Inside the mind of The Amparo Experience playwright

You know what they say about judging a book by its cover… It applies to Vanessa Garcia: a writer whose work spans TV, theatre, journalism, and literature.

Her small stature disguises her giant achievements

She’s got a PhD with a focus on Cuba, she’s won an International Latino Book Award and been on NPR’s Best Books of 2015, and written for the LA Times, The Washington Post, The Miami Herald among many others.

Oh, and she’s one of the creative visionaries behind the award-winning theatrical experience called The Amparo Experience: an epic story of love, revolution and stolen rum, inspired by the life of Amparo Arechabala and the family behind The Real Havana Club. You might have heard of it?

The idea that started out as a 20-minute play in a bar became a 90-minute award-winning cultural phenomenon that ran for 8 months in multiple cities across the country.

When social distancing regulations came into effect, it evolved into an interactive filmic experience told through social media. You can experience it for yourself here.

To Vanessa, Amparo felt like a story she was born to tell. “I wrote the Amparo scripts so quickly. It’s as if they came from somewhere else, somewhere bigger than me. The making of Amparo was pure ‘flow’. It’s the story I’d been working my whole life to tell. It’s a story I understand to the core. Because I’m Cuban. Because I’m an ABC – an American Born Cuban – because Cuba lives inside me.”

When asked about her source of inspiration, Vanessa replies:

“I’m inspired by stories that haven’t been told. The search for truth. People’s fight for freedom and the need to protect that freedom by telling stories.”

Vanessa sums up Cuban culture in three words: passion, pain and love; three things that Amparo has in abundance.

Gracias for bringing our story to life, Vanessa!

Want to know more about Vanessa?