Teatro Chelsea set out to find plays by Latinx playwrights that capture Latinx narratives on the edge of the spotlight, those stories not often told. From 46 submissions, Teatro Chelsea chose six “a-típico” plays—four full-length and two one-acts— that will leave audiences with jaws dropped, hearts full, and feeling artistically refreshed. The lineup features plays that are in English, Spanish, and bi-lingual.
The stories all vary greatly in subject, theme, setting, and their exploration of human nature: a relationship counselor whose marriage is on the brink, the struggles of a recently released inmate, an openly gay man living unashamed in Ecuador, a support group for alien abduction survivors, the relationship between an autistic astrophysicist and her estranged niece, and a transgender teen coming out to their immigrant family as Hurricane Harvey rages outside.
“Getting the chance to produce work where Latinx people are simply living their day to day lives feels revolutionary,” says Festival Director Carla Mirabal. “This festival means a lot to me as a Puerto Rican theatre artist. During the selection process, these works made me, and a group of other Latinx readers, feel seen. Working on this project has also enabled us to connect with Latinx people living all around the United States and Latin America. If there is a silver lining to theatre going virtual, it’s getting the chance to work with incredible people we otherwise might not have met.”
The playwrights are based in New York, Florida, and Boston, including playwright Alicia Margarita Olivo who is a part of Company One’s C1 PlayLab Circuit Volt Lab. The plays will be read by professional actors, joining from across the U.S, and then the company and audience will have the chance to share feedback with the playwrights to help them in the development of their work.
For more information, and to register to join the online festival running, April 9, 10, and 15-17, visit www.teatrochelsea.com
All readings are free, with a $10 suggested donation.
The festival schedule is:
April 9, 7pm: Before We Focus on Others by Diego Lanao (Bilingual)
April 10, 7pm: Malas Mañas by Alejandra Ramos Riera (Spanish language)
April 15, 7pm: Anormales by Fernando Vieira (Spanish language) and SAA (not that one) by Luis Roberto Herrera (English language)
April 16, 7pm: Binary Star by Guadalupe Flores (English language)
April 17, 7pm: Flood by Alicia Margarita Olivo (Bilingual)
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.