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WET a DACAmented Journey with Alex Alpharaoh
WET a DACAmented Journey with Alex Alpharaoh
Photo by Youthana Yuos

The Latinx Festival Continues at Stages Repertory Theatre

Even before last year's inaugural Sin Muros: A Latinx Theatre Festival was over, organizers were already working on plans for this year. First year attendance was "beyond our dreams," says this year's festival coordinator Trevor Boffone and the normal theater audience at Stages Repertory Theatre was bolstered by a lot of younger people in their 20s and more minorities.

This year, Boffone led a programming task force that included Stages Artistic Director Kenn McLaughlin, Philip Boehm, Bernardo Cubría, Josh Inocencio, Jasminne Méndez, Lupe Méndez, Laura Moreno, Ana Scuseria and Claudia Soroka. It was very important to Stages, he said, that this effort not be dictated by Stages but continue to be a result of Stages working with people in the community. The results of their efforts are about to be unveiled starting January 31.

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"What we tried to do was take the same model we used last year and improve it; what were the lessons we learned in terms of the flow of people and what worked well schedule wise. What events were popular," says Boffone who is also in the Department of Hispanic Studies, Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies Program at the University of Houston.

"Brian Herrera is coming back to do the casting in the new era workshop which was one of the things — he volunteered to come after Harvey because he wanted to meet the local community and he was such a big success that we had to do it again. And the same with the pop-up playwriting workshop."

"Stages is truly showing this is not just a one-off. It's really a way this organization is really rethinking the fabric of who they are," Boffone says. "They're building a model that's more inclusive and more in touch with Houston's communities."

The plays being read and performed at the theater at 3201 Allen Parkway, don't fit the usual Houston mold, Boffone says. "A lot of times historically in Houston you see stories about Mexican-American people, Chicanos and it's very much about political struggles or immigration. We have five different stories that are all happening that are all radically different."

"This is not just for the Latinx community to see themselves represented. and to engage in art making," he adds. "That's half of the goal. The other half is to bring in allies and white people and people who are not Latinx so they can really have an opportunity to learn about something that isn't their own experience."

And Houston is a very appropriate place to undertake an outreach like this, he says. "Especially now you have the one of the largest demographic groups in Houston is the Latinx population. There are  over a million in the area. If we look at the stories on Houston stages you don’t see representation. You have the occasional play here and there but by and large there's not a lot happening."

Still, he says, he's seen signs of change in more Houston theaters doing more diverse work and is encouraged by that, he says.  He believes Stages is in the forefront of a change still in its earliest stages.

Here is the complete Sin Muros Festival schedule:

Thursday, January 31
6 p.m. Welcome Reception
7 p.m. Welcome Words and Award Presentation of the Premio Puente Award (The
Bridge Prize)
7:30 p.m. WET: A DACAmented Journey by Alex Alpharaoh, directed by Brisa Areli
Muñoz
7:30 p.m. The River Bride by Marisela Treviño Orta
Friday, February 1
8 a.m. – 4 p.m. Professional Development Day for High School Teachers
5-8 p.m. Tintero Projects | Poetry Tent
7:30 p.m. Poetry Reading
8 p.m. Play Reading- Then They Forgot About the Rest by Georgina Escobar, directed
by Rebecca Rivas
8 p.m The River Bride by Marisela Treviño Orta
Saturday, February 2
11 a.m. Workshop: Casting in the New Era – A Conversation about the History of
Casting, led by Brian Eugenio Herrera
1-8 p.m. Inprint Poetry Buskers | Poetry Tent
2 p.m. Poetry Reading
2:30 p.m. Play Reading – City Without Altar by Jasminne Mendez, directed by Alex Meda
2:30 p.m. The River Bride
4 p.m. Q&A with Festival Playwrights: Alex Alpharaoh, Georgina Escobar, Jasminne
Mendez, and Beto O’Byrne
5 p.m. WET: A DACAmented Journey by Alex Alpharaoh, directed by Brisa Areli
Muñoz
7:30 p.m. Poetry Reading
8 p.m. Play Reading – The Corrido of the San Patricios by Beto O’Byrne, directed by
Kinan Valdez
8 p.m. The River Bride by Marisela Treviño Orta
Sunday, February 3
11 a.m. Workshop: Pop -Playwriting, led by Nancy Garcia Loza & Isaac Gomez
2:30 p.m. WET: A DACAmented Journey by Alex Alpharaoh, directed by Brisa Areli
Muñoz
2:30 p.m. The River Bride by Marisela Treviño Orta

