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Announcing the Six Playwrights Selected for the 2018 LTC Carnaval of New Latinx Work

Collage of playwrights' headshots
Top: Alexis Scheer, Marisela Treviño Orta, Noah Diaz (L to R)
Bottom: Paz Pardo, Carlos Murillo, Guadalís del Carmen (L to R)

It is with great excitement that the Selection Committee of the 2018 Latinx Theatre Commons (LTC) Carnaval of New Latinx Work introduces six new Latinx plays to the field by both emerging and established voices in the American theatre! 

These plays were chosen out of approximately 130 plays by a fifteen-person selection committee as those that best represent the breadth and depth of our communities, our triumphs, our challenges, and our negotiation with isolation, celebration, power, familial ties, identity, and more. Readings of these plays will be presented at the LTC's eleventh convening, the 2018 LTC Carnaval of New Latinx Work hosted by The Theatre School at DePaul University, 19-21 July 2018, in Chicago, IL.

These plays do not differ from any of the canonical, largely Western European-centered plays often taught at universities and produced largely and widely in American theaters; the only differences are the bodies on stage, and the characters' points of view, which more greatly reflect the makeup of our country and our world. Between epic worlds that lead to tragic consequences, and polyamorous relationships alongside an ominous slug; from family secrets kept to protect the ones we love, to the biting realities of millennial young women; between changing minds and changing ways of speaking, to online relationships and deferred dreams, there is something in this lineup for everyone.

We encourage our colleagues, friends, and artistic leaders to widen their perspectives on the new American play, and come experience these thrilling readings at the 2018 LTC Carnaval of New Latinx Work! Individual tickets for readings will be available in July. If you cannot join us in Chicago and wish to read the scripts, please email LTC Producer Abigail Vega.

Read a synopsis of each play and the playwright's bio below:

My Father’s Keeper by Guadalís del Carmen

My Father’s Keeper is about family and the secrets we keep to protect our loved ones. Tirsio Armando Gonzalez and his wife Juana are the pillars of their community in the Dominican Republic and in their new home in Chicago, but Tirsio’s sudden death causes family secrets to come to light. Dealing with the their father’s truth and double life, Mondo and Sofía must learn to lean on each other like never before while figuring out how to best honor their father. The Gonzalez family must define what secrets are worth keeping and which ones aren’t worth the trouble.

Guadalís Del Carmen’s first play, Blowout, was produced by Aguijón Theater in 2013. Her play, Tolstoy’s Daughters, was part of UrbanTheater Company’s 2015 R.A.W. Series. Tolstoy’s Daughters went on to be selected as a finalist in Quick Silver Theater’s Playwrights of Color Summit in 2016. Tolstoy’s Daughters was selected as one of 50 Playwrights Project’s Best Unproduced Latino/a Plays 2017, was an Honorable Mention in the Kilroys List, and is the 2018-2019 winner of Montclair State University’s New Works Initiative. Through a commission from UrbanTheater Chicago and in alliance with CLATA, Not For Sale will have its World Premiere in the Fall of 2018. Guadalís is an artistic associate of Black Lives Black Words and Co-Coordinator of the NYC Latinx Playwright Circle. My Father’s Keeper was created through her time in El Semillero and is a semi-finalist in Quick Silver Theater Company’s 2018 Playwrights of Color Summit.

Richard & Jane & Dick & Sally by Noah Diaz

The classic “Dick & Jane” characters from the ubiquitous 1950s children’s books are grown-up and struggling to stay afloat in a home fractured by grief. Newly widowed Dick (now going by Richard) is raising his two children, Dick Jr. and Sally, who is deaf, while trying to manage a terminal illness that will inevitably leave them orphans. When he calls home his estranged sister, Jane, the family must reconcile and make peace with their shared and misunderstood histories before it’s time for him to go. A recipient of the Kennedy Center’s Jean Kennedy Smith Playwriting Award, Richard & Jane & Dick & Sally is a dramatic comedy about brothers, sisters, mothers, and fathers, with sign language, talking dogs, picnic tables, and Snickers bars.

Noah Diaz is an MFA candidate in the Playwriting Program at the Yale School of Drama. His work has been developed and/or presented at the Yale School of Drama, Yale Cabaret, Seven Devils Playwrights Conference, The Shelterbelt Theatre, The Kennedy Center, 5th Wall Productions, Campfire Theatre Festival, and The Rose Theater, among others. Awards/Fellowships include: The Kennedy Center’s Jean Kennedy Smith Playwriting Award (Richard & Jane & Dick & Sally), The Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center NPC Semi-Finalist (Richard & Jane & Dick & Sally), 50PP Best Unproduced Latin@ Plays (Richard & Jane & Dick & Sally), Blue Ink Playwriting Award Semi-Finalist (The Motherhood Almanac), Woodward/Newman Playwriting Award Finalist (The Motherhood Almanac). 

