Inspired by The Kilroy’s annual list of the most recommended unproduced new plays by female and trans* playwrights in the American theatre, the 50 Playwrights Project made a call in Fall 2016 for unproduced plays by playwrights who identify as Latin@. We received over 65 submissions, from which the committee chose the top 8 unproduced plays and 2 honorable mentions.
50PP’s List is a tool for producers who are committed to updating the narrative of the American Theatre to include more Latin@ voices. Latin@ stories are systematically underrepresented on U.S. stages despite the robust artistic production by Latin@ 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 theatre organizations.
THE 50PP LIST 2017
Atacama by Augusto Federico Amador
Atacama takes place 30 years after the dirty wars waged by the General Pinochet regime on the Chilean people. Two strangers, a mother and father, search the Atacama Desert for their buried loved ones and discover that there are darker truths awaiting them underneath the hard sands of the Atacama.
Atacama was developed through the Center Theater Group/The Humanitas Prize in Los Angeles, CA and is part of Amador’s Latin American dictator play trilogy which includes Kissing Che and The Book of Leonidas, both of which are published in Proscenium Theatre Journal. Atacama was a semifinalist for the 2016 Princess Grace Award, a finalist for the 2016 National Playwriting Award from the Arizona Theater Company, a semifinalist for the 2017 Eugene O’Neill Conference, and a finalist for the Local Theater Company Lab in Boulder, CO. Atacama will be seen at the New Works Festival at the Firehouse Theater in Richmond, VA in April 2017.
Cast: 1W 1M
Beige by Desi Moreno-Penson
Soon after the tragedy of 9/11, a young Nuyorican journalist finds herself caught between the reality of her Jewish fiancée and the ideals of the Puerto Rican Nationalist, Lolita Lebron. Many people in the country believe Puerto Ricans are not actually American citizens, but immigrants, and with the ongoing controversy that continues to dog the immigration issue, and the insidious racial backlash continues to divide our country, the effects of colonialism perpetrated upon any cultural group may create the likelihood of deep, psychological scars. In addition, the concept of a ‘freedom fighter’ being viewed as a terrorist/anarchist and vice versa is just as compelling, topical and relevant now as it was in 2001.
Beige is the winner of the 2016 National Latino Playwriting Award sponsored by the Arizona Theater Company, a finalist for the 2016 Eugene O’Neill National Playwrights Conference, a semifinalist for the 2016 Princess Grace Award for emerging artists, as well as a semifinalist for the 2017 Blue Ink Playwriting Award sponsored by the American Blues Theater in Chicago. Beige will receive a developmental reading at MultiStages Theater Company in spring 2017.
Cast: 3W 3M
Good Friends by Maria Alexandria Beech
A freelance writer and her Venezuelan mother live a quiet and secluded life in New York, except when a frozen chicken and other objects crash on the floor. That’s when a mysterious couple who moved in below knocks on the door. A funny and tender play about life choices and cultural assumptions, with a fascinating group of characters including a Mexican ex-lover, a salesman, and a newborn baby.
Good Friends (formerly entitled Homebodies) was written in The Dorothy Strelsin New American Writers Group at Primary Stages Theatre in New York. In addition, it has been included in the following festivals: the Fresh Ink Series at Primary Stages Theatre, Queens Theatre New American Voices Reading Series, both in English and Spanish at the Crossing Borders Festival at Two River Theatre, and the Venezuelan American Festival in Caracas, Venezuela.
Cast: 3W 2M
the living’life of the daughter mira by Matthew Paul Olmos
In a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, the premature baby Mira looks to her Labor/Delivery nurse as a mother figure while she tries to survive her challenging first weeks. Elsewhere in the hospital, her teenage mother and uncompromising family clash over who is fit to even raise a child. Meanwhile, Mira’s father struggles to keep a promise made to his daughter nine months earlier on a mysterious beach, in an aging Chevy Blue Cassanova van.
the living’life of the daughter mira was developed, in part, by The Lark Theatre, Primary Stages Dorothy Strelsin New American Writers Program, and the Latinx Theatre Commons’ Carnaval of New Latina/o Work.
