Carlos Murillo

Doris Duke Impact Award, 2015

Chicago, IL

Carlos Murillo seeks to create new dramatic forms that consider the question: "What does it mean to be American?" His forthcoming book, The Javier Plays (53rd State Press), is a trilogy of unfinished manuscripts written by the fictional playwright Javier C. Discovered after Javier’s death, the series delves into themes of authenticity and truth. His dark play or stories for boys (2007), premiered at the Humana Festival at Actors Theatre of Louisville, and has been produced throughout the US and Europe. dark play… interweaves fake personalities created in Internet chat rooms with real life scenarios, telling a story of deception and love. He is currently a member of the Goodman Theatre Playwrights Unit and heads the BFA Playwriting Program of the Theatre School of DePaul University. As an alumnus of New Dramatists (2007-2014), he is currently working on a music-theatre piece The Ballad Hunters, with support from the Frederick Loewe Award.

  • Photo Credit: Andrea Tichy
  • Carlos Murillo- “White House Blues" from A Thick Description of Harry Smith (2014): /91007754
    “White House Blues" from A Thick Description of Harry Smith (2014)
  • Carlos Murillo- "Mahagonny Medley" from A Thick Description of Harry Smith (2014): /91013885
    "Mahagonny Medley" from A Thick Description of Harry Smith (2014)
  • Photo Credit: Carlos Murillo
    A Thick Description of Harry Smith (P73, 2012)
  • Courtesy of Theatre Seven
    Mimesophobia (2010)
    Produced by Theatre Seven
  • Photo Credit: Michael Palma
    Your Name Will Follow You Home (2014)
  • Photo Credit: John Bridges
    Mayday Mayday Tuesday (2011
  • Photo Credit: Harriet Smith for the Hinge Collective
    A Thick Description of Harry Smith (New Dramatist, 2014)

Suppose you just met someone who didn't know your work. What project from the past 10 years would you direct them to as an entry point to you and your work, and why?

The Javier Plays embodies the aesthetic and personal obsessions that have driven my work during the last decade. Writing the trilogy, I sought to create a theatrical experience novelistic in scope that attempts to solve the unanswerable riddle, “what does it mean to be American,” from the perspective of its central figure, Colombian-born American playwright Javier C. Reflecting Javier’s vision to create a theatre of “Bi-Polar Realism,” The Javier Plays hopscotch across a wide bandwidth of forms – from the riff on the traditional American-family-secrets-play dramaturgy of Diagram of a Paper Airplane, to the Prairie-Home-Companion-as-proto-psychedelic-medicine-show of A Thick Description of Harry Smith, to the Russian nesting doll-like meditation on Latino-American identity and authenticity of Your Name Will Follow You Home. Yet together they tell a single, epic story – one man’s quixotic, tragicomic attempt to comprehend his role as a storyteller in an America that created him yet remains alien to him.