San Diego Rep Latinx Playwright Profile: Nicolas Valdez
Letting an accordion breath life into a play
The fifth annual San Diego Repertory Theatre Latinx New Play Festival is Friday to Sunday and Midday Edition is highlighting three of the playwrights. This week: Nicolas Valdez.
Valdez' play "Conjunto Blues" will be performed at this year's festival.
RELATED: San Diego Rep Latinx Playwright Profile: Rachel Lynett
Nicolas R. Valdez started to play the accordion when the instrument was almost too big for the eight-year-old to hold. But the young Valdez liked the attention he got playing the instrument and being taken around by his proud grandfather to play. Now Valdez pays tribute to his grandfather's generation with a play called "Conjunto Blues."
"The accordion in Conjunto music, I think, really is the soundtrack to the Mexican American working class experience of the 20th century," explained the playwright.
RELATED: SD Rep Latinx Playwright Profile: Daniella DeJesus
Valdez showed how the accordion can breath and for his play the instrument becomes a character.
"The accordion allowed people to come together and celebrate through all of their struggles and traumas," Valdez said. "We're able to create these places where they could reinforce cultural values and speak in their own language and practice all those important rights of passage, like birthdays and weddings and funerals. And so it was really fundamental, I think, in creating a Mexican American identity."
Valdez has been developing the play for seven years through workshops and performances that allow him to test the material out and perform it in front of audiences for feedback. The play has been evolving and will receive a spotlight performance at this year's SD Rep Latinx New Play Festival.
The festival will take place online and in-person Friday through Sunday.
This year's festival will be held in the Conrad Prebys Aztec Student Union Theatre, which is made available to the festival through San Diego State University and is part of SD Rep’s partnership with SDSU.
Latinx New Play Festival 2021 Schedule
Friday, Sept. 3
• 4 p.m. Directing panel
• 5 p.m. "Black Mexican" by Rachel Lynett
• 7 p.m. Opening reception
Saturday, Sept. 4
• 11 a.m. Designer showcase
• Noon "(trans)formada" by lily gonzales
• 2 p.m. Dramaturgy panel
• 3 p.m. "Get Your Pink Hands Off Me Sucka and Give Me Back" by Daniella De Jesús
• 6 p.m. "Conjunto Blues" spotlight performance, by Nicolas R. Valdez
• 7:30 p.m. Reception
Sunday, Sept. 5
• 11 a.m. Historical Context Panel
• Noon: Local project panel
• 1 p.m. "A Skeptic and a Bruja" by Rosa Fernandez
• 3 p.m. Closing playwrights panel