The 50 Playwrights Project’s third annual list of Latinx Plays for College Theatres fills the gap in accessible resources tailored specifically to the unique demands of college theatre programs. Curated by a selection committee of college professors and theatre professionals, the list features plays chosen with the following criteria in mind:
- Plays must be written by a Latinx playwright.
- Plays must be contemporary works.
- Plays must have a minimum cast size of 4.
In addition, the selection committee chose plays that feature an age range suited for college students. The committee also considered gender parity in terms of the playwrights as well as roles for actors. The committee took roles for women into large consideration given the trend of having more women than men to cast in college programs. Not coincidentally, these plays facilitate interdisciplinary collaboration and are ideally suited for course syllabi.
50PP’s Latinx Plays for College Theatres List is a tool for directors and professors who are committed to updating the narrative of the American Theatre to include more Latinx voices. Latinx stories are systematically underrepresented on college stages in the U.S. despite the robust artistic production by Latinx writers. The 50 Playwrights Project encourages theatre-makers to seek out the plays on our list and commit to equity, diversity, and inclusion in their college theatre programs.
*Selection Committee: Gina Sandí-Díaz and Roxanne Schroeder-Arce (Bios below)
Latinx Plays for College Theatres 2019
El Nogalar by Tanya Saracho
Set in modern-day Northern Mexico, the Galvan family, led by Matriarch Maite, have come back to their pecan orchard to reclaim their land after she has squandered away their money. In the time they were away, however, the Mexico they once knew has slowly been taken over by a drug war. Focusing on the relationships between sisters, and a mother and her daughters, will these women choose to adapt to the world around them or get left behind?
Cast: 4W 1M
To read El Nogalar, visit Samuel French.
Los DREAMERS by Mónica Sánchez
Scoobi is an undocumented-law-student-love-child of the Zapatista rebellion of 1994. Petra, her mother, a former revolutionary is also undocumented. Dylan O’Reilly, is Scoobi’s ticket to citizenship. This odd trio navigates personal and political borders on the heels of Scoobie’s marriage of inconvenience to Dylan. Oh yes, Roko, the soldier-ghost of Scoobi’s soulmate is hanging out too.
To read Los DREAMERS, contact Mónica Sánchez via the New Play Exchange.
Luna by Ramon Esquivel
Soledad is the daughter of migrant farm workers. Because her papá and mamá go where the work goes, Soledad is constantly changing homes, and she is the new girl at one school after another. The other children that she encounters are friends with one another already, as evidenced by their elaborate games, acrobatics and juggling displays. Frustrated, Soledad turns inward, finding comfort in books, in the stars, and in the company of the friendly moon, Luna. Soledad realizes that no matter where she moves with her family, Luna is always there. She and Luna agree to be best friends, and they quickly devise their own special games, inside jokes and funky dances. For the first time in her life, Soledad feels the joy of friendship. Then she meets Frida and Emilio, two kids who seem just as lonely as Soledad. Wanting to help her friend, Luna encourages Soledad to reach out to Frida and Emilio, saying, “Taking risks is hard to do, but taking risks builds courage, too.” Soledad’s choice sends her on an emotional roller coaster, compelling her to challenge Papá and Mamá, threatening her chance at making human friends, and testing her new friendship with Luna. While Soledad’s story is shaped by her family’s circumstances, it will resonate with anyone who has wondered, “How do I make—and hold on to—a good friend?”
Cast: 4W 2M (4 extras possible)
To read Luna, visit Dramatic Publishing.
Más by Milta Ortiz
Based on a true story. A community struggles to hold onto their history, identity, and humanity as they fight to save Mexican American Studies in the Tucson Unified School District.
Cast: 4W 4M (lots of possibilities for doubling)
To read Más, contact Milta Ortiz via the New Play Exchange.
Más Cara by Krysta Gonzales
Más Cara is a visceral text and movement conjuring of Mexicana archetypes and the women who embody them – past, present, and future. As we follow the life of Isabel, a Chicana who loves big and is trying to make a place in the world for herself and her daughter, the piece asks: What if Mexicana archetypal pillars like Coatlicue, Tonantzin, and La Llorona not only speak to and inspire Mexicanas from the other realm, but are also speaking to each other? And what if they can hear us answer back? What if these spirits are just as human as we are – and we, on earth, are all of them and none of them and everything in between?
Cast: 8W 3M or Non-Binary
To read Más Cara, contact Krysta Gonzales via the New Play Exchange.
Torera by Monet Hurst-Mendoza
Childhood friends Elena Ramírez and Tanok Cárdenas come from different worlds, but share one dream: to become matadors in Mexico’s bullfighting circuit. Elena’s mother, Pastora, is the live-in housekeeper for her childhood confidant, renowned rejoneador, Rafael Cárdenas. Though class and gender divide this household, Pastora raises Tanok and Elena side by side, while keeping a watchful eye on her daughter’s budding interest in bullfighting from Rafael’s young protégé. As Elena and Tanok grow, she proves a much more skilled fighter than Tanok, and what began as child’s play is now a vocation. Determined to rise to the top of this sport on her own merits, Tanok agrees to help Elena achieve her dreams by training her away from the prying eyes of their parents. But when legacy, tradition, and family secrets collide, who will rise and who will fall?
To read Torera, contact Monet Hurst-Mendoza via the New Play Exchange.
Dr. Gina Sandí-Díaz is an Assistant Professor of Theatre at California State University, Fresno, where she specializes in Latinx theatre, devised theatre, acting and directing. Her most recent credits with the University Theatre includes directing Lydia by Octavio Solis and Just Like Us by Karen Zacarias in 2018, and Anon(ymous) by Naomy Iizuka in 2019. Dr. Sandí-Díaz also specializes in applied theatre, conducting artistic projects in communities to tackle social problems and promote civic engagement. She has a Ph.D. and an M.A in Theatre from the University of Kansas, and a B.A in Performing Arts from the Universidad Nacional de Costa Rica. Her areas of interest are Latinx and Latin American Theatre and Performance, Theatre for Social Change and Applied Theatre.
Roxanne Schroeder-Arce is Director of Fine Arts Education (UTeach Fine Arts) in the College of Fine Arts and Associate Professor in the Department of Theatre & Dance at the University of Texas at Austin. In addition to teaching, Roxanne is a playwright, director and scholar. Her plays Mariachi Girl, Sangre de un Ángel, Señora Tortuga, and The Legend of the Poinsettia are published by Dramatic Publishing. She has published articles in journals such as Youth Theatre Journal, International Journal for Education & the Arts and Theatre Topics and chapters in books including Latinos and American Popular Culture. Roxanne is on the Board of elders of the Indigenous Cultures Institute and the Board of Directors of Teatro Vivo. Roxanne is a proud alumna of Emerson College and The University of Texas at Austin. She grew up in Springfield, Vermont. www.roxannearce.com