NEW YORK CITY: The Sol Project, a national theatre initiative dedicated to amplifying Latinx voices and cultivating a body of work for the new American theatre, has announced three new short-play commissions. Soñar es luchar by Virginia Grise, the human is sad; let’s start a band by juliany taveras, and Magic Garden by Cándido Tirado were commissioned by the Sol Project for the new-play initiative Play at Home, which makes the plays available for free for audiences to download, read, and perform at home.
“We’re honored to join the Play at Home initiative and support the work of three incredible Latinx artists working at the intersection of art, activism, identity, and social justice,” said the Sol Project associate artistic director David Mendizábal in a statement. “These plays center joy, resistance, and connection, which are so needed as part of the greater movement toward equity, justice, and healing.”
Since Play at Home’s inception, 24 partner theatres have commissioned 100 playwrights through the program, offering direct support to artists in need during the COVID-19 pandemic. The initiative has ensured that $50,000 has gone directly to artists in need so far. The plays are commissioned under the assumption that they will be read alone or aloud, but not produced, in order to allow playwrights to write plays that can contain elements that couldn’t be reproduced onstage.
Grise’s Soñar es luchar is set in a cotteon field in South Texas and is about a broken heart, wildfires, urban rebellions, and the longing to fly. The play is also described as “a lucid dream.”
Virginia Grise writes plays that are set in bars without windows, barrio rooftops, and lesbian bedrooms. Her published work includes Your Healing Is Killing Me (Plays Inverse Press), blu (Yale University Press), The Panza Monologues, co-written with Irma Mayorga (University of Texas Press), and an edited volume of Zapatista communiqués titled Conversations With Don Durito (Autonomedia Press). Virginia is a recipient of the Yale Drama Award, Whiting Writers’ Award, the Princess Grace Award in Theatre Directing, and the Playwrights’ Center’s Jerome Fellowship. She is an alum of the Soho Rep Writer/Director Lab & the Women’s Project Theatre Lab.
Taveras’s the human is sad; let’s start a band is about plants in an apartment on Lenape land who are thriving while the human in the apartment is getting sadder. Six (or more) voices come together to reflect on what they’re seeing.
Juliany taveras is a Dominican American writer, theatremaker, and arts educator from Brooklyn. They love writing plays, among them Desarrollo (the Lark’s Playwrights’ Week, Corkscrew Theater Festival), the anatomy of light (Kilroys List, 50 Playwrights Project List), and YAELIS (Crashbox Theater Company), as well as capturing poems and photographs. Juliany is grateful to collaborate with NYC youth as an absurdly enthusiastic teaching artist, while continuing to develop their own work about/for bodies in diaspora.
Tirado’s Magic Garden looks at the perfect farm world Ramon has created in his Brooklyn walk-up apartment and wonders what will happen to the imaginary characters of his farm animals and fruit trees when quarantine ends.
Cándido Tirado is the author of numerous plays, including Fish Men, which was originally produced by Chicago’s Goodman Theatre (in collaboration with Teatro Vista), where it received four Jeff Award nominations and won the Edgerton Foundation New American Play Award and New York Foundation for the Arts Award for playwriting, as well as being nominated for the Steinberg ATCA Award. Celia: The Life and Music of Celia Cruz, co-written with Carmen Rivera (New World Stages/NYC; Athenaeum/Chicago; Bellas Artes/Santurce, Puerto Rico); Momma’s Boyz (Teatro Vista/Chicago, Spanish Repertory/New York, Ateneo/Puerto Rico, “NYFA” Fellowship, chosen Chicago Top Ten plays in 2011 by Huffington Post); The Barber Shop (Spanish Repertory); King Without A Castle (Puerto Rican Traveling Theater (P.R.T.T.)/Sundance Institute Theater Lab./”NYFA” Fellowship); First Class, Checking Out (P.R.T.T.); Some People Have All The Luck (National Theater of Dominican Republic); Salsa Nights (Latino Experimental Fantastic Theater); The Kid Next Door (“NYFA” Fellowship).