From The Writer’s Room to the Stage

Teo Castellanos

International artist, actor, writer, director, Teo Castellanos performed a staged reading of his upcoming play Third Trinity at The Miami Lighthouse in Wynwood. The play, an adaptation of his autobiographical screenplay which he completed in The Writer’s Room, delves into the struggles and triumphs of three Puerto Rican brothers who each have a demon to overcome in their own personal lives. Castellanos is teaming up with MacArthur Genius winner, Tarrell McCranie (whom Teo is a lifelong mentor) to deliver the theatrical version of this powerful piece in October. Here is a beautiful note from Teo in response to his residency with us.

I was once told by a Mayan astrologer in Guatemala that the elements were important to me.  “Yes they are.” I agreed.  At the time, I had been working with the four primary elements in performance training pedagogy that I was developing.  Earth, Wind, Fire and Water keep us, and this planet alive.  They are also vital to my creative process.  My writing retreat at The Betsy Hotel brimmed with the elements and creative energy.  Creativity was abound, from the light that poured through the window facing the desk where I wrote, to the poems hung in my room, I was surrounded by charm and inspiration.  An extremely supportive staff also helped to create an environment much conducive to artistry.

Upon my early rising, usually at 5:00 am, I would climb to the roof top terrace, where nature greeted me.  During my 30 minute meditation, the breeze would whisper caresses and the ocean would bellow crashes on soft shores.  I began the Five Tibetan Rites as the Sun’s rays heralded his coming.  The stars would scamper, making room for vast light.  Sometimes Sun’s wife, Moon would hang out long enough to ask Sun where he’d been all night.  Other times she’d be gone before his arrival, knowing he really never left her.  She understood that her shine was due to his love.  After morning communion with my creative collaborators, I would head to Starbucks where I’d pick up a double shot soy latte and return to the roof top to sip and watch the last stars flee as King Sun tinted the Sky and began to take command of the day.  I was then ready to write.

And write I did.  During my stay I was able to finish the first draft of my screenplay Third Trinity.  The time, space and environment allowed me to stay focused and work diligently. I wrote at the desk of Hyam Plutzik, and was surrounded by his poetry.  No doubt that his legacy and the honor I felt while writing there, fueled my creativity, allowing me to complete that very first draft.  May it be known that, not only was the first draft of Third Trinity done at The Betsy, it was done because of The Betsy.  My deepest gratitude goes to The Betsy and all who sustain her in providing such an important creative womb

-Teo Castellanos