Latino New Play Festival

Stories you haven't heard

Cardidad Svich
Cardidad Svich

In one sense, new plays are old news in Austin. Local theatre companies have been spotlighting work by hometown playwrights for more than 30 years, and for half that time, new plays have constituted more than a quarter of the work produced on area stages every year. However, when you consider that only a small fraction of those Austin originals have come from writers of color and that Teatro Vivo – one of a handful of companies that consistently mount new works by Latino writers – only launched its festival devoted to such writers last year and that that inaugural festival attracted standing-room-only crowds to its staged readings of three plays, well, it's clear that new plays are still making news here.

This weekend, Teatro Vivo follows up on that initial success with another trio of dramas fresh from the keyboards of Latino playwrights. For the second round, Artistic Director Rupert Reyes sought scripts from beyond the state's borders as well as inside them and made room specifically for younger voices. As a result, this festival includes work by a University of Texas student, Arthur Marroquin, and a nationally prominent writer known to local audiences: Caridad Svich, who's had three plays staged by Salvage Vanguard Theater. The third slot is filled by another familiar name: Raul Garza, author of Fantasmaville, which was produced by Teatro Vivo, and Dos Pocitos, which was read in the first Latino New Play Festival before its full production last summer. All three focus on women in working-class families in small towns, and themes of motherhood, class struggle, and faith overlap in the works. But don't expect the same tale thrice told. These playwrights possess distinctive voices and will surely spin quite different dramas from those common elements.

What you can expect is more room for hearing the plays. After last year's overflow houses, Reyes has shifted the readings from the Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center's 80-seat black box theatre to the 150-seat mainstage space. However, since all the readings are free, it might not hurt to go ahead and reserve yourself a seat at All readings are at 8pm at the Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center, 600 River. At right is a brief description of the plays.

Rosalia by Arthur Marroquin Thursday, April 5

Weslaco native Marroquin, who's currently studying acting in the UT Department of Theatre & Dance, based this drama about a young woman from Jalisco, Mexico, on his mother. Growing up poor, the Rosalia of the title dreams of a better life for herself and her family. But how will marrying a man from the U.S. affect those dreams and the direction of her life? Rupert Reyes directs.

Cura by Raul Garza Friday, April 6

After cutting his teeth on sketches with the Latino Comedy Project, Garza hit big with his first play, Fantasmaville, which won the 2007 National Latino Playwriting Award. His Dos Pocitos imagined a future South Texas as a lawless no-man's-land. In Cura, he returns to the border but this time to look at one small-town woman's faith, which is being tested by a young man who may be the curandero of legend, el Niño Fidencio. Estevan "Chuy" Zarate directs.

Guapa by Caridad Svich Saturday, April 7 Where do you go after spending four generations in Chile, tracking one family through personal and social turmoil? How about a working-class home in a small Texas town where a woman named Beautiful dreams of playing soccer? Svich follows her adaptation of Isabel Allende's The House of the Spirits (which earned her the 2011 American Theatre Critics Association Primus Prize) with the tale of a single mom whose household becomes home to Guapa – Beautiful – and turns into a place where dreams must contend with realities. Natalie Goodnow directs.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 36 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Teatro Vivo
Teatro Vivo's <i>Enfrascada</i>
Teatro Vivo’s Enfrascada
Tanya Saracho's dark comedy about moving on from heartbreak is staged with humor, honesty, and magic

T. Lynn Mikeska, Sept. 15, 2017

Teatro Vivo's <i>EL</i>
Teatro Vivo’s EL
Raul Garza's new play explores the power of the storyteller

Roxanne Schroeder-Arce, Sept. 23, 2016

More by Robert Faires
Zach Theatre's <i>Hedwig and the Angry Inch</i>
Zach Theatre's Hedwig and the Angry Inch
This revival gives the trans singer's identity crisis a punk lullaby with rockin' style

Feb. 22, 2019

In Memoriam: Gina Lalli
In Memoriam: Gina Lalli
Pioneer of Indian classical dance in Austin dies at age 89

Feb. 19, 2019


Latino New Play Festival, Teatro Vivo, Rupert Reyes, Caridad Svich, Raul Garza, Arthur Marroquin, Mexican American Cultural Center

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Updates for SXSW 2019

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle