Sin Muros: A Latinx Theatre Festival
January 31 - February 3, 2019
In February 2019, Stages will celebrate the range of Latinx voices and stories reflecting the diversity of local Texas communities. The second annual Sin Muros will include Alex Alpharaoh’s solo show WET: A DACAmented Journey and developmental workshop readings of new plays by Texas playwrights Georgina Escobar, Jasminne Mendez, and Beto O’Byrne. The festival weekend will be filled with public events for audiences and local theatre-makers, including workshops and networking opportunities.
Special thanks to our event partner Armandos
Thursday, January 31
6:00pm Welcome reception
7:00pm Welcome words and Award Presentation of the Premio Puente (The Bridge Award)
7:30pm WET: A DACAmented Journey
7:30pm The River Bride
Friday, February 1
8:00am-4:00pm Professional Development Day for High School Teachers
5:00-8:00pm Tintero Projects
7:30pm Poetry Reading
8:00pm Play Reading - Then They Forgot About the Rest
8:00pm The River Bride
Saturday, February 2
11:00am Workshop: Casting in the New Era, led by Brian Eugenio Herrera
1:00-8:00pm Inprint Poetry Buskers
2:00pm Poetry Reading
2:30pm Play Reading - City Without Altar
2:30pm The River Bride
4:00pm Talkback with Festival Playwrights: Alex Alpharaoh, Georgina Escobar, Jasminne Mendez, and Beto O’Byrne
5:00pm WET: A DACAmented Journey
7:30pm Poetry Reading
8:00pm Play Reading - The Corrido of the San Patricios
8:00pm The River Bride
9:30pm Late Night Party - Sin Muros After Dark
Sunday, February 3
11:00am Workshop: Pop Up Playwriting, led by Nancy Garcia Loza and Isaac Gomez
2:30pm WET: A DACAmented Journey
2:30pm The River Bride
WET: A DACAmented Journey
written and performed by Alex Alpharaoh
Directed by Brisa Areli Muñoz
WET: A DACAmented Journey is a true story of what it means to be an American in every sense of the word except one: on paper. Written and performed by Alex Alpharaoh, the show chronicles his ongoing struggles and fight to remain in the only home he has ever known, the United States. WET captures one man’s relentless journey toward becoming a documented citizen.
Alpharaoh, a social worker who knows firsthand the mental, emotional and psychological hardship of this unending process, risks his own freedom to share his story in this nationwide tour. The production—which rockets between hilarity and heartbreak—will instantly humanize the headlines and take audiences inside the realities of striving for a better life under the extreme conditions of living life as a political football.
Alex Alpharaoh is an award-winning stage and film actor, writer, director, producer, spoken word artist, solo performer, and teaching artist from Los Angeles. He has performed in various venues and open mics throughout Los Angeles, including Da Poetry Lounge, Sunday Jump, Washington D.C.’s Busboys and Poets, and New York’s renowned Nuyorican Cafe. As a teaching artist, Alpharaoh teaches a highly popular Fundamentals of Spoken Word and Performance Poetry class, advising individuals how to connect with their deeper selves, using their words and expressions as a form of healing.
Alpharaoh is the creator of SP!T: Spoken Word Theatre, a series he originally developed at Urban Theatre Movement, where he is a founding member. He went on to produce a full run of Hollywood Fringe’s 2015 world premiere of his spoken word play Don’t Talk About It, SP!T About It at the CASA 0101 Theater in the summer of 2016. SP!T continues to grow in popularity, including a special one-night performance that was part of Da Poetry Lounge’s 1st Annual L.A. Get Down Festival this past April.
Then They Forgot About the Rest
by Georgina Escobar
Directed by Rebecca Rivas
It's the not-to-distant future in the US Southwest. An ad agency, The Rest, struggles to stay afloat in a new competitive media market. Known as a "prescribed burn" agency, their clients mostly consist of "Giants" and specifically those called PG-13's (Pharma Giants for Teens). As they get ready to accept their new brief, "Alleviate" or 'the forgetting pill' the members of the agency question the moral hinges of selling this drug, all the while a bereaved mother undergoes trial for the same drug that's eager to hit the market. A frontier futura funk piece with elements of noir, this southwest femmetasia brings back beloved characters from Escobar's other plays like "Sweep" keeping true to the author's vision to make of every play a universe within a larger opus.
