Gustavo Ott | Autor Teatral | Playwright


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Gustavo Ott (Caracas, Venezuela). Playwright, fiction writer and journalist. Since 2024 Ott is the Artistic Director of Teatro Gala in Washington DC. He was also Executive Artistic Director of Teatro Dallas, Texas, and Teatro San Martín de Caracas, Venezuela (1993.2014). Participant in the International Writing Program of the University of Iowa (1993); Residence Internationale Aux Recollets in Paris (2006) and Cité Internationale des Arts de Paris Residency (2010). Recipient of numerous playwriting awards, including the Tirso de Molina International Playwriting Prize (1998, Spain) for 80 Teeth, 4 Feet & 500 Pounds and the Ricardo López Aranda International Playwriting Prize (2003, Spain) for Your Molotov Kisses. Nominated for the Helen Hayes Award/ The Charles MacArthur Award for Outstanding New Play or Musical (2009, Washington, D.C.) for Mummy in the Closet. Prix Ville de Paris/Etc_Caraïbe 2009 for Mademoiselle et Madame (Miss & Madame); FATEX Award for Playwriting (Mérida, Spain, 2012) for A un átomo de distancia. First Runner-up of Madrid-Sur Award for Plays 2011 for Three Five-Dogs Nights; Finalist of Nuestras Voces National Playwriting Competition 2011 Medlife/Repertorio Español, New York, for Cinco Minutos sin Respirar; Third BID Award Hispanics in USA 2010 for Juanita Claxton; First Runner-up in Torreperogil Playwriting Prize (2007, Spain) for Monsters in the Closet, Ogres Under the Bed; 2nd place National Contest for Contemporary Creation and Innovative Playwriting (2006, Venezuela) for 120 Lives a Minute. Apacuana National Playwriting Award (Venezuela, 2015) for Peludas en el Cielo (Poodles in the Sky). Aguijon Theater's Hispanic Playwriting Award (Chicago,2016) for Brutality and 2017 Trasnocho Playwriting Award-Caracas for La Foto (The Photo). Marius Gottin Playwriting Award 2018 (Martinique/ETC Caraibe/France) for Best Non-Francophone play for The 22 Weddings of Hugo Multiple; 2020 Trasnocho Playwriting Award (Venezuela) for Todas las películas hablan de mí.

Chosen in 2002 and 2003 to participate in the “New Work Now!” at the Joseph Papp Public Theater in New York with 80 Teeth…and Two Loves and a Creature as well as the Playwriting Program of La Mousson D’Ete in France and La Mousson a Paris in the Comedie Française, with Photomaton directed by Michel Didym. In 2005 Deux amours et une petitte Bette again in the Studio of the Comedie Française, under the direction of Vicent Colin. Photomaton was published in France by Les Solitaires Intempestifs, Paris. Ott’s plays have been translated into English, Portuguese, German, French, Italian, Danish, Greek, Russian, Polish, Czech, Hungarian, Japanese, Galician, Catalan and Creole.


In 1988 his first book, Teatro Cinco, was published in Venezuela plays like Red Sky At Night (1983) (Los peces crecen con la luna) produced in 1994; El Siglo de las luces (1986) produced in 2008 and Passport (1988) a play that explores the loss of identity and lack of communication, was produced in Spain in 1993 and published by Mexico’s Paso de Gato in its Cuadernos de Dramaturgia Internacional. But Ott’s stage premiere came in 1989 with a comedy: Divorcées, Evangelists, and Vegetarians (1988). And the 1991 premiere of Pavlov: Two Seconds Before the Crime (1986) showcased Ott’s hallmark cruel and unusual humor. GALA’s Washington, D.C. production of this play in 1995, directed by Abel Lopez, marked Ott’s debut on the American stage.

During those years, Ott wrote plays with social issues for wide audiences, like Whoever Said I was a Good Girl? (1992) on youth gang violence, also produced in the U.S. by GALA. Ott founded the Teatro San Martín de Caracas (TSMC) in 1993 while that same year Madrid’s Cuarta Pared inaugurated its Lavapies Theater with “Passport", directed by Javier Yagüe. The 8-Day Hustle (1993) also opened that year, chronicling the search for affection in relations between North and South America. The Very Thought of You (1992) followed at TSMC (1993), with parallel stories of immigration and love in two different generations symmetrically structured as an Escher painting. It opened in Caracas in 1994 directed by the author.

In 1997 his book Las piezas del mal was published in Caracas, collecting Pavlov; 2 Seconds Before Crime a play about crime, media and conditional reflexes; Not leaving for the astronauts (1993) produced in 1996; and Corazón pornográfico (1995) produced in 1995 both by TSMC. Between 1997 and 1999 Ott produced five plays in what he dubbed “the Latin American macabre style.” These include Comegato (1996) a work on the dilemma between decency and crime, stageby TSMC directed by the author; Fotomatón (1995), an autopsy of the Latin American soul, stage in Caracas directed by the author; 80 Teeth, 4 Feet & 500 Pounds (1996), an epic piece on the subject of guilt; Tres esqueletos y medio (1997), a play on the macabre intersection between transcendence and the criminal present, stage in Caracas in 2000 directed by the author; and Miss (1999) an epic piece on Latin American ambition, stage in Caracas in 2002 directed by the author.

Monstruos en el closet, ogros bajo la cama (2001) (Monsters in the closet, Ogres Under the Bed) on the victims of 9/11 was published in 2002 and also in 2008 by Spain’s Asociación de Autores de Teatro. Ott’s one-man show Brigand et Filou, (2002) (Bandolero y Malasangre) translated by Françoise Thanas, premiered in Potiers, France, by Scene Nationale while Conjunto (Cuba) published the play in 2004.

In 2002 Casa de América in Madrid published Two Loves and a Creature, (2002) (Dos amores y un bicho).This play was quickly translated to English, French, German, and Creole, and premiered in Caracas in 2004, under direction of the author. As Deux amours et une petite bette, the play opened in December 2003 in Lyon, France. In 2014 Dois Amores e um  bicho opend in Río de Janeiro at the Espaco Tom Jobim directed by Guillherme Delgado. Also, in 2014, Two Loves.. was produced by Teatro Escambray in Cuba while in 2015 opened in Natal and Sao Paolo produced by Clows de Shapeseare, directed by Renato Carrera. And in 2018 produce in Rio de Janeiro by Notória Companhia directed by Danielle Martins de Farias. 

In 2004, in Santander, Spain, Your Molotov Kisses (2003) a play on the interrelation of intolerance and terrorism, was published. Molotov... premiered the same year in the Teatro Cuyás of la Palma on Grand Canary Island, and also in Argentina (CELCIT, 2006), and has been performed in Mexico (Teatro Xola, DF, 2006), Portugal (AL-MaSRAH Teatro, Algarve), Washington, D.C. (GALA, 2008), Colombia (Teatro Nacional, 2008), California (Teatro de las Américas, 2008); Athens (2012); Marseille, France (Theatre de Lenche,2012); Warsaw, Poland; Nicosia, Cyprus; Havana, Cuba and participate in the The Kitchen Dog Theater of Dallas as part of its “New Plays” program in 2007. In 2018 opened at Etcetera Theatre in Camden Town, London.

In 2006 Ott opened in Caracas his comedy Pony (2006) on deception and the elections process. That same year, the Quartiers D´Ivry program in Paris presented Deux amours… and Photomaton, directed by Elizabeth Chailloux. 120 Lives minute (2006) a play on catastrophe and the meaning of art and country, premiered in Caracas, under direction of the author in 2007, following the English production at Ohio Northern University, directed by Otto Minera.

Chat (2008) a play about collective perversity in virtual communication, was published by Lagoudera Publishers in Athens, translated by Stamatis Polenakis. It opened at the Teatro San Martín de Caracas in April 2009, while GALA’s Tivoli Theatre saw the premiere of Ott’s musical Mummy in the Closet (2008) on the beginnings of the macabre and the dirty war in South America. That year Fotomatón was included in the Performing Arts Marathon 2009 of Teatro IATI in New York, and Your Molotov´s Kisess and Pony, both directed by John Rodaz were performed in both Spanish and English at the Arena Stage in Miami.

