Month: September 2013

  • The River Bride: Time To Send It Out Into The World


    With the press release making the rounds and news of The River Bride being this year’s co-winner of the National Latino Playwriting Award reaching more than just my Facebook friends and Twitter followers, it is now time for me to send my play out into the world. Time to send it to theatres far and wide.

    I have a list of theatres that I will be contacting to send them my play. A list that I think could be longer. Therefore, I am asking for your help, dear reader. Where should I send my play? And, acknowledging that theatres select plays based on aesthetic and audience (among other factors), here is the synopsis of the play.:

    Three days before a wedding a handsome and mysterious man is fished from the Amazon River. Set once upon a time in a small Brazilian fishing village, The River Bride is a tale of true love, regret and two sisters who struggle to be true to each other and their hearts.

    Also, it should be mentioned that The River Bride is the first in a cycle of three fairy tale plays all inspired by Latino folklore. The other two plays are in the works (Wolf At The Door is at a third draft and Alcira is just beginning to take shape on the page).

    So here’s your chance. Tell me where to send my play. Preferably to theatres with an open submission policy as yours truly does not have representation (read an agent).

    And, thank you.


  • My Official Unofficial Recap: Bay Area Latino Theatre Artists’ Potluck Pachanga

    Why unofficial? Because I think there will be more blog posts to come. I imagine those blog posts will muse critically about the gathering and the future of the community of Bay Area Latino theatre artists. This is just my own personal account of my experience.

    First, a bit of background.

    This is not the first potluck.

    There was a smaller potluck with about 10 people invited, eight attended. Almost all of them were actors I know. We gathered in the living room of the flat Hugo Carbajal and Marilet Martinez share for a potluck dinner. I invited them to gather together because over the course of many months I had heard more than one actor I know/love/want to work with tell me that they were considering quitting the Bay Area. That they were considering moving to a city like Los Angeles or Chicago because getting work here in the Bay Area–getting cast in plays–was something they wanted to do full time, but the reality was they were having a hard time getting work.

    These are talented actors. I know. I’ve worked with them, seen them perform. Yet despite their talent they are often only called in (by some theatres) for Latino roles. Meaning, they are not often considered for roles outside their ethnic identity. And if theatres only do a “Latino play” once every few years then the opportunity for work are scant.

    By the way, I put “Latino play” in quotes because what does that mean, any way? That’s a whole other blog post about categories and their confines and who’s doing the defining.

    Anyway, back to the first potluck. I actually had a bit of an idea I wanted to pitch to the artists. A way of working together. But I quickly scrapped my idea as we went around the room to articulate what it is we want from our theatre community. It became very apparent that the majority wanted most to know who was in their community.

    So we ended that first potluck with action item: start a Facebook group. Invite all the Latino theatre artists in the Bay Area we know and tell them to do the same.

    So we did.

    We created the Bay Area Latino Theatre Artists Facebook group. It’s a group specifically for Latino theatre artists who live in the Bay Area. That’s it. To join there’s really only three criteria: 1) You identify as Latino, 2) you are a theatre artist and 3) you live in the Bay Area.

    As the group began to grow, then came our second action item: throw another potluck–a gathering for the entire group and repeat that conversation: what do people want and need.

    So we did.

    Monday I left work with a huge bag full of plates, cups and dinnerware. I didn’t prepare any food for the potluck (sorry, but the back was acting up–you’d be amazed how it affects your life when bending over is accompanied by pain). I figured I’d bring supplies so we wouldn’t have to use anything at the SF Mime Troupe’s space–they were good enough to host, but I wanted to keep their expense at a minimum. P.S. A big thank you to Lisa Hori-Garcia, Mime Troupe collective member, who gave us the space to meet.

    I took the BART and walked down 22nd street looking for a small market I had spotted via Google Map (insert your conflicted feelings about privacy here) so I could pick up something to drink. I made it the front door of the Mime Troupe’s space just as Marilet was arriving.

    Marilet, Lisa and I had discussed earlier how to try and moderate/facilitate the conversation, so we were there early to prep the space. Side note: Both Marilet and I participate in the Yeah, I Said Feminist Theatre Salon that has just celebrated its first year in the Bay Area. We decided to borrow some of their best practices for conversation. In fact, we intend to borrow all the awesome ideas that come out of that group.

    Potluck attendees trickled in a bit at first, but by the time the conversation started going there were 20 plus people in the room–not too shabby for a first-time gathering. There were actors, directors, designers, producers, educators, writers, playwrights and poets. I knew about a third of the people in the room, everyone else was a new connection.

    We went around the room introducing ourselves. Using the same prompt, discussed what we’d like to get out of our theatre community that we aren’t currently getting.

    I took notes. Oh did I take notes. I wanted to document all the aspirations so that we could identify the most common ones so that we can then do something about those needs.

    And I listened.

    I listened as people shared that they didn’t know where they fit in. That they had been told they weren’t “Latino enough” or didn’t feel they could call themselves Latino or couldn’t get cast as a Latino because they were told they didn’t look Latino.

    I heard people wanting to work, but struggling against categories that others were imposing on them. I heard people remembering that 20 plus years ago Latino theatre artists were gathering like this to address issues like the same ones we’re facing…that nothing had changed, but that tonight’s meeting had a different energy–it was fun, charged.

    I learned that there is a lot our past can teach us. We don’t have to reinvent the wheel. We can take the best ideas from our past, from our peers and identify how to achieve a sustainable longevity that keeps Latino theatre artists in community moving forward.

