The Spirit, the Body, & the Blood

by Mel Nieves

The Spirit, The Body & The Blood  is a dynamic intergenerational family drama about the possibilities of reconciliation, unconditional forgiveness and a past that refuses to be left behind. When his mother dies, Ramon Diaz returns to his old neighborhood to reconnect with the estranged wife and teenage son he abandoned years ago. Ramon is ready to pick up things where they left off, but his family has moved on and they have no intention of repeating the past. 

  • Cast Size: 3M 5W
  • Running Time: 90+ minutes
  • Royalty Rate: $75 per performance

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About the Playwright

Mel Nieves is a New York based actor-playwright-screenwriter-arts educator. He is a graduate of The William Esper Studio and a long time member of the award winning LAByrinth Theater Company and The Actors Studio Playwright-Director Unit. He is a two time semi-finalist (2017/2019) for The Princess Grace Playwright fellowship and a 2017 semi-finalist for The Eugene O’Neill Playwright Conference. His work as a playwright has been presented in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and San Diego by such companies as Classical Theatre of Harlem, Actors Studio, The LAByrinth Theater company and San Diego Theatre company’s Amigo’s del Rep.

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SAL RODRIGUEZ
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The Spirit is Willing

The death of a matriarch is the incident that brings people together in The Spirit, The Body & The Blood, a play by Mel Nieves about reconciliation and hope set in Washington Heights. After separating from his wife, Ramon Diaz returns to the neighborhood to attend his mother’s funeral. Ramon’s return raises questions as to whether or not he can salvage what’s left of his relationship with his estranged wife, Michelle and whether he can connect with his teenage son Julian, who wants nothing to do with him.
The world of the play is as hard as the blacktop on the playground where the neighborhood kids shoot hoops. The men are dreamers in various stages of denial. Santos, the matriarch, tells stories about his glory days as a boxer. Ramon describes his job fixing flat tires and changing motor oil as “contributing to the betterment of society.” Julian is determined to avoid the pitfalls that his father and grandfather encountered, but at sixteen years old, his girlfriend Maritza is pregnant, and we can only imagine how tough the road ahead will be for the two of them. The women in this play are streetwise, and tough. Ana reads the riot act to a homeless man who disrespects her act of charity. Cassandra fights with her son in law. Michelle tries to hold on to what remains of her family.
The play is a feast for actors since all of the characters are storytellers who speak in a stylized vernacular of the barrio. The dialogue is fresh, unsentimental and often hilarious as in scene one when Ana urges Michelle not to let Ramon back in her life. ““You’re a hot Rican woman from the Heights girlfriend with some serious talkin’ nalgas followin’ you around from place to place.”
The play offers no pat answers, but some surprises and a hint at redemption for Ramon, who has a chance to regain his family, but there is a rocky road ahead. There is a glimmer of hope on the streets of Washington Heights, and in the hearts of the Diaz family.

1 month ago

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