La Jolla Playhouse has announced the lineup for their 2023 Latinx Play Festival. The San Diego theatre will present four new works by Latine playwrights from across the country from October 27 through October 29. This year's festival will feature Apple Bottom, by Karina Billini, The Invocation of Selena, by Jessi Realz, The Jersey Devil Is a Papi Chulo, by Iraisa Ann Reilly, and Manning, by Benjamin Benne.
The Latinx Play Festival originally launched in 2016 at San Diego Repertory Theatre, aiming to expand the presence of Latine stories and artists on the American stage. The festival is free for audiences to attend and will consist of in-person readings, panel discussions, and other events. La Jolla Playhouse received over 90 play submissions for this year's festival, from which these four were selected and workshopped:
Karina Billini's Apple Bottom follows two women amidst a plastic surgery procedure—Brazilian butt lifts—sweeping the wallets of the women of Miami and the the staff at the post-BBL recovery house, Apple Bottom Spa. When humble Andrea, and social media influencer Belinda arrive as new patients, Apple Bottom Spa struggle to keep both women and the house afloat. Amelia Acosta Powell directs the new play.
Sketch-comedy-meets-cabaret-club show The Invocation of Selena explores how cultural icon Selena Quintanilla Pérez continues to inspire and motivate Latine people, particularly women and the LGBTQIA community. Jessi Realz and Marilet Martinez's new work features character monologues, drag, choreographed dance numbers, audience participation, moments of song, and more. Cambria Herrera is at the helm.
Benjamin Benne's Manning encapsulates the grief of three men as they develop a communal vocabulary to collectively express their mourning. After the death of his mother, Freddy and his father, Julio, spread her ashes in the garden, and a giant zucchini sprouts overnight. Freddy calls his older brother Sebastian home to witness the vegetable, and also help take care of their father Julio, who seems to have lost the will to live. Cat Rodriguez directs the new play.
Iraisa Ann Reilly's comedic, bilingual, post-quarantine play The Jersey Devil Is A Papi Chulo features five American-Latina friends embark on a camping trip in the Pine Barrens of New Jersey. There they encounter two white “papi chulos” ("hotties"). The boys hatch a plan inspired by reality television in order to determine which of the femme-fatales they will save from deportation through marriage. But will the boys be able to save the women from The Jersey Devil? La Jolla Playhouse’s 2023/24 Artist-in-Residence Dr. Maria Patrice Amon directs.
For more information, visit LaJollaPlayhouse.org.