Killing of a Gentleman Defender by Carlos Murillo

In some rooms he’s Martin. In others he’s Martín. Hired by a well-funded arts institution on Chicago’s Northside to create a show with Chicago youth about violence on the Southside, Martín finds himself torn not only by the pronunciation of his name, but by the conflicting needs of the institution and the young people they believe they're “serving,” and by a city in a death struggle with its own divided self. Does Martin/Martín make an exploitative confessional docudrama? Or does he try to find a metaphor? Reaching into his own history, he unearths, with his young ensemble, the story of the 1994 murder of soccer star Andres Escobar in Medellín, Colombia, hoping a past-tense allegory of violence in a deeply divided, faraway city will illuminate violence in the deeply divided Chicago of now. When a very real act of violence hits home, what story will Martin and his youth ensemble tell?

Carlos Murillo's plays have been widely produced throughout the US and Europe. His plays include his trilogy, The Javier Plays (53rd State Press), Augusta and Noble, dark play or stories for boys, Mimesophobia, A Human Interest Story, Schadenfreude, and others. His newest play, I Come from Arizona, will premiere this fall at Children's Theatre Company in Minneapolis. Carlos is the recipient of a 2015 Doris Duke Impact Award for his work in theatre, as well as a Mellon Foundation National Playwright Residency at Adventure Stage in Chicago. He is a two-time winner of the National Latino Playwriting Award from Arizona Theatre Company. He is currently working on a commission for Oregon Shakespeare Festival's American Revolutions initiative. He is an alumnus of New Dramatists and heads the BFA Playwriting Program at The Theatre School of DePaul University where he is a full professor.

Shoe by Marisela Treviño Orta

In the sixteen years since her father left, Marta has felt trapped in her family's double-wide in Texas. She gave up college and stayed home to take care of her siblings and mother. Just as a secret online relationship reignites Marta's dreams and curiosity about the world outside, her siblings each decide they will do anything it takes to escape their home lives—even if it means leaving Marta behind.

Marisela Treviño Orta is an award-winning playwright and recent graduate of the Iowa Playwrights Workshop. Her plays include: AlciraAmerican TriageBraided Sorrow (2006 Chicano/Latino Literary Prize in Drama, 2009 Pen Center USA Literary Award in Drama); Ghost Limb (2017 Brava Theater world premiere); Heart Shaped Nebula (2015 Shotgun Players world premiere); Shoe (2019 Kendeda Finalist); The River Bride (2016 Oregon Shakespeare Festival world premiere); Wolf at the Door (2018 National New Play Network Rolling World Premiere); and Woman on Fire (2016 Camino Real Productions world premiere). Marisela is an alumna of the Playwrights Foundation’s Resident Playwright Initiative, a founding member of the Bay Area Latino Theatre Artists Network, and a Steering Committee member of the Latinx Theatre Commons.

Milton, MI by Paz Pardo

Leah’s got writer’s block, Amber’s got Ambition, Jake’s got it all (including your regular fear of slugs). Jake and Leah were hot-shot young poets when they left NYC for Jake’s professorship at Milton Tech, but now Leah’s working admin as Jake’s career skyrockets. So when fresh-faced Amber shows up, it’s only a matter of time before things get sticky. A play about threesomes, poetry, and slugs.

Paz Pardo’s plays include Milton, MI (Bay Area Playwrights Festival Finalist, 2016); Movimiento Perpetuo/Perpetual Motion, which she has performed in 11 cities in three countries; Duct Tape Girl and Fetish Chick Conquer the World (BootStrap Theater Foundation, NYC); RubberMatch (RED CARAVAN, NYC); and YOU/EMMA (Wandering Bark Theatre Co. at IRT, NYC). She and Enrique Lozano are the Grande/Bravo translation team. Her writing has appeared in The Brooklyn Review, Encountering Ensemble, and HowlRound. Her novel, The Shamshine Blind, is represented by Julie Barer of the Book Group. M.F.A. in playwriting, UT Austin. B.A., Stanford. Fulbright Award, Buenos Aires, 2012

Our Dear Dead Drug Lord by Alexis Scheer

Our Dear Dead Drug Lord follows a gang of girls who do normal teenage things: fall in love, experiment with drugs, worship Pablo Escobar...okay, maybe not so normal. Suspended high above reality in a treehouse, the girls try to resurrect the spirit of Pablo. But are they just messing with each other, or could they actually be messing with a higher spirit?

Alexis Scheer is a multi-hyphenate theatre artist based in Boston. She writes plays that are brazenly millennial and fiercely feminist, through a Latinx lens. Her plays have been developed in Boston, NYC, Miami, Ashland, and Minneapolis. Alexis is earning her MFA in Playwriting at Boston University, holds a BFA in Musical Theatre from The Boston Conservatory, and is a proud graduate of New World School of the Arts. This season she will be joining the Huntington Theatre Company as the Producing/Casting Apprentice. Alexis also moonlights as the Producing Artistic Director of the award-winning fringe company, Off the Grid Theatre.

The Selection Committee of the 2018 LTC Carnaval of New Latinx Work would also like to recognize Seeing Eye by Nick Malakhow and three girls never learnt the way home by Matthew Paul Olmos.

The 2018 LTC Carnaval of New Latinx Work Selection Committee includes:

Dr. Patrice Amon
Dr. Trevor Boffone
David Mendizábal
Regina Garcia
Adriana Gaviria
Isaac Gomez
Dr. Brian Herrera
Alex Meda
Daniel Penilla
Richard Perez
Lisa Portes
Mario Ramirez
Jelisa Robinson
Daphnie Sicre

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