Georgina Escobar is a NYC based playwright and devised theatre director via Ciudad Juárez. Her plays have been called "Chic-Burton," "Frontera Funk," and "Beckettian.. She seeks to define a novo Latinx/Wabi Sabi aesthetic and often directs and devises her own work. Her plays have been seen and developed at INTAR, Dixon Place, The Flea, Lincoln Center, Clubbed Thumb, Governor’s Island, Milagro Theatre, Aurora Theatre, Duke City Rep, Marfa Live Arts, The Magic, The Lensic, and others. Professional development includes the Djerassi Playwright’s Initiative, MacDowell Colony Fellowship (upcoming), the Fornés Writing Workshop, the Kennedy Center’s National Theatre for Young Audiences Award, The Lit Associate gig at the O’Neill, and more. She is the finalist for the 2016 National Latino Playwriting Award. Some of her plays include Bi-(be), The Beacons, Sweep, The Ruin, All Strings Considered, Death and the Tramp, The Unbearable Likeness of Jo, Semity, & Jones, Ash Tree, and The Circuz. Collaborations include A Ribbon About A Bomb, Quixote: On the Conquest of Self, Firerock: Pass the Spark (formerly known as Coal). georginaescobar.com
Rebecca Rivas is an Assistant Professor in UTEP’s Department of Theatre and Dance, where she teaches Voice and Movement, Acting, Dialects and Accents as well as Musical Theatre. Rebecca just finished directing this season's production of The House on Mango Street and Old Scrooge in the department's holiday production of Humbug & Sugar Plum. She is a co-founder of the department’s annual Chican@/Latin@ Theatre Series, where her play Colitas de Rana was produced this May. Other directing credits include Labyrinth of Desire, Esperanza Rising, The Arabian Nights, Electricidad & Alicia in Wonder Tierra. Her El Paso acting credits include Frontera Repertory Theatre’s one-woman show Highway 47 and Grace Note. When she is not teaching at UTEP, Rebecca often works with the regional professional company, TheatreSquared, appearing as Carly in Reasons to be Pretty, The Ding Dong and in a wide array of roles in their annual New Play Fesitvals. She is a native El Pasoan. She holds an MFA from the University of Arkansas.
City Without Altar
by Jasminne Mendez
Directed by Alex Meda
In City Without Altar, Socorro, a Dominican-American scholar wants to learn more about her grandmother’s hidden past. Socorro’s grandmother has already passed when the play begins, and Socorro has found her grandmother’s childhood journal. The journal entries are the gateway to Socorro’s scholarly research and to better understanding the dangers her family has left behind. His grandmother's family fled during the Haitian Massacre of 1937, a massacre that killed anywhere from 12,000 to 30,000 Haitians along the northern border region of the Dominican Republic and Haiti. Through a series of choreo-poems, monologues in verse, and vignettes from the past and present, Socorro learns the horrors of the massacre and its lasting effects on survivors and victims. This is a story of crossing borders, finding strength, surviving loss, and starting over.
Jasminne Mendez is an award winning author, performance poet, actress, and educator. Mendez has performed her poetry in venues all around Houston, including the MFAH, Rice and the Alley Theatre. She has shared the stage with respected writers and poets, notably, Sandra Cisneros and Natalie Diaz. Mendez has been published both nationally and internationally and her first multi-genre memoir Island of Dreams (Floricanto Press, 2013) was awarded Best Young Adult Latino Focused Book by the International Latino Book Awards in 2015. She also recently won the COG Poetry Prize for her poems "Run, Irelia, Run," "Bounty," and "Return to Water." The judge, Major Jackson described Jasminne as a poet who "possesses a sense of the poem as sacrament and language hammered into song. One feels a passionate search for lineage and the sensuous turning of thought and imagery that leads to sanctuaries of silence and reverence." Her second book Night-Blooming Jasminne: Personal Essays & Poems (Arte Publico Press) is forthcoming in April 2018. She is the Co-Founder and Program Director of the Houston based Latino literary arts organization Tintero Projects and a co-host to the poetry and writing podcast series InkWell a collaboration between Tintero Projects and Inprint Houston.
Alexandra Meda is a director/deviser, cultural producer, and artist-activist that currently serves as the Artistic Director for Teatro Luna: America’s All Latina/All Women of Color Theatre Company. In 2014, in preparation for it 15th anniversary season, Meda launched a west coast arm of Teatro Luna based in Los Angeles as a start to an experiment in the field of ensemble practice: can you build ensemble in a national sense, in multiple sites with a variety of entry points for artists, and how can all of this be sustainable over time? This experiment is in its second year, and currently Luna incubates ensemble and new work in both Chicago and Los Angeles, offers year round educational programming to its varied communities, and tours internationally with performances and cultural programs. Luna is hoping to open a New York branch in 2018.