    The last twenty minutes was a sort of free for all. Eating, laughing, talking one-on-one. It was exciting. Loud. And everyone I spoke with told me more with their eyes than anything else. I saw the enthusiasm. I saw the wheels in their minds turning. Turning at the possibility, the endless possibility of what a group of dedicated individuals can achieve.

    We’re doing this again.


    Most likely the format will be more focused so that our next potluck is about talking, but also about doing.

    More soon,

  • The Press Release Has Been…Released

    While Arizona Theatre Company gave the okay a while back for me to share the news, it now feels more official with a press release.

    Marisela Treviño Orta’s The River Bride and Caridad Svich’s Spark as co-winners of the 2013 National Latino Playwriting Award. This is the first time Arizona Theatre Company has acknowledged two winners. Both playwrights will receive a $1000 award in recognition for their work.

    Three days before a wedding, a handsome and mysterious man is fished from the Amazon River. Set once upon a time in a small Brazilian fishing village, Orta’s The River Bride is a tale of true love, regret and two sisters who struggle to be true to each other and their hearts. Orta wrote The River Bride as an installment of a Grimm fairytale-like series she is writing for the stage. She wrote and developed the play while participating in AlterLab. AlterTheater will premiere The River Bride in the fall of 2013.

    The River Bride is a visually striking fairytale infused with lyrical language and steeped in the folklore of the Amazon,” said ATC Playwright-in-Residence Elaine Romero.

    Now I feel able to send The River Bride out to theatres.

    I have a list.

    If you want to be on that list, contact me.


  • Just Saw What Every Girl Should Know


    Last night I joined the Works By Women San Francisco group to go see What Every Girl Should Know by Monica Byrne which is currently up at Impact Theatre in Berkeley.

    Side note: The Works By Women San Francisco is the local chapter of the New York based Works By Women group. The SF chapter organizes a monthly theatre outing to go see work by women playwrights.

    We met for a pre-show dinner in the courtyard outside La Val’s pizza. For the uninitiated, Impact Theatre is located beneath La Val’s and one of the added perks is being able to bring in pizza and beer to a show. So naturally I had myself a couple of slices of pizza.

    The real treat of the evening, aside from the play, was the fact that the playwright Monica Byrne is in town for a few of the shows this week. So after the play we all headed over to Jupiter (the bar, not the planet) for a post-show hangout. This was especially nice for me since I’ve “known” Monica via Twitter for some time now. So getting to meet in the flesh and chat a bit was very nice indeed.

    But back to the play. What’s it about? Well, here’s the synopsis:

    In 1914, four teen girls are thrown together in a New York reformatory. Within the walls of their small room, together they discover their sexuality and personal power as they reveal the horrifying events that led each to that dormitory room. Developing rituals to connect with an unorthodox patron saint, Anne, Joan, Theresa, and Lucy open up an exciting and dangerous realm in which they take on new identities and exact revenge fantasies—while back in their room, a revelation pushes them toward real-life rebellion.

    Abigail Edber, Arisa Bega, and Carlye Pollack

    Bravo to the cast, to director Tracy Ward and to the playwright! And an extra bravo to Impact for producing this play and a great evening of theatre.

    So don’t miss out on this play. It’s getting rave reviews for a reason.

    Get thee to the theatre!

  • Back or Same As It Ever Was

    You perhaps have noticed that the blog looks quite different.

    At the beginning of the month I was in a bit of a panic when Xanga went offline to switch servers. I apparently did not get the memo. So they switched servers and now the backend is basically WordPress.


    Time to move the blog.

    It’s something I’ve been wanting to do for a while and now I am in talks to get an actual proper website up and running. My hope it to transfer the blog over.

    In the meantime, I’m still here.

    But it’s been a good while since I’ve blogged. There’s a lot to catch up on. Here are the highlights.

    I went to Chicago for the opening of the Alcyone Festival at Halcyon Theatre. I got to see the opening performance of my play Heart Shaped Nebula which is in the festival.

    My trip to Chicago was quick. Real quick. I arrived. The next day I got a bit of writing in and then saw my play. Which was good. So good to see after so much time away from it. To see actors on stage, watch the play come to life in their bodies, in the magical space of the stage, the projections, the set, the lights–everything. It was just what this playwright needed.

    The following day I was at the festival again to see four more plays. Yes, four. By the end of the evening my back was a little tired, but I’m glad I saw everything. The festival has a great range or work and style. And kudos to Halcyon for producing another great festival featuring women playwrights. Thank. You.

    While in Chicago I finished (I think) the third draft of Wolf at the Door. Which means I may have time to work on Alcira before the next AlterLab retreat.

    Yeah, I Said Feminist
    The Yeah, I Said Feminist Theatre Salon turned one. I went to the saloniversary this past Sunday, even got up early and made homemade scones. It was so nice to take a moment to reflect on all the good that’s come out of the salon in the past year–the new relationships, collaborations, resources, advocacy and personal change. I am so looking forward to seeing what we accomplish in this next year.

    Submissions Away!
    I’ve gotten quite a few submissions out the door in the past week or so. And there are many more deadlines fast approaching. But thankfully, the workplan is keeping me on track and as soon as a certain announcement becomes more public, I’ll be emailing The River Bride to scores of theatres.

    That’s All Folks…For Now
    Well, that’s kind of what I’ve been up to since the beginning of the month. Oh, did I mention I think there’s a mouse in my house. Yeah, I’m trying to deal with the removal in a humane and non-traumatic (for both me and the mouse) manner. We’ll see how that goes. So far he’s not going for the bait.

    And I’ve been busy this week. But that’ll will have to wait until another post.

    More soon,

    p.s. And now, just because