2022 Austin Latinx New Play Festival!

Teatro Vivo is proud to announce the plays for the 2022 Austin Latinx New Play Festival!

The 2022 Austin Latinx New Play Festival (2022 ALNPF), presented with dramaturgical support from ScriptWorks, to be read live at the Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center (MACC) in Austin, TX April 7th – 9th, 2022.

Celebrating it’s 12th year, the Austin Latinx New Play Festival unites playwrights and audience members in conversation about four new play readings that bring insight into the Latinx experience. The staged readings are workshop-style presentations. After each reading, the playwright and director participate in talkback sessions with the audience. Though the productions have Latinx roots, they explore cross-cultural age-old themes and modern dilemmas that will surprise, challenge, engage and push the dramatic envelope for audience members accustomed to one-way conversations at the theater.

Featured Plays

“A River, Its Mouths” by Jesús I. Valles
Synopsis: Struggling with severe depression, You return to Your hometown in Texas, right by the river that raised You, right on that border. It’s the summer of 2019 and the Rio Bravo keeps claiming migrants during their perilous crossings. However, the people in Your hometown are entranced by “The Rio Grande mermaid,” a creature rumored to haunt the river as the dead bodies of Border Patrol agents begin to appear in the desert, desiccated. Old magics are clawing their way out of the water, into the air, into Your head. You’ve come home to make sense of Your little life, but the river insists on itself, haunting the mouths of family, friends, and strangers. Something in the water calls to You. “Come,” the river says, “Come to me.” Something in You listens. 

Playwright: Jesús I. Valles (they/them) is a queer Mexican immigrant, educator, storyteller, and performer from Cd. Juarez/El Paso. Jesús is a 2021 CantoMundo fellowship recipient at the Palm Beach Poetry Festival, a 2019 Lambda Literary fellow, a 2019 Walter E. Dakin Playwriting Fellow of the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, a recipient of the 2019 Letras Latinas Scholarship from the Community of Writers’ Poetry Workshop, and a poetry fellow at Idyllwild Arts Writers Week. Jesús is also a 2018 Undocupoets Fellow, a 2018 Tin House Scholar, a fellow of The 2018 Poetry Incubator, and the runner-up in the 2017 Button Poetry Chapbook Contest. Their work has been published in The Shade Journal, The Texas Review, The New Republic, Palabritas, The Acentos Review, Quarterly West, The Mississippi Review, Palette, The Adroit Journal, BOAAT, The McNeese Review, and PANK. Their poetry has also been featured on NPR’s Code Switch, The Slowdown, The BreakBeat Poets’ LatiNext Anthology, and the Best New Poets 2020 anthology. As an actor, they are the recipient of four B. Iden Payne Awards, including Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama (2018), and Outstanding Original Script (2018) and they were nominated for the Mark David Cohen New Play Award for their play, (Un)Documents. They most recently starred as Penny Marshall in Victor I. Cazares’ Pinching Pennies with Penny Marshall: Death Rituals for Penny Marshall for New York Theatre Workshop. Jesús is currently OUTSider festival’s OUTsider-in-residence and an MFA playwriting student at Brown University.

“Becoming Lucy” by Karina Billini
Synopsis: Lucia de los Santos has traded her strict homeland, The Dominican Republic, for little “Russia by the Sea”— Brighton Beach, Brooklyn. And only one thing seems to make her happy: watching “I LOVE LUCY” re-runs for the irresistible Lucille Ball. Soon enough, Lucia only goes by “Lucy,” only wears her hair in a bright red updo, and is in a constant pursuit for fame and the American Dream. But money and men keep getting in her way—there’s  Ramon, her Puerto Rican Ricardo and Maxim, a Russian janitor turned Lucia fan.  A poetic and lifelong exploration of what it means to be an immigrant woman trying to be seen in a country larger than life.

Playwright: Karina Billini is a Dominican-American playwright, poet, and teaching artist from Brooklyn. She began playwriting at the age of 15 where her first play, Hidden Poetry, was recognized by NYC Young Playwrights. Karina completed her undergraduate degree in playwriting at Marymount Manhattan College (2011) and received her MFA in Playwriting from The New School for Drama (2018.) She is a proud alum of the Ensemble Studio Theatre’s Youngblood, Pipeline PlayLab, Gingold Theatrical Group’s Speaker’s Corner, among others. She is a recent recipient of the 2021 Sloan Foundation commission where she will be writing a play about the dangers of the Brazilian Butt Lift on the Latinx community. Billini has been a finalist for the NYTW 2050 fellowship, Lark’s New Voices Fellowship, Barrington Stage’s Bonnie and Terry Burman New Play Award, and the Alliance Theater’s Kendeda National Graduate Playwriting Competition (2019.) Her plays have been workshopped and/or produced at Williamstown Theatre Festival, Cherry Lane Theatre, Secret Theatre, Modern Day Griot Theatre Co., among others. Her poetry has been published in Burningword Magazine, Huizache Magazines, scissor & spackle, among others. She is the proud daughter of a wonderful poet, Rafaela Castillo.

“When the Earth Moves, We Dance” by Nelson Diaz-Marcano
Synopsis: At the beginning there was nothing in the Caribbean, then prakata y fuakata, Atabey created Puerto Rico. But that was then, now Atabey is missing, Puerto Rico is dying, and Pepito can’t find the perfect beat for his song. That’s why Rosa was woken up by the spirits with a mission, find the creator, save the island. Join Rosa and a ragtag group of Boricua folktale characters as they venture into the magical lands of Puerto Rico and New York City hoping to give their home a fighting chance against an evil like no other.

Playwright: Nelson Diaz-Marcano is a Puerto Rican NYC-based theater maker, advocate, and community leader whose mission is to create work that challenges and builds community. He currently serves as the Literary Director for the Latinx Playwright Circle as well as the Community Outreach Coordinator for Atlantic Theater Company. His plays have been developed by Pipeline Theatre Company, Clubbed Thumb, The Lark, Vision Latino Theater Company, The Orchard Project, The William Inge Theatre Festival, Classical Theatre of Harlem, and The Parsnip Ship among others. Recent credits include: Y Tu Abuela, Where is She? Part 1 (Vision Latino Theater Company) When the Earth Moves, We Dance (Clubbed Thumb,) Flor: A Podcast Series (Braata Productions,) The Diplomats (Random Acts Chicago,) Paper Towels (INTAR,) Misfit, America (Hunter Theatre Company,) I Saw Jesus in Toa Baja (Conch Shell Productions) and Revolt! (Vision Latino Theatre Company.)

“On the Eastside” by Marissa Castañón-Hernandez
Synopsis: On the Eastside, set in Austin, Texas, in the Spring of 2019, tells the story of a lively Mexican-American family living East of Interstate 35. As the family navigates gentrification and long-standing systemic issues, an incident with law enforcement changes their lives. Things can never be the same.

Playwright: Marissa Castañón-Hernandez is a Theatre Arts educator, artist and advocate for equity in education. She was raised in Austin and as a young adult, worked at her parents’ store, El Porvenir, located on Santa Rita Street on the Eastside. Marissa’s professional teaching experience has been predominantly in Austin schools located on campuses East and West of IH35. She hopes that On the Eastside serves to inspire change by shining a light on the systemic inequities that still exist in Austin and the challenges facing first generation students of color. 

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This project is supported in part by the Cultural Arts Division of the City of Austin Economic Development Department and the Texas Commission on the Arts.

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