REGIONAL PREMIERE
WET: A DACAmented Journey

Written and performed by Alex Alpharaoh
Directed by Brisa Areli Muñoz
WET: A DACAmented Journey is a true story of what it means to be an American in every sense of
the word except one: on paper. Written and performed by Alex Alpharaoh, the show chronicles his
ongoing struggles and fight to remain in the only home he has ever known, the United States. WET
captures one man’s relentless journey toward becoming a documented citizen. A social worker who
knows firsthand the mental, emotional and psychological hardship of this unending process, Alpharaoh
risks his own freedom to share his story in this nationwide tour. The production – which rockets
between hilarity and heartbreak – will instantly humanize the headlines and take audiences inside the
realities of striving for a better life under the extreme conditions of living life as a political football.
Alex Alpharaoh is a Los Angeles-based award-winning stage and film actor, writer, director, producer,
spoken word artist and teacher who has performed in various venues and open mics throughout LA,
New York and Washington, D.C. Alpharaoh teaches the highly popular Fundamentals of Spoken Word
and Performance Poetry class and is the creator of SPIT: Spoken Word Theatre, a series he originally
developed at Urban Theatre Movement where he is a founding member.

Performance Times for WET: A DACAmented Journey are Thursday, January 31 at 7:30 p.m.,
Saturday, February 2 at 5:30 p.m. and Sunday, February 3 at 2:30 p.m.
Tickets for WET are $20, or $9 for students.

PLAY READINGS
Then They Forgot About the Rest

by Georgina Escobar
Directed by Rebecca Rivas
It's the not-to-distant future in the US Southwest. An ad agency, The Rest, struggles to stay afloat in a
new competitive media market. Known as a "prescribed burn" agency, their clients mostly consist of
"Giants" and specifically those called PG-13's (Pharma Giants for Teens). As they get ready to accept
their new project, "Alleviate" or 'the forgetting pill,' the members of the agency question the moral
hinges of selling this drug that is eager to hit the market, all the while a bereaved mother undergoes
trial on its effects. A frontier futura funk piece with elements of noir, this southwest femmetasia brings
back beloved characters from Escobar's other plays like Sweep, keeping true to the author's vision to
make every play a universe within a larger opus.

Georgina Escobar is a New York City-based playwright and devised theatre director from Ciudad
Juárez. Her plays have been seen and developed by INTAR, Dixon Place, The Flear, Lincoln Center,
Clubbed Thumb, Governor’s Island, Milagro Theatre and many more.
Then They Forgot About the Rest reading will be held Friday, February 1 at 8 p.m.
Tickets are FREE, though guests must register online to attend.

City Without Altar

By Jasminne Mendez
Directed by Alex Meda
In City Without Altar, Socorro, a Dominican-American scholar wants to learn more about her recently
deceased grandmother’s hidden past. As the play begins, Socorro has found her grandmother’s
journal. The journal entries are the gateway to Socorro’s scholarly research and to better understanding
the dangers her family has left behind. His grandmother’s family fled during the Haitian Massacre of
1937, an event that killed anywhere from 12,000 to 30,000 Haitians along the northern border region of
the Dominican Republic and Haiti. Through a series of choreo-poems, monologues in verse, and
vignettes from the past and present, Socorro learns the horrors of the massacre and its lasting effects
on survivors and victims. This is a story of crossing borders, finding strength, surviving loss, and
starting over.

Jasminne Mendez is an award-winning author, performance poet, actress and educator from Houston
who has performed her poetry in venues all around the city including the Museum of Fine Arts,
Houston, Rice University and the Alley Theatre. She has been published both nationally and
internationally, and her first multi-genre memoir Island of Dreams (Floricanto Press, 2013) was
awarded Best Young Adult Latino Focused Book by the International Latino Book Awards in 2015.
Mendez is the Co-Founder and Program Director of the Houston-based Latinx literary arts organization
Tintero Projects and a co-host to the poetry and writing podcast series InkWell, a collaboration between
Tintero Projects and Inprint Houston.

City Without Altar reading will be held Saturday, February 2 at 2:30 p.m.
Tickets are FREE, though guests must register online to attend.

The Corrido of the San Patricios
by Beto O’Byrne
Directed by Kinan Valdez
Originally commissioned by Watts Village Theatre Company, and currently in development in
collaboration with Radical Evolution Performance Collective and El Teatro Campesino, The Corrido of
San Patricios uses a blend of traditional “teatro styles” devising techniques and original source material
to dramatize the story of Los San Patricios, Irish/American immigrants who defected to the Mexican
Army during the Mexican American War. Utilizing era appropriate musical styles and a variety of
theatrical techniques, this play uses this forgotten history to explore the themes of immigration,
citizenship, and what happens when people follow their conscience to actively disrupt political systems.
Beto O’Byrne is a writer and creative artists from East Texas and the Co-Founder of Radical
Evolutionm, a multi-ethnic, multi-disciplinary producing collective based in Brooklyn, NY. The author of
20 plays, screenplays and original TV pilots, his works have been produced in San Antonio, Austin, Los
Angeles, and New York City. O’Byrne has been a resident artist at numerous organizations, including
New York Theatre Workshop, the Stella Adler School of Acting, the Texas Black and Latino Playwriting
Festival, INTAR’s Maria Irene Hornes Hispanic Playwrights in Residence Laboratory, Lincoln Center
Theatre’s Director’s Lab and Tofte Lake Arts Center Emerging Artists Residency.

