San Diego Rep Latinx Playwright Profile: Rachel Lynett
Queer Afro-Latinx playwright asks who gets to be a part of Latinidad?
The fifth annual San Diego Repertory Theatre Latinx New Play Festival is next month and Midday Edition is highlighting three of the playwrights. This week: Rachel Lynett.
Lynett's play "Black Mexican" will premiere in a staged reading at this year's festival. The play is an ensemble piece where all of the characters are trying to figure out what it means to be Latino, Latina, or Latinx.
Anger was Lynett's inspiration for writing the play.
"This is not really a spoiler," she said. "The character that everyone is questioning whether she's Cuban or not, she's not. It's really not that big of a spoiler for me to give that away. She is a white woman who feels very attached to the culture. So after Rachel Dolezal [a former college instructor who claimed to be a black woman], I was like, okay, whatever. I don't have time for this."
Lynett specifically sets the play in a city that thinks it is liberal.
"I think that a lot of people when they see plays like this, they're like, 'Oh, that would only happen in the south, or that would never happen in New York,'" Lynett explained. "And it's like, 'Yes, it would. And did, look.' And so I really wanted to emphasize that this is a city that thinks they're liberal because I think liberals like to give ourselves... an out. I'm someone who identifies as a liberal. We like to cheat out. We're like, 'Oh, that's not us. That's them. That's them.' And we don't look at ourselves enough. So I really wanted to say, don't try to put this in a Southern town where they don't know better. No, this is a liberal town where people claim to embrace diversity. And yet this still keeps happening."
Lynett is especially pleased to be part of a Latinx festival.
"It feels really special," she said. "As I mentioned, [Latinx] is an identity I had to fight for. I had to question. My mom used to put Pacific Islander because she didn't know what else to put because she still doesn't really know how she identifies. And so it feels kind of validating."
The festival will take place online and in-person Sept. 3-5.
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
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.