Four Minutes, Four Questions – Adrienne Dawes & Estefania Fadul

Four Minutes, Four Questions – Adrienne Dawes & Estefania Fadul

If a university is a melting pot of cultures and ideas, then so too is University Theatre’s season opener, “This B*tch: Esta Sangre Quiero” by M.F.A. playwright Adrienne Dawes. The comedy brings together Dawes’ passion for and training in improv, sketch and stand-up comedy; her adaptation of a Spanish Golden Age classic written by Lope de Vega in 1618; and a guest director originally from Colombia by way of New Hampshire and New York, Estefania Fadul.

In this What’s Up! Q&A, both the writer and director share their thoughts on the show, which opens Sept. 30 at University Theatre. The premise of the plot is that when Diana, a ruthless and power-hungry Pilates influencer, learns that her social media manager Teodoro is hooking up with her makeup artist Madeinusa, it sparks bitter jealousy. If she can’t have him, no one can!

Q. Please tell me about you.

Dawes: ​I was a quiet, shy kid but very early on I loved reading and storytelling. I created my own illustrated novels, magazines and made audio recordings of myself telling stories out loud (acting out the character voices and singing made-up songs). In high school I wrote poetry and began performing it, but what I loved most was making an audience laugh.

Fadul: I was born in Colombia and moved to New Hampshire when I was 5, where I grew up. I currently live in New York City. As a freelance director and producer, my day-to-day is always pretty different. Usually I’m in rehearsal for one project and simultaneously in pre-production — meetings, research and prep work — for projects coming down the pipeline. I am also on the road a lot, as many of my projects take me around the country — like this one!

Q. How do you come up with ideas? Even with an adaptation, how do you get from there to here?

Dawes: I don’t think of it so much as “coming up with ideas” but more listening carefully and maintaining a playful sense of curiosity (for me this results in a LOT of research). We are all our own main characters living inside a great story with multiple chapters and different genres. Our lives intersect with complicated histories filled with rich details. If anything, I feel overwhelmed because there are so many wild, weird, exciting stories (particularly stories that feature Black and POC women/femme people) and only so much time to try to tell them all.

In adaptation, it helps if you really love your source material.

Q. How did you come to direct Adrienne’s show?

Fadul: I had the pleasure of directing a Zoom workshop/reading of this show back in January 2021 for Ark Type New Play Festival. I was connected to the show at that point via Fayetteville resident and set designer Kim Powers … who has designed an absolutely gorgeous set for this upcoming production!

Q. What do you hope audiences take away from this play?

Dawes: I hope audiences receive the reminder to enjoy the fleeting moments we have with loved ones. I hope folks see that the “purest” love depicted onstage is between couples that truly see and appreciate each other (as they actually are, not who they advertise themselves to be).

Fadul: Comedy has a unique ability to lay bare certain elements of our world and open us up to seeing things in a new way. This play in particular has a fascinating conversation about class at the heart of it. It’s a modern adaptation of a Spanish Golden Age classic, “El perro del hortelano.” Adrienne has brilliantly adapted it to today’s world, putting in stark relief the social hierarchies of the European Renaissance to the Americas today. I hope that audiences walk away questioning more deeply the way our own society is structured, who has power and who doesn’t and why, what we as a society place value on, and how we as individuals make choices to buy into those values or reject them.



‘This B*tch: Esta Sangre Quiero’

WHEN — 7:30 p.m. Sept. 30-Oct. 1; 2 p.m. Oct. 2; again Oct. 5-9

WHERE — University Theatre in Fayetteville

COST — $5-$20


Categories: Theater