotov Kisses”, a play on the interrelation of intolerance and terrorism, was published. “Molotov” premiered the same year in the Teatro Cuyás of la Palma on Grand Canary Island, and also in Argentina (CELCIT, 2006), and has been performed in Mexico (Teatro Xola, DF, 2006), Portugal (AL-MaSRAH Teatro, Algarve), Washington, D.C. (GALA, 2008), Colombia (Teatro Nacional, 2008), California (Teatro de las Américas, 2008); Athens (2012); Marseille, France (Theatre de Lenche,2012); Warsaw, Poland; Havana, Cuba and participate in the The Kitchen Dog Theater of Dallas as part of its “New Plays” stage reading program in 2007.

In 2006 Ott opened his comedy "Pony", on deception and the elections process. That same year, the Quartiers D´Ivry program in Paris presented “Deux amours…” andPhotomaton”, stage readings directed by Elizabeth Chailloux.“120 Lives minute”, a piece on catastrophe and the meaning of art and country, premiered in Caracas, under direction of the author in 2007, following the English production at Ohio Northern University, directed by Otto Minera.

In 2008 Spain’s Asociación de Autores de Teatro published “Monstruos en el closet, ogros bajo la cama”(“Monsters in the closet, Ogres Under the Bed”) a piece on the victims of 9/11, while Mexico’s Paso de Gato published “Passport” in its “Cuadernos de Dramaturgia Internacional”. That same year,  Lagoudera Publishers in Athens publishedYour Molotov´s Kisess”translated by Stamatis Polenakis and “Chat”(2008), a play about collective perversity in virtual communication.

“Chat” opened at the Teatro San Martín de Caracas in April 2009, while GALA’s Tivoli Theatre saw the premiere of Ott’s musical“Mummy in the Closet: The Return of Eva Perón”(2008), on the beginnings of the macabre and the dirty war in South America. “Fotomatón” was included in the Performing Arts Marathon 2009 of Teatro IATI in New York, and “Your Molotov´s Kisess” and “Pony”, both directed by John Rodaz were performed in both Spanish and English at the Arena Stage in Miami.

In 2009 under the direction of Tlaloc Rivas, CUNY staged a reading of “Miss and Madame” (2008), which explores hatred and admiration during the twentieth century through the rivalry between Helena Rubenstein and Elizabeth Arden. This play has been translated to English and French and was premiered at the Teatro San Martín de Caracas in 2010, winning Best Play Award. Also, in French, "Miss and Madame" ( Mademoiselle et Madame”) won the Prix Ville de Paris/Etc Caraibe (France, 2009) and was presented at Limoges Festival (Limosin, Francia, 2010), and selected to participate at the Mardis Midi Program by Theatre du Rond Point in Paris (2011) both directed by Daniel Gouchard. By 2011, "Miss and Madame" was published in Spain by Editorial Atezblai. In 2016 "Miss and Madame: the secret war of helena Rubienstein and Elizabeth Arden" recived a U.S premiere in GAla THEATRE, in Washington DC, directed by Consuelo Trum.

In the 2010 he recieved the 3rd BID Award "Hispanics in the USA" for  "Juanita Claxton", (2007) translated into English by Heather McKay, a play about the necessity of being rescued. In 2011 "Lírica" (2010) was premiered at the Teatro San Martín de Caracas, a play about poetry and friendship as an antidote for hatred and violence and nominated for the Rodolfo Santana Playwriting Award, during the Caracas Festival 2014. Also, in 2014 he won theLuis Britto García Award in Literature for “Lírica”

 “Three Five-Dog Nights” (2011), a play about the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion in the Gulf of Mexico opened in 2012, winning Best Play in the César Rengifo Theater Awards and translated into english by Heather McKay. This play, about corporate greed, was also translated into French while the “The Most boring man on earth” (2012), a play about the force of creativity to save the world, telling the story of double agent “Garbo” during WWII, opened in Caracas in 2013. Also that year, Cinco Minutos sin respirar (2013) (Five Minutes without a breath), a play about domestic abuse, second chances, and literature as a savior, opened in 2003 at the Diego Rivera Theater in Puerto Montt, Chile, during the Temporales Puerto Montt International Theater Festival.

In 2016, "A un átomo de Distancia" (One Atom away) a thirller that combines the search of a missing girl, Quantum Phiysics and inverse mathematics, opened in Caracas produce by TSMC and directed by Rubén León, while "Joder" (Screw you), a short play about abuse, infidelity, bullying and love, opened in Microteatro Venezuela 2016, Caracas, directed by José Gregorio Martínez. Also in 2016 Peludas en el Cielo”, (Poodles in the Sky) a comedy with magic realism tones about a lost town in South America ready to fight a pre historic monster, was produced by the Venezuelan National Theater and opened in Teatro Baralt de Maracaibo, directed by Carlos Arroyo.

Ott’s plays have been translated into English, Portuguese, German, French, Danish, Greek, Russian, Polish, Czech, Hungarian, Japanese,  Galician, Catalan and Creole.

