At fourteen, Gerson Blanco is a YPT veteran. His first play, Renny vs. Javier was produced as part of New Writers Now! in 2007. His latest work, The Black Sheep was just featured in the 2008 New Play Festival.
"I thought the Festival would be like the first time," Gerson says, "like just a small place. But then, when I saw how big it was and all the people arrived I got kind of scared. But then, when I got up on stage, I don’t feel nothing. I was confident," Gerson says, smiling broadly. He smiles too as he remembers the actors. "That last guy! He was so funny. His face was so funny," Gerson grins, recalling Cesar Guadamuz’s performance.
Gerson’s parents had to work the night of the Festival but they’re very proud of his work. "Ellos bromean conmigo," he says moving easily between Spanish and English "they joke and say that since YPT paid me I have to start helping to pay the rent." He adds that he did turn his $50 royalty over to his mother, "if I had it I’d spend it all at one time."
The next play he’s conceived deals with gang violence. It features a gang member who takes in a homeless boy and cares for him against the wishes of his crew. Gerson encounters gang members each day when he walks between his school and the bus stop.
He says, "I wear my black jacket and my black hat. I don’t think. I don’t look. I don’t look in the eyes."
He’s less guarded when talking about his creative endeavors. He makes steady eye contact and smiles as he says "Every night I think about how I can make a movie." His grandmother has suggested that he write about his family’s journey from El Salvador. She is still in El Salvador and Gerson talks with her on the phone each Saturday. It has been four years since they’ve seen each other and Gerson thinks about one day returning to El Salvador, seeing his grandmother and playing Trompo and Chibola.