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CRJ Alumnus Imanol Ruiz Wins Young Playwrights Festival

Posted October 8, 2020

Milwaukee Chamber Theatre (MCT) will present its ninth Young Playwrights Festival Showcase this upcoming January, celebrating the winners of their local high school playwriting competition. Each of the three winning plays will be presented virtually. CRJ is proud to announce that one of the three winning plays, ‘To Make History and Let Others Write About It’, was written by Class of 2020 alumnus Imanol Ruiz.

MCT Associate Artistic Director Marcella Kearns said, “At MCT, we’re thrilled to hear the voices of our young people and to give them a platform. This year’s winning combination came from a competition pool of around 200 submissions. We heard stories about social justice, love, crime, life in Milwaukee, and more! To hear the stories they want to tell – that’s the great joy of this project.”

Imanol Ruiz

‘To Make History and Let Others Write About It’ is inspired by real events. Ruiz shared the following synopsis of his play. “It follows an exiled Jesuit priest, Father Armando Llorente S.J., who was exiled out of Cuba for simply being Jesuit. Over the course of the story, we come to find out that Father Armando Llorente knew Fidel Castro as a boy and saw him as a son. While everyone around him wants to see Castro killed or taken out of power, Llorente wants to see him saved from the life he is living.”

Ruiz’s story was inspired by his faith, as well as research he had done during his AP Seminar the year before. “My inspiration for writing this play came from my want to write about a Catholic figure at the center of an interesting story. All I needed to do was build a scenario and connect it to real life events and possibilities.”

Ruiz wrote the play over the course of two months, and was motivated by his desire to see the story come together as he wrote it. Ruiz would put himself in different points-of-view and draw on personal relationships as part of his writing process. “I like to see the scenes in my head as if it were a movie, or as if I were in the audience, or even if I were one of the characters. I think this was one of the main reasons Father Llorente ended up responding to some of the questions as I would. This is also definitely one of the reasons why one of the Hispanic characters sounds like my mother.”

Another motivation for Ruiz was his teacher, Catie O’Donnell. “Ms. O’Donnell gave me confidence in being able to write what I wanted to write. I had a lot of fun in her class, and it helped me better craft my ambitions for the rest of my life.” O’Donnell added, “Imanol’s success is so cool, and I absolutely love this show. I can’t wait to see it produced and to share it with our entire Cristo Rey Jesuit community.”

MCT’s Young Playwrights Festival Showcase provides an opportunity for three young playwrights to see their works professionally produced, and to learn from the emerging actors, designers, and directors that are part of the creative team. Before the three winners were selected, ten plays were chosen as finalists, which were announced in July. Ruiz and fellow alum Sophia De Los Santos were both chosen as top 10 finalists.

“I was happy to know I was in the top 10. It gave me some excitement over the slow summer.” Ruiz said. Ruiz is currently in his first semester at UWM, where he is majoring in Film. When he found out his play was one of three chosen to be produced, he knew the effect it could have on his career. “It is truly a great honor. It is also a huge help to my resume because I want to go into film and screenwriting.”


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