In 2009, under the direction of Tlaloc Rivas, CUNY staged a reading of Miss and Madame (2008) which explores hatred and admiration during the twentieth century through the rivalry between Helena Rubenstein and Elizabeth Arden. This play has been translated to English and French and was premiered at the Teatro San Martín de Caracas in 2010, winning Best Play Award. Also, in French, Miss and Madame (Mademoiselle et Madame) won the Prix Ville de Paris/Etc Caraibe (France, 2009), was presented at Limoges Festival (Limosin, Francia, 2010) and selected to participate at the Mardis Midi Program by Theatre du Rond Point in Paris (2011) both directed by Daniel Gouchard. By 2011, Miss and Madame was published in Spain by Editorial Atezblai. In 2016 Miss and Madame recieved a U.S premiere in Gala Theatre, in Washington DC, directed by Consuelo Trum.

In the 2010 he recieved the 3rd BID Award Hispanics in the USA for Juanita Claxton (2007) translated into English by Heather McKay. In 2011 Lírica (2010) was premiered in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, a play about poetry and friendship, also nominated for the Rodolfo Santana Playwriting Award. In 2014 Ott won the Luis Britto García Award in Literature with Lírica.

Three Five-Dog Nights (2011) a play about the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion in the Gulf of Mexico opened in 2012, winning Best Play in the César Rengifo Theater Awards. This play, about corporate greed, was translated into French while the The Most boring man on earth -Garbo- (2012) a play about the force of creativity to save the world, telling the story of double agent Garbo during WWII, opened in Caracas in 2013. Also that year, Cinco Minutos sin respirar (2012) a play about domestic abuse, second chances, and literature as a savior, opened in 2013 at the Diego Rivera Theater in Puerto Montt, Chile, during the Temporales Puerto Montt International Theater Festival.

In 2016, A un átomo de Distancia (2015) (One Atom away) a thirller that combines the search of a missing girl, Quantum Phiysics and inverse mathematics, opened in Caracas produced by TSMC directed by Rubén León, while Notará que llevo un arma (2015) and Joder (2016), two shorts plays about abuse, infidelity, bullying and love, opened in Microteatro Venezuela both directed by José Gregorio Martínez. Also in 2016 Peludas en el Cielo (2016) a comedy with magic realism tones about a lost town in South America ready to fight a pre historic monster, was produced by the Venezuelan National Theater and opened in Teatro Baralt de Maracaibo, directed by Carlos Arroyo.

In 2018 The Photo (2017), a play where two families are changed forever when a selfie is sent to one person but shared by another, opens in Teatro Trasnocho Caracas directed by Héctor Manrique while in the US GALA Theatre premieres La foto at the Tivoli Theater in Wasshington DC directed by Abel López. In abril 2018, the Costa Rica National Theatre produced Brutality (2017) a play that explores the relationship between personal and collective humiliation through stories of police brutality and terrorism, directed by Mabel Marín, while Aguijón Theatre opens Brutality in Chicago directed by Rosario Vargas. Also in 2018, Sucede que soy horrible premieres in Caracas directed by Sareni Siplenko and La muerte de un don nadie (2016) a play based in a real story about the fall of a English teacher and his love for language, opens in TSMC directed by Rubén León. In 2019 Divorce (2017) a play about break up, blame and crime, is produced in Caracas at the BOD Cultural Center directed by Jennifer Morales. Also in 2019 Ott published two new plays, a comedy and a monologue: Las 22+ bodas de Hugo Múltiple (2018) a play about empathy and immigration in the age of hate, and and Nosotras nos entendemos (2018) a one woman show about the macabre idea of finding herself.