The Corrido of the San Patricios
by Beto O’Byrne
Directed by Kinan Valdez
Originally commissioned by Watts Village Theatre Company, and currently in development in collaboration with Radical Evolution Performance Collective and El Teatro Campesino, this play uses a blend of traditional “teatro styles” devising techniques, and original source material to dramatize the story of Los San Patricios, Irish/American immigrants who defected to the Mexican Army during the Mexican American War. Utilizing era appropriate musical styles and a variety of theatrical techniques, this play uses this forgotten history to explore the themes of immigration, citizenship, and what happens when people follow their conscience to actively disrupt political systems.
Beto O’Byrne is a writer and creative artist from the pine forests of East Texas and the co-founder of Radical Evolution, a multi-ethnic, multi-disciplinary producing collective based in Brooklyn, NY. The author of 20 plays, screenplays, and original tv pilots, his works have been produced in San Antonio, Austin, Los Angeles and New York City. His most recent theatrical production, Loving and Loving, was produced by Radical Evolution and the Harold Clurman Lab Theatre in Summer 2017 in New York City.
His commissions include works for 52nd St. Project, The Foundry Theatre, The Movement Theatre Company, and Watts Village Theater Company, and the Stella Adler School of Acting. O’Byrne has been a resident artist at numerous organizations, including New York Theatre Workshop (2050 Fellowship), the Stella Adler School of Acting (playwright-in-residence), the Texas Black and Latino Playwriting Festival, INTAR’s Maria Irene Fornes Hispanic Playwrights in Residence Laboratory, Lincoln Center Theater’s Director’s Lab, and Tofte Lake Arts Center Emerging Artists Residency.
Kinan Valdez is a 20-year ensemble member of El Teatro Campesino (ETC). Born and reared in the collective milieu of the famed social justice theater company, Kinan currently serves as ETC’s Producing Artistic Director. His accomplishments as a leader of the 49 year-old company have been a three-fronted effort: Preserving ETC’s expansive theatrical traditions and methodologies for new generations; developing the “Teatro Lab” – an experimental new works laboratory; and building an extensive educational theater program that reaches the underserved and marginalized communities of rural central California.
Casting in the New Era: A Conversation about the History of Casting - February 2, 11:00am
How did contemporary casting practices come into being? How did actors become freelancers? Do you know the sordid history of the headshot? How has casting changed in the internet era? Why do casting controversies figure so prominently in discussions about race, gender and sexuality in contemporary theatre? Drawing upon his ongoing research for his book-length study of the topic (Casting, A History), performance historian Brian Herrera will invite questions from those assembled to guide a lively interactive discussion about the history of casting in US popular performance. This conversation aims to press the critical, creative and historical understanding of casting beyond familiar zero-sum measures of good/bad, success/failure or right/wrong so as to cultivate an appreciation of casting as a dynamic repertoire of performance techniques, practices and conventions ripe for experimentation, innovation and revision.
Brian Eugenio Herrera is Associate Professor of Theater in the Lewis Center for the Arts at Princeton University. His work, both academic and artistic, examines the history of gender, sexuality and race within and through U.S. popular performance. He is the author of The Latina/o Theatre Commons 2013 National Convening: A Narrative Report (HowlRound, 2015) and his first book Latin Numbers: Playing Latino in Twentieth-Century U.S. Popular Performance (Michigan, 2015) was awarded the George Jean Nathan Prize for Dramatic Criticism. He is presently at work on two new book projects: Starring Miss Virginia Calhoun, a narrative portrait of a deservedly obscure early 20th century actress/writer/producer, and Casting - A History, a historical study of the material practices of casting in US popular performance.
Poetry tent in courtyard prior to readings
The Sin Muros Poetry Tent hosted by the Latinx Literary Organization Tintero Projects will feature a variety of local literary organizations, performance poetry teams, publishing houses and book sellers. At the tent you can expect to find Inprint poetry buskers writing poems "on demand" in English or Spanish; the oldest Latino literary publisher in the country Arte Publico Press selling books in fiction, poetry and memoir; Writers in the Schools hosting creative writing activities for teens and young adults; and live poetry readings by local poets from various slam teams and performance groups, including Barrio Writers, Fuente Co. and many others.
Poetry Buskers by Inprint Houston
Inprint writers will write you a poem on any topic while you wait!
