María Irene Fornés returns to NYC but custody struggle continues

María Irene Fornés

María Irene Fornés

María Irene Fornés has gained three pounds in the last two weeks.

Not a big deal, or maybe a big deal in some quarters, but for one of the greatest living English-language playwrights, those three pounds are a very good sign.

“If you made a list of the most influential English language playwrights of the 20th Century, it seems to me you have the vein of writers who descend from Beckett (his lineage includes Pinter, Mamet, Churchill), the poetic naturalists like O’Neill and Williams, all the various kinds of expressionists, and then there is Fornés,” said Jorge Ignacio Cortiñas, who was mentored by Fornés and is best known for his play, Blind Mouth Singing (staged in Chicago by Teatro Vista in 2005). “I don’t know how we get to Paula Vogel or 13P or the ethos or aesthetics of off-Broadway today without Fornés. Why she is lesser known then playwrights that she is just as important as is an interesting phenomenon and seems connected to gender and ethnic bias to be sure, but this phenomenon is also compounded by what an iconoclast she was. How difficult it is categorize her … She is the ultimate playwright’s playwright. Everyone in theater knows who she is and many are deeply influenced by her.”

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