In 2019 La lengua del pájaro carpintero (2019) a short play opened in Santigago de Chile 2020 directed by Vladimir Vera while in 2020 Ott published La Rara (2020) a romantic comedy "with a soul" and clear political references. In 2020, Todas las películas hablan de mí (2020). a comedy about an offer a writer can´t refuse, opened in Caracas in the Teatro Trasnocho directed by Héctor Manrique. In 2021 Ott published All Alive (2020), translated by Kirsten F. Nigro, a dystopian play where a new virus, more aggressive than “the old COVID of 2020,” is decimating the world population. In this theater-thriller the pandemic grows until it becomes an intense and exciting drama.

As a fiction writer:

In the 2011, Monte Avila Editores published his first fiction novel: Yo no sé matar, pero voy a aprender (2005) a finalist in the Premio Azorin Award (Sapin, 2005), also published later in spanish by Maggots Publishers USA in 2017. As a novelist he won the Salvador Garmendia Fiction Novel Award 2011 for Ella no merece ninguna piedad (2011) published later in 2012 by Casa de Bello and in 2018 by Maggots Publishers USA under the title El gordo que vuela. In 2017 La Lista de mis enemigas mortales (2017) was edited by Maggots Publishers USA and by Ediciones PG, Granada, Spain. In 2020 Feroz amiga mía (2020) a fiction novel edited by Maggots Publishers in the USA. In 2021 Droga canibal (2020), a thriller, edited by Maggots Publishers.

Other Theater Publications:

Meriwether Publishing in the U.S. has published selections from Ott’s plays in English translation by Heather McKay in Audition Monologs for Student Actors (1999); International Plays for Young Audiences (2000); Audition Monologs for Student Actors II (2001) and New Audition Scenes and Monologues from Contemporary Playwrights: The Best New Cuttings From Around the World (2003, 2005 and 2007). In France, he was published by Les Solitaires Intempestifs de Paris (Photomaton) translated by Françoise Thanas; Nouvelles écritures théâtrales d´Amerique Latine 120 Vies á la minute (Les Cahiers de la Maison Antoine Vitez, Paris, 2012). In Spain he have been published by Editorial ICI (80 Dientes.., 1999); Editorial LA AVISPA (Gustavo Ott I y II, 2000); An Atom distance by FATEX Extremadura (Spain, 2012). In Denmark Dine Molotov Kys by Drama Grasten 2010 translated by Thomas Hauger. In Greece by Editorial Lagoudera (Chat/Molotov, 2009). In Mexico by Paso de Gato (Passport, 2008). Antología de Teatro Venezolano, edited by Paso de Gato (México, 2015) In Brasil Dois amores e um bicho, by SESC de Ensino Médio, PERIFERICO (Río, 2012). Passport: Dramaturgias latino-anericanas PERIFERICO (Río, 2015). In Venezuela: In 2016 Fondo Editorial Fundarte (Caracas) published 6 Piezas de Gustavo Ott. Comegato was included in Clásicos del Teatro Venezolano (ed BID & Co, 2015). In 2019 the Fundación Editorial El Perro y la Rana, (Venezuela) published Obras Ganadoras del Premio Apacuana de Dramaturgia Nacional de la Compañía Nacional de Teatro, (Apacauana National Playwriting Award - Venezuelan National Theater) including Peludas en el cielo.

With Maggots Publishers, USA, in English: Divorcees, Evangelist y Vegetarians (2016, Bilingual Edition). Plays and Prejudice (Two Plays: Your Molotov Kisses and Two Loves and a Creature). The Lipstick Plays, (Three Plays: The Most Boring man in the World, Miss and Madame and Who Eever Said I was a Good Girl). The Perversity Plays (80 Teeth, 4 Feet, 500 Pounds; Chat and Passport) and The Catastrophe Plays (Three Five-Dogs Nights, Juanita Claxton, 120 Lives a minute). The Photo (2018, Bilingual Edition). Brutality-Divorce (Two Plays, 2018) and Mummies, Immigrants and Baseball (Three Plays: Mummy in the Closet,The Very Thought of Yo, The 8/Day Hustle). In spanish: Cinco Piezas con Garrote (Lírica, Tu ternura molotov, Dos amores y un bicho, Juanita Claxton and Cinco minutos sin respirar) and Todas las bocas secas son tuyas (Five plays: Brutality, A un átomo de Distancia, La muerte de un don nadie and Peludas en el cielo).  In 2019 Two Plays, A comedy and a monologue: Las 22 bodas de Hugo Múltiple and Nosotras nos entendemos. Also in 2019, Romeo and Juliet, by William Shakespeare, an original translation and adaptation for 4 actors. In 2020 La Rara (2020) and in 2021 All Alive (2020).

