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Festival FlyerSouth Texas College (STC) Theatre & Dance will host their 2nd annual South Texas Latinx New Play Festival. The festival will be held Thursday, June 22 through June 24 at STC’s Cooper Center for the Performing Arts at 3200 W. Pecan Blvd. in McAllen.

The event showcases new plays written by Latinx playwrights throughout the US. Three plays out of thirty submissions were selected by a committee consisting of playwrights, theatre artists, and STC faculty & staff as festival finalists with five others selected as semifinalists. The intent of the event is to cultivate new plays which speaks to the Latinx perspective and experience.

The three plays will have a staged reading of their play during the festival and directed by a theatre director along with a cast from the Rio Grande Valley. Each play will have a talkback with the playwright, director, and cast after the reading.

“We are excited to have the festival return for another year,” said Theatre & Dance Department Chair Joel Jason Rodriguez. “It is amazing to see the momentum the festival has gained since last year. Folks have stories to tell and work to share. More importantly, the plays being written speak to us and our life experiences. Representation matters.”

The festival is scheduled for June 22nd - 24th. The event will showcase three plays written by Diego Lanao, Baylee Shlichtman, and Orlando F. Rodriguez. Their plays are:

Friday, June 23, 2023 – 4:00 PM
Before We Focus On Others
By Diego Lanao
Directed by Julissa Rodriguez

Synopsis: Carlos Santiago is a marriage and relationship counselor who uses his corny humor to defuse tense situations. His intelligent and thoughtful observations are key towards his current couple in therapy who are at each other's throats after a disastrous wedding anniversary. But when he discovers that his own strong-willed wife of 22 years, Lucinda Santiago, is seeking a divorce - his whole world takes a complete 180. With the insistence of their two children, Juan Manuel and Rita, the couple reluctantly force themselves to seek counseling from an unbiased perspective. During their time with Dr. Anvi Laghari, it becomes quite clear that there are several harbored emotions between the couple. These feelings ultimately transfer within the Santiago family as they all express their disdain over each other's current faults. Carlos attempts to balance his clients' therapy sessions with his own as exhaustion catches up. His overall joking personality slowly deteriorates as Lucinda re-thinks her stance over their relationship. Both individuals have taken a look at their relationship from a different lens. Which ultimately propels the couple to ask themselves the main question: How much love do they have left for each other after using it, first and foremost, towards themselves?

Saturday, June 24, 2023 – 2:00 PM
The House of Flightless Birds
By Baylee Shlichtman
Directed by Tracy Sanchez

Synopsis: When undiagnosed autistic Manuel tosses a wish to a satellite to make him feel less alone, an injured sparrow crashes from the heavens into his apartment patio. Manuel takes the bird inside to nurse it back to health in secret from his family, but all does not go according to plan. A play about masculinity and care.

Saturday, June 24, 2023 – 4:00 PM
Burritos Pa’ Morir
By Orlando F. Rodriguez 
Directed by Luis Moreno

Synopsis: Loving couple Ivonne and Claudio own a burrito shop, but now that the corporate chain Serrano's moves next door, owning a small business is proving to be MURDER. Also, they're serial killers who use their victim's bodies for meat in their burritos, but it's ok cause they're delicious!

In addition to the three staged readings, festival participants receive admission to the premiere of Brownsville native José Manuel Pereyra’s play, Somewhere in the Miles. Mr. Pereyra’s play was a part of South Texas Latinx New Play Festival last Summer and was selected to be produced as a live staged production at the event..

In Somewhere in the Miles, Eddie’s life is rapidly changing; Alonzo’s life is as stagnant as ever, and their mother, Anselma, just found out her estranged sister from Mexico is dying, and it’s been twenty years since she’s been in the country. That’s not stopping her, though. She’ll do whatever it takes to make peace, and her sons will do whatever it takes to make sure she gets there safely, even if none of them know what they’re really doing.

“When José’s play was read at last year’s festival, it resonated very strongly with the audience. We had to produce his play,” said Joel Jason Rodriguez, the Theatre & Dance Department Chair. “The festival offers an avenue for new stories to be told that reflect who we are and plays an important role in the publishing process for the playwright.”

Festival passes cost $10 and include admission to all three staged readings and a performance of Somewhere In The Miles. Festival passes can be purchased online at www.southtexascollege.edu/go/theatre.   

For additional information about the show, call (956)872-2301 or email jleal5@southtexascollege.edu.

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