A Roll Call of New Latina/o Plays
“Where can we find Latina/o plays?” “Who’s writing?” “What’s new in that crazy scene?” At a tipping point for the American theatre—during which the centralizing theme of last year’s TCG Conference and this year’s LORT Conferences is equity and inclusion, the TCG-led Diversity and Inclusion Institute is creating momentum across the country, seemingly every theatrical union (AEA, SDC, USITT) and organization (TCG, LORT, Broadway League, Grantmakers for the Arts) have crafted statements and action-plans towards creating equity and inclusion in the American theatre—well, these questions are more than questions. They are crucial inquiry towards the creation of an American theatre that accurately reflects the citizenry of the United States in the twenty-first century.
On November 1 2013, I published a HowlRound post titled “Towards a Hub for Latina/o Theater Artists” detailing the void left by the 2003 and 2004 losses of the Hispanic Playwrights Project (HPP) at South Coast Rep and the Latino Theatre Initiative (LTI) at the Mark Taper Forum. HPP, under the curatorship of José Cruz Gonzalez and then Juliette Carrillo and LTI, under co-directors Luis Alfaro and Diane Rodriguez, created magnetic centers for new Latina/o work. They not only provided a nexus for artists to cross-pollinate, they provided theatre decision-makers from around the country a yearly roster of Latina/o plays and writers to take note of. When HPP and LTI disappeared, that easily accessible roster of new plays and artists disappeared as well and the crucial questions raised above became challenging for the average theatremaker to answer.
The totality of the plays submitted for consideration represents the depth and breadth of artistic ambition within the Latina/o theatremaking community.
It is my hope that Carnaval 2015—which is an initiative of the Latina/o Theatre Commons (LTC) and will run July 23-25 at the Theatre School at DePaul University in Chicago—will make answering these questions easy. The morning after the submissions window closed at midnight on January 31, the LTC Selection Committee* awoke to an embarrassment of riches: eighty-eight new plays by some of the most exciting voices in the American theatre. The LTC had committed early on to producing readings of eight plays and the winnowing process was grueling. The committee went through three rounds of readings—reducing the selections from eighty-eight, to thirty-five, to nineteen plays. Last week the LTC announced that twelve plays would be featured in Carnaval 2015—eight in readings, and four others to be honored and distributed to all attendees. Frankly, the committee, despite the one weekend time limitation of the Carnaval, did not want to settle on eight. The field is too rich. The twelve plays to be showcased at Carnaval 2015 are just the tip of the iceberg.
The totality of the plays submitted for consideration represents the depth and breadth of artistic ambition within the Latina/o theatremaking community. The selections for Carnaval 2015 point to a deeper pool of talent. Carnaval 2015 intends to call attention to that pool and encourage theatres to both update their literary rosters and reinvigorate their curiosity about the new Latina/o theatre. With these goals in mind, please allow me to introduce you to thirty-six plays and writers that everyone should know.
For a complete list of submissions, or for copies of complete scripts contact LTC Producer Abigail Vega here.
- Mando Alvarado, Parachute Men
- Elena Araoz, Two Arms and a Noise
- Ari Belathar, La Danza del Venado
- Ricardo Bracho, When the Chunt Comes
- Diana Burbano, Fabulous Monsters
- Fernanda Coppel, King Liz**
- Migdalia Cruz, Satyricoño
- Georgina Escobar, Sweep
- Joann Farias, Adventures in Pornography
- Estela Garcia, Remedios Varo: La Alquimista
- Amparo Garcia-Crow, Appeal: A Musical in Two Acts
- Anne Garcia-Romero, Mary Peabody in Cuba
- Isaac Gomez, The Women of Juarez
- Magdalena Gomez, Perfectamente Loca/Perfectly Insane
- Vicki Grise, Siempre Norteada: Always Late, Always Lost
- Andrea Herrera, Pearl of the Antilles
- Darrel Alejandro Holnes, The Homecoming
- Melinda Lopez, Back the Night
- Carlos Morton, Brown Buffalo
- Matthew Paul Olmos, the living'life of daughter mira
- Marisela Treviño Orta, Wolf at the Door
- Milta Ortiz, Mas
- christopher oscar peña, Tiny People (or, it gets better)
- Christina Quintana, Evensong
- Jelisa “Jay” Robinson, Back with the Black and Down with the Brown
- Diane Rodriguez, The Sweetheart Deal
- Emilio Rodriguez, Swimming While Drowning
- Marco Antonio Rodriguez, Barcelo on the Rocks
- J. Anthony Roman, In Justice
- Elaine Romero, Wetback
- Octavio Solis, Mother Road
- Caridad Svich, This Thing of Ours
- Andrea Thome, The Necklace of the Dove
- Karen Zacarías, Into the Beautiful North
- Martín Zimmerman, Stranger
*The LTC Carnaval 2015 Selection Committee included:
- Juliette Carrillo, Director, former Artistic Director of the Hispanic Playwrights Project
- Jose Carrasquillo, Director
- Sandra Delgado, Actor/writer/producer, Co-Artistic Director, Collaboraction Theatre
- Teresa Marreo (Spanish-Language plays), Associate Professor of World Languages, Literatures and Cultures, University of North Texas
- Irma Mayorga, Assistant Professor of Theatre, Dartmouth College
- Marc Pinate, Producing Director, Borderlands Theatre
- Lisa Portes, Director, Head of MFA Directing, The Theatre School at DePaul University
** King Liz was removed from consideration for Carnaval 2015 because it will receive its world premiere at Second Stage in New York this summer.