Like his disappointment with Padua, however, Machado’s encounter with identity politics and institutional theater provided him with a positive revelation.
“I decided I was going to lead my life from that moment on in a different way. I wasn’t going to be interested in the campaign that was set up for me in the American theater, which meant following the right track, getting all the grants, getting all the productions at all the regional theaters, and then getting the Big One and compromising yourself by editing your plays and letting the press turn you into a thing that you’re really not.”
Machado, who has now written more than 25 plays and translations (he also appears in the film Pollock), lives on Riverside Drive not far from Columbia University, where he teaches playwriting. He is also co-director of the prestigious Cherry Lane Theater (where Sand will open this fall), has scripted and directed a feature-length film, Exiles in New York, and has written for HBO. For all that, he still maintains a residence in Pasadena, as if this were the most natural thing in the world. “I grew up in L.A., I like keeping in touch with it,” he says plainly, as though this explains why, where some can never go home again, others can never quite leave it.