By 2020, CELCIT Argentina has published in their web site,Textos Teatrales Dramática Latinoamericana (Latin american Plays), over 10 plays by Gustavo Ott: Bandolero y Malasangre, Divorciadas, Evangélicas y Vegetarianas, Gorditas, Tu ternura molotov, Dos amores y un bicho, Passport, Pony, A un átomo de distancia, Cinco minutos sin respirar and La foto.

Other Awards:

Ott has won other awards, including: Luis Brito García Literary Award (Caracas) for Lírica in 2014; Panama’s Escenas Award (Best Play of 2007) for Divorcees, Evangelist and Vegetarians. Best Play Yakumo Festival 2007 (Japan) for Wet Dog Waiting (Bandolero y Malasangre); Best Play, Karzinbarcika Festival (Hungary) and Liverpool Festival (Canada) for Pavlov and Best Play, MB-Prague Festival 2003 for Passport; CELCIT Award (2002) for 80 Teeth... and Miss; First Runner-up, Princess Grace Award-New York (2001) for 80 Teeth, 4 Feet & 500 Pounds; Juana Sujo Award (Caracas, 1990). Microteatro Venezuela Playwriting Award 2015 and 2016 for Notará que llevo un arma and Joder. Nominated to the Isaac Chocrón Award, 2015 for Juanita Claxton and Fotomatón. To date, he recieved 7 Caracas Theater Award (César Rengifo Awards), five as a playwright, one as a director and another for music design.

As a director

Has directed more than twenty plays, among them: The 22 Weddings of Hugo Multiple (Teatro Dallas, USA 2023); Passport (Teatro Dallas, USA 2023);Never Swin Alone by Daniel McIvor, 2008; 120 Lives a minute, TSMC, 2007; Two Loves and a creature, TSMC, 2006;Pavlov, Copenhague, 2001; Tres Esqueletos y Medio, TSMC, 2000; Fotomatón, TSMC, 1999; Comegato,  TSMC, 1998; Corazón Pornográfico, TSMC, 2005; Pavlov; 2 Seconds before crime, London Latino Festival, 1995; Who ever said I was a good girl?, TSMC, 1996;  The Very Thought of You, TSMC,1993; The 8-Day Hustle Teatro La Comedia, 1992; Calígula by Albert Camus (IV Madrid Theater Festival, 1987); Glengarry, Glen Ross de David Mamet, Teatro Luis Peraza, Caracas 1988. 

As a translator (into Spanish);

Glengarry, Glen Ross by David Mamet, (Trad.1986/Prod. Caracas,1988); Moby Dick, by Orson Welles, (Trad.1989); Never Swin Alone by Daniel McIvor, (Trad. 2008/Prod. Caracas 2008); Romeo and Juliet, by William Shakespeare. Original translation and adaptation for 4 actors. (Trad. 2010/Prod. Miami, 2011. Edited by Maggots, VA, 2020); Living Out by Lisa Loomer, (Trad. 2014/Prod. Washington DC,2014); A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. (Trad. 2019/Ford Theater, Washington DC 2019); In the tank by Rosemary Frisino Toohey (Trad. 2019); and Guys and Dolls, Music and Lyrics by Frank Loesser abd Book by Jo Swerling y Abe Burrows. (Trad. 2020/Ford Theater, Washington DC,2020). Native Gardens by Karen Zacarias (Trad. 2022/Prod. Teatro Gala 2023, Washington D.C)


Gustavo Ott lives in Dallas, Texas.

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