As a dramatist, I specialize in creating and directing new ensemble based work, but I also have a soft spot for solo pieces. Here are some of my favourite projects:
DOPE: 420 Stories About Pot, Weed, Kush, Prisons, Parents and People
From a confusing grade-school D.A.R.E program to a woman busted crossing the border with a gas tank packed with marijuana, Free Street Theatre’s DOPE follows the life of a joint from seed to eventual consumption. The piece is fast, funny, and unapologetic, and offers a critical investigation of the politics surrounding the USA’s most controversial drug.
Created and produced with the youth (age 13-19) at Free Street Theatre. April 25-May 4, 2012.
Check out a short promo video: Free Street\’s DOPE
(Available for TOURING!)
Unnatural Spaces explores questions of environmental justice and urban living with humour and generosity. As one woman lies awake wondering if her father-in-law would ever trade carne asada for tofu, another wonders if the dime bags littering her front lawn are recyclable, and another reclaims her dignity after being thrown in the trash. A jaded engineer plots his way off “the grid,” while his immigrant father chides him for abandoning it all. And through it all, Pink Slime struggles to find a backbone.
Created with the Poetry Performance Incubator at The Guild Complex and produced in collaboration with Voice of the City at the Hairpin Arts Center, October 5-28, 2012. Click HERE for a short documentary about the process!
(Available for TOURING!)
The Americans is an original ensemble-driven piece that explores a simple question with no clear answers: What does it mean to be An American? As immigration becomes an increasingly heated subject of debate in the United States and a growing Tea Party movement seeks to redefine the scope of the Constitution, this question has never been more urgent… or more divisive. Based on interviews and conversations with over 200 people in 10 states, The Americans is an open and generous look at how diverse individuals define being American during a time of national crisis.
Workshopped with Halcyon Theatre at the DCA Incubator in September 2011 and presented for a 5 show workshop run with Voice of the City at The Arts Center, Logan Square-Avondale.
My take on the play Fashion, written in 1845 by Anna Cora Mowatt, created for Halcyon Theatre’s Alcyone Festival. This year, Halcyon asked 6 contemporary female playwrights to adapt scripts written by women before 1850. I chose this one because I’m obsessed with fashion, because I’m obsessed with what it means to be obsessed with fashion, and because I thought it would give me an excuse to cast (and subsequently hang out with) lots of stylish people. Read this awesome review of the show!
Produced by The Guild Complex at the Chicago Center for the Performing Arts
December 2-18, 2010 and at The Arts Center, Logan Square -Avondale October 7-November 4.
The inaugural show from the Guild Complex’s Poetry Performance Incubator, Tour Guides offers a lyrical tour of life in Chicago, from the different styles of catcalling employed across the city to the invisible remnants of toxic spills. Written and performed by ten poets from ten different neighborhoods in the city, this is an ensemble piece that blows a BIG HUGE KISS to the city we love. Available for touring!
Nation of Cowards
Multi-Cited Performance Process.
Inspired by Attorney General Eric Holder’s 2009 speech in which he called the United States a “nation of cowards,” afraid to have honest conversations about race, I began traveling to colleges, universities, and community organizations to facilitate performance/writing workshops that aim to start conversations about the racial dynamics specific to each place. Here’s an example, from a piece I developed with students at DePaul University: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EC7MW_7ockM Want to bring me to your school or organization? Email me!
Manual for a Desperate Crossing by Maria Irene Fornes
Produced by Halcyon Theatre
January [?], 2010
Maria Irene Fornes originally wrote this as an opera, which was performed (much to her dismay) under the title Balseros! In this version, I adapted her libretto as the script for a bilingual ensemble choreopoem about rafters adrift at sea. The fabulous choreographer and movement director Esteban Andres Cruz helped me make it beautiful.
Produced by Teatro Luna
November-December 2007 @ Chicago Dramatists; January-February 2008 @ 16th Street Theatre
Based on interviews with over 100 men, and performed by an all-Latina cast in drag, Machos asks what it really means to “be a man.” Machos won the 2008 Non-Equity Jeff Awards for Best New Work and Outstanding Ensemble Performance, and will be included in the forthcoming anthology Blacktino Queer Performance.
Bitter Ole Hag (solo)
Produced by Teatro Luna as part of their production Solo Tu.
Written in verse, this 20-minute solo piece is a lyrical and wryly funny snapshot of the 4 years I spent trying to get pregnant. I don’t want to brag or anything, but the Chicago Reader called it “terrific.” Available for touring!
The Drag King Rooftop Karaoke Hootchie Cootchie No Name Show and Musical Latin Extravaganza (created with Michelle Campbell and Tamara Roberts)
January 2004 @ Northwestern University
This is such an old project but I loved it so! Created with Michelle Hayford and Tamara Roberts, it is a campy reinvention of the musical I love to hate! This project is once a parodic critique and a loving homage to the 1961 filmic version of W[title] S[censured] S[on the advice of our lawyer], marking our attempts to reconcile the queer joy we take in WSS’s ballet dancing gangs, homoerotic male bonding, and fierce proto-dyke tomboys with the undeniably racist ways in which the film portrays the Puerto Rican characters and structures the Jets (the “white” gang) as the heroic protagonists in the play.
Other works include: S-e-x-Oh! (co-created/directed with Tanya Saracho for Teatro Luna), The Maria Chronicles (ditto), Solo Tu (ditto), Dejame Contarte (ditto, except directed by Alexandra Lopez), Generic Latina (ditto, except directed by Aarati Kasturirangan); Quita Mitos (by Tanya Saracho, directed by me) and Surface Day (ditto); Malleus Maleficarum (solo performance adapted from a 15th century witch hunting manual); and White Girls (solo performance).