Pop-up Playwriting Workshop - Sunday, February 3 - 11:00am
Chicago-based, Latinx playwrights Nancy García Loza and Isaac Gomez will host a workshop for writers interested in expanding their creative skills in developing stage plays. Writers should come prepared with pages from works in progress to present for feedback from Garcia Loza, Gomez, and their peers.
Nancy García Loza is a pocha playwright rooted in Chicago & Jalisco. She co-launched and participates in ALTA Chicago’s El Semillero: Latinx Playwrights Circle since 2014. Her inaugural play, MACHA: a pocha sister story, was a 2017 finalist for the Theater on the Lake In The Works: New Play Commission and recently appeared on Steppenwolf’s The Mix list. Her work has appeared in the Chicago Theatre Marathon, Peacebook Festival (Collaboraction & Goodman), Black Ensemble Theater (a Community Fighting the Ism's), Joe’s Pub at The Public (NYC), Encounter Festival (Collaboraction & Theater on the Lake), Paula Vogel’s National UBU Bake-Off (Victory Gardens), New Works Lab Festival (Breath of Fire Latina Theatre Ensemble - CA), Theatre Nuevo (St. Louis), ALTA El Semillero’s Public Reading Series of New Work (Victory Gardens), Broken Nose Theatre's Bechdel Fest with Steppenwolf's Lookout Series, Something Marvelous, Chicago Dramatists, and more. In 2018, she enjoyed residencies at: Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s Black Swan Lab, SPACE on Ryder Farms (Brewster, NY), HBMG Foundation National Winter Playwrights Retreat (Creede, CO), SWARM Residency (Indiana), and the Fornés Playwriting Workshop ('17, '18).
She is a 2018-20 Chicago Dramatists Tutterow Fellow (commissioned for 19/20 season), an Artistic Associate with 16th Street Theater, an Artistic Associate with Teatro Vista, and 16th Street Theater’s NNPN Producer In Residence for the upcoming season. Beyond playwriting, she serves as the Co-Creative Director of The Alliance of Latinx Theater Artists in Chicago (ALTA). In 2018, she was recognized in TCG’s American Theatre Magazine Roll Call Series: 6 Theatre Workers You Should Know. She is the recipient of ALTA Awards in: Outstanding Solo Performance, as well as, The Luis Alfaro Leadership Award.
Isaac Gomez is a Chicago-based playwright originally from El Paso, Texas/Ciudad Juárez, Mexico. His play La Ruta will receive its world premiere at Steppenwolf Theatre Company this fall. He is currently under commission from South Coast Repertory, Goodman Theatre, Actors Theatre of Louisville (Acting Apprentice New Play Commission), The Theatre School at DePaul University (Cunningham Commission for Youth Theater), Sideshow Theater Company, Steep Theatre, Albany Park Theater Project and StepUp Chicago Playwrights. His plays have been supported by Steppenwolf Theater Company, Primary Stages, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Goodman Theatre, Victory Gardens Theater, Northlight Theatre, Albany Park Theater Project, WaterTower Theater, Haven Theater, Teatro Vista, Greenhouse Theater Center, Jackalope Theater Company, Pivot Arts, Definition Theater Company, Broken Nose Theater, Stage Left, The VORTEX and Something Marvelous. He is the recipient of the 2017 Jeffry Melnick New Playwright Award at Primary Stages, an inaugural 3Arts “Make A Wave” grantee, a member of the 2017/2018 Goodman Theatre’s Playwrights Unit, co-creative director at the Alliance of Latinx Theatre, a resident playwright at Chicago Dramatists, an artistic associate with Victory Gardens Theater, ensemble member with Teatro Vista, artistic associate with Pivot Arts, artistic curator for Theater on the Lake 2018/2019, a steering committee member of the Latinx Theatre Commons (LTC) and a core producer with the Jubilee. He is a professional lecturer at The Theatre School at DePaul University and is represented by The Gersh Agency and Circle of Confusion.
Theatre Teacher Professional Development Day - Friday, February 1, 8:00am - 4:00pm
Stages Repertory Theatre and the Sin Muros Latinx Theatre Festival invite Houston area Middle and High School Theatre Teachers to participate in the Sin Muros Professional Development Day for Theatre Teachers. This one-day interactive professional day will provide teachers with a hands-on focused arsenal of tools to develop their Latinx theatre pedagogy skills and create culturally-responsive curriculum.
In addition to a performance of The River Bride, the day will include performances by artists participating in the Sin Muros Festival, discussions, and performance workshops. For a detailed schedule, click here!
Attendance is FREE, but advanced registration is required. Lunch will be provided and attendees will receive a certificate for their 8 hours of PD.