SAN DIEGO, CALIF.: San Diego Repertory Theatre (San Diego REP) and Amigos del REP have announced the Fifth Annual San Diego REP Latinx New Play Festival’s lineup, held both in person and streamed live online Sept. 3-5. Passes are available beginning Aug. 1 at pay-what-you-can prices here.
“Ten years ago I began dreaming and working toward the day when San Diego REP could present a festival of readings of plays by Latinx writers featuring Latinx performers.” said Sam Woodhouse, artistic director of San Diego REP, in a statement. “When Patrice Amon joined the San Diego REP staff five years ago, we began to plan such a festival. The vision, hard work, and outreach of Patrice has built this festival into one of the premier festivals of its kind in America.”
Out of over 90 submissions, the selection committee decided on five. The works presented uphold San Diego REP’s mission to generate and sustain an inclusive community through artistic endeavors that further progressive political and social values.
“Our exciting hybrid festival will bring the incredible accessibility growth we found with our online platform and restore that missing component: our audience,” said Patrice Amon, San Diego REP Latinx New Play Festival producer, in a statement. “We cannot wait to welcome our audience back and gather safely to celebrate these brave new works.”
The selected plays are:
Black Mexican by Rachel Lynett
Who gets to be a part of Latinidad? While Valery fights to prove Ximena isn’t Cuban, Alia has given up fighting that she is Latine. As the women in this play discover the truth about themselves and each other, they also have to face the internal bias that allowed a white woman to be Cuban but didn’t allow a Belizean to call herself Latine. Lynett is a queer Afro-Latinx playwright who writes dark comedies about complex women of color. Her recent playwriting credits include commissions with Barrington Stage Theatre Company (Holy Ground), Florida Studio Theatre (Carry Me and As You Are), and Theatre Lab (Last Night). Other credits include Last Night, presented as a reading with Theatre Lab (2020); Here Be Dragons presented as a reading with Capital Rep (2019); and You Were Mine presented as a reading at the Kennedy Center Page to Stage Festival presented by Theatre Prometheus (2019). Lynett is also the 2018 Recipient of the Arkansas Arts Council Individual Artist Fellowship and one of the 2020 recipients for the Artist 360 grant.
(Trans)formada by lily gonzales
Sam is gay, a little trans, and a child of Mexican immigrants living in the Texas Hill Country. They’re trying to figure out how to express their gender—to themselves and to the world. Just as Sam is building the courage to present their gender to their mother, they go to a high school party. Everyone is way too into each other and drinking way too much. Amidst the debauchery, a brave and strange set of rituals ensues. Gonzales is a playwright from Texas who graduated from UT Austin with a B.A. in theatre and dance/English. Their work has been developed or read at the John F. Kennedy Center, Teatro Vivo, Repertorio Español, Stages, San Diego Rep, AlterTheater Ensemble, and the Workshop Theater.
Get Your Pink Hands Off Me Sucka and Give Me Back by Daniella De Jesús
While studying abroad in Spain, Solandra, a young Dominican American woman, finds herself alone in the throne room of Queen Isabel and King Ferdinand, whose portraits come alive, transporting her to 1492. Meanwhile, on the island of what we now refer to as “Hispaniola,” Anacaona awakens, terrorized by a violent nightmare, which she soon learns is a prophetic dream. As Anacaona struggles to save her community from invasion, Solandra contends with her racial identity, attraction to older white men and their attraction to her. De Jesús is an actor, writer, and playwright from Bushwick, Brooklyn. As an actor, she is best known for her role as Zirconia on Netflix’s Orange Is the New Black. A member of the Public Theater’s 2018-19 Emerging Writers Group, her plays include Pa’ Ti Tengo De Todo (The Public Theater’s Spotlight Series), Get Your Pink Hands Off Me Sucka and Give Me Back (FKA Columbus Play), The Thief Cometh (United SoloFestival), and Mambo Sauce, a semi-finalist for Clubbed Thumb’s 2018 commission. She’s also the creator of the new web series Talk To Me on IGTV. De Jesús is a graduate of NYU Tisch School of the Arts with a BFA in Drama.
Conjunto Blues, written and performed by Nicolás R. Valdez
This play explores the social and historical conditions that led to the development of conjunto music as an expression of cultural resistance and liberation. The story centers on playwright, actor, and musician Valdez’s personal experience growing up in the conjunto music scene, loosely based on the relationship with his grandfather, a fellow conjunto music aficionado. Audiences are taken through a shifting landscape of memory and reflection highlighted throughout with traditional music performed live by Valdez and accompanied by musicians on Bajo Sexto (12-string Mexican guitar), Tololoche (upright bass), and drums. Filled with a cast of colorfully poignant characters, Conjunto Blues is a deeply personal performance for audiences of all ages and backgrounds that is sure to entertain and educate. Valdez is a San Antonio, Texas-based interdiscplinary performance artist and playwright with over 20 years experience in cultural arts activism. His introduction to the stage came early when, at the age of 9, Nicolas was trained in traditional conjunto music by master accordionist Valerio Longoria Sr. By the age of 15 he was an active member of the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center’s youth theater company Grupo Animo, writing and performing in original staged works. His training continued at the University of Wisconsin Madison and later through the practical experience of working with other artists around the country. Over the years, Nicolas has developed his own unique style incorporating music, poetry and theater into culturally relevant performances that speak to the experiences of the communities along the U.S.-Mexico border.
A Skeptic and a Bruja by Rosa Fernandez
Priscilla buys a home in the middle of nowhere after losing her life partner with the hope of turning it into a lucrative bed and breakfast. When she starts having paranormal experiences, she calls on investigators Sam and Jess from “A Skeptic and a Bruja” to help her. The women get more than any of them expected and more than they will ever be able to forget. Fernandez is a playwright living in Buffalo, NY, full time with her husband and two children. She is an associate member of the Dramatist Guild and a two-time participant of the Emmanuel Fried New Play Workshop facilitated by Road Less Traveled Productions in Buffalo, NY. She attended Brooklyn College for a BFA in Theater. Her play Curse of the Puerto Ricans was a semifinalist for the Eugene O’Neill National Playwrights Conference and runner up in the MetLife Nuestras Voces Playreading Series for Repertorio Español. It also made the 2020 Kilroys list and will hopefully receive its World Premiere in 2021 at Bishop Arts Theatre Center in Dallas.
San Diego REP’s Latinx New Play Festival is supported in part by the California Arts Council, a state agency. Learn more at www.arts.ca.gov. The festival is also supported in part by the Peggy and Robert Matthews Foundation.
A complete schedule for the festival can be found here.
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