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San Diego REP And Amigos Del REP Host Third Latinx New Play Festival

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San Diego REP and Amigos del REP hold the Third Annual Latinx New Play Festival at the Lyceum Space Theatre this weekend.

Show transcript

Speaker 1: 00:00 The San Diego Rep and Amigos Dell Rep will hold the third annual Latin x new play festival at the lyceum space theater beginning Friday. KPBS archery, porter bath DACA Amando speaks with Jordan Ramirez pocket about her play to saints and stars that will have a staged reading on Saturday.

Speaker 2: 00:18 Your play to saints and Stars is one of the plays being produced here as part of this Latin x new play festival. First of all, tell me what the play's about. So the play is about two lifelong friends. One is pregnant with her first child and the other is going on the first man mission to Mars. And so it's about female friendship over a lifetime and how our lives can take drastically different paths. Seriously. But maybe you should play the helpless girl card. Not just say that I did and I stand by it. You're a bad feminist. I'd rather be that than someone who lets her principles get in the way. [inaudible] even I'm being told to abandon my principals by the wife of a priest. I'm not saying do anything immoral, but sometimes as women we have to be flexible. And how's that working out for you?

Speaker 2: 01:08 I'm very happy with where I am. Oh, perfect wife, perfect life. I wouldn't go that far. Yeah. And what problems did you have to deal with today? Trust me, I had my share. And what inspired you to tackle this story? I often joke that if the main character were a playwright instead of an astronaut, it would be an autobiography. It's a sort of dedicated to my lifelong friend. You know, I'm at that age where a lot of my friends are having children. Um, and as someone who is not having children, uh, this was sort of my way of, of dealing with my feelings around that. I think. And I think it's something [inaudible] that a lot of women can relate to. And this isn't your first play, but you've talked about the fact that you deal with similar themes about non romantic love in your place.

Speaker 2: 01:56 Yes, absolutely. I think that the love between a chosen family, people that you choose to spend your life with as friends and the love between a parent and a child or between siblings is just every bit as powerful as romantic love. And I'd like to see more of that on stage. So I'm writing it now part of a festival where the plays are given staged readings. So for people who may not know what that is, explain what they can expect from this. Absolutely. So we have, you know, significantly less rehearsal time than you would see in a regular production. I think we have about 20 hours a week and a main stage might have a hundred hours over the course of a couple months. And basically the actors will have scripts in hand the whole time. And what's great about that for me is I plan on making changes to the play throughout the week as we're working on the script, developing it with the actors, getting the actors feedback, the Dramaturg, the director.

Speaker 2: 02:55 And so I might be making changes to the script. Same an audience it. Um, so for the actors to have that written in, they can actually implement the changes, but they will be rehearsed and so they'll have sort of the emotional truth behind it, even if they're reading the words off the page. And for a playwright, what does a stage reading do for you in terms of in the evolution of a play? What does this kind of serve a purpose for and how does that help you to kind of move the play forward? I believe that the most important character in any plays the audience, and you don't get a sense of that when you're alone in your room meeting the play on a computer screen or even if you get a bunch of friends together and just read it in your living room, you need a live breathing audience to go, oh, okay.

Speaker 2: 03:39 That's a laugh line. I didn't realize it was a laugh line. Great. The actors should note a pause there. Oh, that was supposed to be a laugh line and no one got it. I guess I need to rewrite that and retool it. It's really informative to know what's working and what's not. And you only get a sense of that by being in the room. And so it's a way for theaters to help a playwright test material out before you're the big stakes of getting it. I'm a full production and you have reviewers coming to opening night, you are a playwright, but you didn't start in theater as a playwright. So how, what was this kind of process, this journey to being a playwright? Yeah, I, I've always loved theater. Um, I've loved the idea of a live audience and live actors in the same space together.

Speaker 2: 04:23 You know, laughing together, crying together, breathing together. Um, so I thought, oh, I should be an actor. And when I was in high school and I was terrible at it, truly horrible. Uh, and I went to college and thought, okay, acting's not for me, but let me try stage management. I like, I'm very organized I think. And um, but that didn't give me enough sort of creativity. So I've done lighting, design, costume production management. I've sort of dabbled in a lot of different things before really being able to spend my time on playwriting, which is I love, part of what this is about too is there's this discussion of science and faith also comes into play, not just to women who are taking different paths. So how does that play out? I consider myself [inaudible] a person of faith, but I also deeply value scientific contributions and I think a lot of times I see them put at odds with one another.

Speaker 2: 05:14 Either you believe in God or you believe in science. So I was really interested in exploring that through these two women. One is sort of representative of faith and one is representative of science and so what happens when they're working together versus what happens when they're fighting with each other as sort of the world is much better if we work together. So I was interested in exploring that through these two characters. Now this is going to be part of this Latin x playwright project. How does your cultural background come into play in the play or in terms of this festival? I'm half Chicana, half white. And so Sophia, the lead is also Chicana and white and she does very subtly is dealing with what that means in terms of what people expect from her, how people want to identify her versus how she identifies herself and what it's like to be a woman of color as an astronaut.

Speaker 2: 06:11 And I think that her story is really important to see women of color in roles that we don't traditionally see them in. So yeah, I'm really excited to be working on this for the Latinex festival and being part of this larger festival. Do you also appreciate how all these playwrights are very different and kind of giving different perspectives on what being Latin x means? Absolutely. I'm so excited to see the other plays in the festival this weekend. Um, I think it's really wonderful that we're all going to be, uh, in a lineup together, but I haven't read the other plays yet, but what I've read from the Synopsys, you know, we're all tackling it in very different ways and I think that's so important that the Latinex community is so huge in terms of cultural diversity. What countries, you know, everyone comes from and their background and lived experiences.

Speaker 2: 07:07 And it's not, we don't all look alike. We don't all sound alike. We don't all have the same background and experiences. And I'm really excited that multiple perspectives are going to be represented this weekend. And what are you hoping people will come away from this play thinking about? I always hope that my players make someone want to pick up the phone and call a loved one. You know, I really hope that it inspires them to look at the relationships that they have in their lives and, and remember the people that they care about and to reach out to them. Um, I think we could all use a little bit more of that. Alright, well, I wanna thank you very much for talking about your play. Absolutely. Thank you. And that was bad luck. Amando speaking with playwright Jordan Ramirez pocket, the third annual San Diego Rep Latinex play festival takes place this Friday through Sunday at the lyceum space theater.

Speaker 3: 08:01 Ooh.

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Maureen Cavanaugh and Jade Hindmon host KPBS Midday Edition, a daily radio news magazine keeping San Diego in the know on everything from politics to the arts.