Other Publications

In the 2011, Monte Avila Editores published his first fiction novel: "Yo no sé matar, pero voy a aprender"(I don´t know how to kill, but I will learn) also published by Maggots LLC USA in 2017 and availible in paperback in Amazon. As a novelist he also won the "Salvador Garmendia Fiction Novel Award 2011" for "Ella no merece ninguna piedad", published later in 2012.

In 2017 he published in the US "La Lista de mis enemigas mortales" (Maggots Publshers, LLC) available in paperback in Amazon and "Divorcées, Evangelist and Vegetarians" a bilingual edition edited by Maggots Publshers, LLC, available in paperback in amazon. Also in 2017 he published Plays and Prejudice (Maggots Publishers, EE.UU,2017), a book with two of his plays about prejudice and everyday fascism: Your Molotov Kisses y Two Loves and a Creature, available in paperback in Amazon.

Meriwether Publishing in the U.S. has published selections from Ott’s plays in English translation by Heather McKay in “Audition Monologs for Student Actors” (1999); “International Plays for Young Audiences” (2000); “Audition Monologs for Student Actors II” (2001) and “New Audition Scenes and Monologues from Contemporary Playwrights: The Best New Cuttings From Around the World” (2003, 2005 and 2007). In France, he was published by Les Solitaires Intempestifs de Paris (Photomaton), translated by Françoise Thanas; Nouvelles écritures théâtrales d´Amerique Latine, "120 Vies á la minute" (Les Cahiers de la Maison Antoine Vitez, Paris, 2012). In Spain he have been published by Editorial ICI ("80 Dientes..", 1999); Editorial LA AVISPA (Gustavo Ott I y II, 2000); "An Atom distance" by FATEX Extremadura (Spain, 2012). In Denmark by Drama Grasten 2010, translated by Thomas Hauger. In Greece by Editorial Lagoudera (Chat/Molotov, 2009). In Mexico by Paso de Gato (“Passport”, 2008). "Dois amores e um bicho", edited in Brasil by SESC de Ensino Médio, p.e.r.i.f.e.r.i.c.o (Río, 2012). "Comegato"  was included in Clásicos del Teatro Venezolano (ed BID & Co, 2015) while  "Lírica" in Antología de Teatro Venezolano, edited by Paso de Gato (México, 2015)."Passport": "Dramaturgias latino-anericanas" P.E.R.I.F.É.R.I.C.O Colecao Incubadora Cultural, Río de Janeiro, Brasil, 2015. In 2014 published in his web site  “Cinco Minutos sin Respirar”, while Fondo Editorial Fundarte (Caracas) published  “6 Piezas de Gustavo Ott”. Also in 2016 he published in his web site “La Muerte de un Don nadie”, a play based in a real story about the fall of a English teacher and his love for language.

Other Awards:

Ott has won other awards, including: Luis Brito García Literary Award (Caracas) for "Lírica" in 2014; Panama’s Escenas Award (Best Play of 2007) for Divorcees, Evangelist and Vegetarians””. Best Play Yakumo Festival 2007 (Japan) for “Wet Dog Waiting” (Bandolero y Malasangre); Best Play, Karzinbarcika Festival (Hungary) and Liverpool Festival (Canada) for "Pavlov" and Best Play, MB-Prague Festival 2003 for "Passport"; CELCIT Award (2002) for "80 Teeth..." and "Miss"; First Runner-up, Princess Grace Award-New York (2001) for "80 Teeth, 4 Feet & 500 Pounds"; Juana Sujo Award (Caracas, 1990). Microteatro Venezuela Playwriting Award 2015 for "Notará que llevo un arma". Nominated to the Isaac Chocrón Award, 2015 for "Juanita Claxton" and "Fotomatón". Microteatro Venezuela Playwriting Award 2016 for "Joder". To date, he recieved 7 Caracas Theater Award (César Rengifo Awards).

As a director

“Never Swin Alone” by Daniel McIvor, 2008; “120 Lives a minute”, TSMC, 2007; "Two Loves and a creature”, TSMC, 2006;“Pavlov”, Copenhague, 2001; “Tres Esqueletos y Medio”, TSMC, 2000; “Fotomatón”, TSMC, 1999; “Comegato”,  TSMC, 1998; Corazón Pornográfico”, TSMC, 2005; Pavlov; 2 Seconds before crime”, London Latino Festival, 1995; “Who ever said I was a good girl?”, TSMC, 1996;  “The Very Thought of You, TSMC,1993; The 8-DAY HUSTLE, Teatro La Comedia, 1992;  “Calígula” by Albert Camus (IV Madrid Theater Festival, 1987); “Glengarry, Glen Ross” de David Mamet, Teatro Luis Peraza, Caracas 1988. "Volcanes" by Cordelia Cody, produce by GALA Theater in Washington DC, 2016.

As a translator (into Spanish);

"Glengarry, Glen Ross" by David Mamet, (Trad.1986/Prod. Caracas,1988); "Moby Dick", by Orson Welles, (Trad.1989); "Never Swin Alone" by Daniel McIvor, (Trad. 2008/Prod. Caracas 2008); "Romeo and Juliet", by William Shakespeare, (Trad. 2010/Prod. Miami, 2011) and "Living Out" by Lisa Loomer , (Trad. 2014/Prod. Washington DC,2014).

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