Cast: 3W 2M
Los Moreno by Mercedes Floresislas
Los Moreno is a trilingual play in Spanish, English, and American Sign Language. Carlos Moreno, a teenage Deaf boy whose mother functions as the family interpreter must make a connection with his non signing father when she is incarcerated. The separation forces Mrs. Moreno to acknowledge that she has handicapped Carlos and prevented Mr. Moreno from bonding with him. Carlos’ loneliness escalates and he turns to alcohol. Mr. Moreno is forced to overcome his pride to reveal the reason he’s been unable to learn sign language so they can build a relationship before it is too late.
Los Moreno won the Kennedy Center American Theater Festival Latinidad Award, was the first alternate for the 2016 National Partners American Theater Award, was selected for the 2017 Austin Latino Play Festival at Teatro Vivo, and was a runner up for Met Life’s 2017 Nuestras Voces competition. Los Moreno received a staged reading as part of the 2016 Tomás Rivera Conference at the University of California at Riverside.
Cast: 4W 5M 2W/M
Stranger by Martín Zimmerman
The aftermath of a brutal dictatorship. Margot hires a homeless stranger to tell a lie. To tell a mother her son (abducted by the dictatorship and given to another family) is now dead. But when the stranger comes face to face with the mother, he can’t bring himself to tell the lie, and the mother’s convinced he can help find her son. The mother insists the stranger live with her while they search. But what will Margot do when she finds out the stranger hasn’t kept his word?
Stranger has received workshops at Marin Theatre Company and the Playwrights’ Center in 2013 as well as a reading at Playwrights Foundation in 2014. Stranger was a finalist for the Bay Area Playwrights Festival in 2014.
Cast: 2W 1M
Tolstoy’s Daughters by Guadalís Del Carmen
Even though Katya and Fanya are sisters raised in the same rich and aristocratic home, their experiences are worlds apart. With their country on the cusp of a revolution, the sisters take separate paths to fight for their country’s future. Having the odds against them, both make drastic choices that will forever change their relationship. With one sister sacrificing her life and the other sacrificing her livelihood, the fate of their beloved country ultimately lays in their hands.
Tolstoy’s Daughters was selected to be a part of UrbanTheater Company’s 2015 R.A.W. (Real Aggressive Writing) Series and was a finalist in Quick Silver Theater’s Playwrights of Color Summit in 2016.
Cast: 3W 6M
Wolf at the Door by Marisela Treviño Orta
Isadora finds the strength to stand up to her abusive husband Septimo when he forces the very pregnant Yolot to stay against her will. While Septimo makes plans for the baby, Isadora and Yolot devise one of their own. And as a pack of wolves closes in on the hacienda, Isadora must decide what price she’ll pay for her own freedom. Wolf at the Door is part of a cycle of fairy tales Marisela is writing inspired by Latinx folklore and mythology.
Wolf at the Door was selected for the 2016 Kilroys List. Wolf at the Door has been developed and received readings at Brava Theater in 2014, the Latinx Theatre Commons Carnaval of New Latina/o Work in 2015, Crowded Fire Theatre in 2015, the University of California, Riverside in 2015, the Iowa Playwrights Workshop New Play Festival at the University of Iowa in 2016, and San Francisco Playwrights in 2017.
Cast: 3W 1M
Incorporate by Wilfredo Ramos Jr.
In an American Presidential Election uncannily similar to our own, Brenda Blender, a selfless public servant whipped up from assorted kitchen appliances, mounts a spirited campaign to unite a nation on the verge of self cannibalization. Through satire and puppetry, Incorporate calls out the ways in which people dehumanize one another in the endless war for power and privilege, as a means to remind members of the public that the individuals we cast as our super-heroes and super-villains are not superhuman, but simply human: fragile, fumbling, and flawed.
Incorporate was a Semifinalist for the Eugene O’Neill Playwrights Conference 2017. Incorporate has been developed with the support of El Semillero, a playwriting ensemble sponsored by the Chicago Alliance of Latinx Theatre Artists.
Cast: 6 Actors (Any Gender)
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?
Más Cara had a workshop reading at the 2016 Austin Latino Play Festival at Teatro Vivo.
Cast: 10W 3M
***The 50PP List 2017 Selection Committee: Trevor Boffone, Valentina Olarte, Shaun Leisher, Josh Inocéncio, Kayla Boffone