In the American theatre space, the Latinx narrative reflected on stage can tend to revolve around narrow topics like the “border” or “disaster” play. While shedding light on the ongoing crisis on the Mexican-American border and the aftermath of natural disasters like Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico are narratives deserving of attention, these stories can overly narrow the breadth of Latinx experiences in the United States. Teatro Chelsea’s new Latinx play festival, A-Típico, aims to showcase and expand the focus on underrepresented Latinx stories. The festival also looks to present universal stories: not Latinx plays but plays by Latinx playwrights.
Offering creative space for Latinx artists to grow and express their work, A-Típico will feature a selection of English/Spanish/Bi-lingual full-length plays and a night of short plays presented online in the style of a workshop: The scripts will be read by professional actors and the company of actors and audience will then be able to share feedback with the playwrights to help them in the development of their work.
The festival, running from April 9-17, will be run by Teatro Chelsea’s Artistic Associate Carla Mirabal Rodríguez with Program Director Armando Rivera. Ms. Mirabal, a director, actor, and theatre artist from San Juan, Puerto Rico, first joined Teatro Chelsea to assistant direct their production of Melinda Lopez’s Sonia se fue. She is a recent graduate of Northeastern University where she received a BA in Theatre Performance, and she is the theatre advisor at The Newman School in Boston.
Ms. Mirabal is passionate about theatre as a tool for social change and deeply believes in improving the theatre industry in terms of equity and representation.
“With the A-Típico: New Play Festival, we want to turn the focus to Latinx voices and stories that don’t usually garner the national spotlight. Latinx cultures are beautiful, joyful, and diverse. We want to develop work where we are able to see every part of ourselves represented, rather than only instances of pain, suffering, and trauma. This is not to say that these are not realities in many Latinx communities, but rather to show that we are so much more as well. This festival strives to highlight these stories and ensure that they are developed.”
Teatro Chelsea received 46 submissions from across the United States and Latin America and will announce March 17th on their website and social media those scripts chosen to be a part of the festival!
Information on how to log on and view the festival will be posted at: www.teatrochelsea.com.
Up next for Teatro Chelsea: El Camino II over Memorial Day Weekend. Teatro Chelsea produced their first El Camino (or “The Walk”), over Halloween weekend. Original bi-lingual Halloween-themed vignettes were performed in storefront windows in downtown Chelsea allowing for spectators to enjoy theatre in a Covid-safe way. The surprise and enjoyment of watching window performances has proven to be more than just a Covid-era substitute for traditional theatre, but an exciting way in its own right to share the art form.
The upcoming El Camino II will revolve around the theme of celebration and connection, sharing stories about the cultural bridges that are built when an immigrant makes Chelsea their home.
Teatro Chelsea celebrates Latin cultures, showcases and fosters local talent, builds community in Chelsea through arts engagement and collaboration, and is establishing a hub for Latin artists in the Boston metropolitan area. Teatro Chelsea creates theatre at the crossroads of languages, cultures, and histories that make up the Latin experience, and seeks to amplify and honor the voices that speak to these unique experiences.
Teatro Chelsea is supported by MassDevelopment’s TDI Creative Catalyst Grant.