The Corrido of the San Patricios reading will be held Saturday, February 2 at 8 p.m.
Tickets are FREE, though guests must register online to attend.

WORKSHOP
CASTING IN THE NEW ERA: A CONVERSATION ABOUT THE HISTORY OF CASTING

How did contemporary casting practices come into being? How did actors become freelancers? Do you
know the sordid history of the headshot? How has casting changed in the internet era? Why do casting
controversies figure so prominently in discussions about race, gender and sexuality in contemporary
theater?

Drawing upon his ongoing research for his book-length study of the topic, acclaimed performance
historian Brian Herrera returns for the second year at Sin Muros and will invite questions from those
assembled to guide a lively discussion about the history of casting in US popular performance. This
conversation aims to press the critical, creative and historical understanding of casting beyond familiar
zero-sum measures of good/bad, success/failure, or right/wrong so as to cultivate an appreciation of
casting as a dynamic repertoire of performance techniques, practices, and revision.

Herrera is Assistant Professor of Theatre at Princeton University, where he examines the history of
gender, sexuality, and race within and through US popular performance. He is the author of The
Latina/o Theatre Commons 2013 National Convening: A Narrative Report, and his first book Latin
Number: Playing Latino in Twentieth-Century U.S. Popular Performance was awarded the George Jean
Nathan Prize for Dramatic Criticism.

Casting in the New Era Workshop will take place Saturday, February at noon.
Participation is FREE and space is limited. Register online at stagestheatre.com.

POP-UP PLAYWRITING WORKSHOP
Chicago-based Latinx writers Nancy Garcia Loza and Isaac Gomez will host a workshop for writers
interested in expanding their creative skills in developing stage plays. Writers should come prepared
with pages from works in progress to present for feedback from Garcia Loza, Gomez and their peers.
Nancy Garcia Loza serves as the Co-Creative Director of the Alliance of Latinx Theatre Artists (ALTA),
and since its launch in 2014 she has participated in ALTA’s Chicago Latinx Playwrights Circle: El
Semillero. Her inaugural play, MACHA: a pocha sister story, received commendation as a finalist for the
Theater on the Lake in the Works: New Play Commission (2017). As a storyteller, she has made her
stage debut last year with pieces performed at Collaboraction, Steppenwolf, and Victory Gardens
Theater.

Issac Gomez is a professional lecturer at The Theatre School at DePaul University, and his play La
Ruta is about to receive its world premiere at Steppenwold Theatre Company on December 13. His
previous plays have been supported by Primary Stages, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Goodman
Theatre, Victory Garden Theater, Northlight Theatre, Albany Park Theater Project, and Teatro Vista,
among many others. He is the recipient of the 2017 Jeffry Melnick New Playwright Award at Primary
Stages, a member of the 2017/2018 Goodman Theatre’s Playwrights Unit, co-creative director of the
Alliance of Latinx Theatre, a resident playwright at Chicago Dramatists, an artistic associate with
Victory Gardens Theater, and a steering committee member of the Latinx Theatre Commons (LTC).

Pop-Up Playwriting Workshop will take place on Sunday, February 3 at 11 a.m.
Participation is FREE and space is limited. Register online at stagestheatre.com.

POETRY TENT
The Sin Muros Poetry Tent hosted by the Latinx literary organization Tintero Projects will feature a
variety of local literary organization, performance poetry teams, publishing houses and book sellers. At
the tent, audiences can expect to find Inprint poetry buskers who will write poems “on demand” in
English or Spanish, the oldest Latino literary publisher in the country Arte Publico Press selling books
in fiction, poetry and memoir, Writers in the Schools hosting “make and take” creative writing activities
for teens and young adults, and live poetry reading by local poets from various slam teams and
performance groups including Barrio Writers, Fuente Co. and others.

THE RIVER BRIDE
by Marisela Treviño Orta
Directed by Jerry Ruiz
JANUARY 23 – FEBRUARY 10, 2019
Two sisters in a Brazilian fishing village struggle to find their own happily-ever-after while bound to
family honor and tradition. Helena is in love with her sister Belmira’s betrothed; meanwhile Belmira only
wants to excape the Amazonian river life for an exciting adventure in the city. Days before the wedding,
a mysterious stranger is pulled from the river, offering a tantalizing future that may change both their
lives. Brazilian folklore and lyrical storytelling combine to weave a magical tale of love, fate and
transformation.

The River Bride premiered at the 2016 Oregon Shakespeare Festival and is part of a cycle of fairy tales
author Marisela Treviño Orta is writing, inspired by Latino folklore and mythology.

Performance times are Wednesdays – Thursdays at 7:30 p.m, Fridays at 8 p.m., Saturdays at 2:30 p.m.
and 8 p.m., and Sundays at 2:30 p.m.

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