San Diego Rep rolling out third annual Latinx New Play Festival for Labor Day Weekend

Celebration of developing works at downtown theater includes four readings, performance of ’57 Chevy’ and more


In its short history, San Diego Rep’s Latinx New Play Festival has proved a potent theatrical showcase, with two works going on to full local productions locally: Tony Meneses’ “Guadalupe in the Guest Room” at New Village Arts last year, and Rep resident playwright Herbert Sigüenza’s “Bad Hombres/Good Wives,” which the downtown company will premiere in October.

Now the festival rolls around for a third year, with readings of four plays plus a special staging of “57 Chevy” starring Ric Salinas, Siguenza’s fellow Culture Clash co-founder, and a lineup of “surround” events.

Hosted by Amigos del Rep, the fest celebrates newly minted, English-language works by Latinx playwrights (“Latinx” is the gender-neutral term for Latino/Latina) from around the country.

Here’s a look at what’s on the way come Labor Day Weekend. (Quoted descriptions were provided by the Rep.)

“Dream Hou$e” by Eliana Pipes (directed by Maria Patrice Amon), 7:30 p.m. Aug. 30: “‘Dream Hou$e’” follows two Latinx sisters on an HGTV-style show who are selling their family home, hoping to capitalize on the gentrification in their changing neighborhood.

“As they perform for the camera, the show starts to slip into the surreal: One sister grapples with turmoil in the family’s ancestral past and the other learns how much she is willing to sacrifice for the family’s future. A play exploring the cultural cost of progress in America.”

“To Saints and Stars” by Jordan Ramirez Puckett (directed by Santiago Iacinti), 1 p.m. Aug. 31: “‘To Saints and Stars’” is a full-length play about the intersection between science and faith. It follows the lifelong friendship of Sofia, a NASA astronaut, and Zoe, the wife of a Greek Orthodox priest.

“Sofia and Zoe have been friends since they were children and not a day has passed where they have not seen or spoken to each other. Their lives and friendship are changed forever when Zoe becomes pregnant with her first child and Sofia is chosen for the first manned mission to Mars.

“As the day of Sofia’s departure to Mars and Zoe’s due date approach, their relationship becomes more strained as each woman is forced to re-evaluate what she has prioritized in her own life, and the indelible impact they have had on each other.”

“Aztec Pirates and the Insignificance of Life on Mars” by David Davila (directed by Juliana Kleist-Mendez), 4 p.m. Aug. 31: “Johnny Montenegro is an ICE agent trying to put back the pieces of his life after an ugly incident in the field got him suspended from duty. While arresting a man he had already deported two years earlier, he was called a traitor to his race and he beat the accuser half to death, but he couldn’t shake the idea that had been planted within him: Was he a traitor to his race?

“Johnny embarks on a search for the truth about his country, his culture, and his memory. But with every answer he finds, something inside of him becomes less clear. His quest to clear his conscience leads him from strip bars to courtrooms to hospitals to morgues, as he seeks the validation he needs.”

“Laughs in Spanish” by Alexis Scheer (directed by Jesse J. Perez), 2 p.m. Sept. 1: “It is Art Basel and the stakes are high for the gallery Mariana runs in the Wynwood Arts District in Miami. And when Mariana’s movie-star mother tries to help out, things get muy complicado.

“‘Laughs in Spanish’ is a fast-paced, cafecito-induced comedy about art and success and mothers and daughters and learning to love the people we can’t change.”

“57 Chevy” by Cris Franco (directed by Valerie Dunlap), 7 p.m. Aug. 31: “It is 1964 and 10-year-old Junior is in crisis: His Old World Mexican dad is loading the 1957 Chevy and moving the entire familia from their familiar and diverse East Side neighborhood to a new tract home in the middle-class and eerily homogenous San Fernando Valley.

“This one-man memory play, from Emmy Award-winning writer-comedian Cris Franco, humorously explores the baby boomers’ generation of double immigrants who first moved from their homelands to the U.S. barrios in search of opportunity, then moved up into the suburbs in search of color TV and the middle-class American dream!”

Latinx New Play Festival

When: Aug. 30 to Sept. 1 (see individual entries for performance times)

Where: San Diego Repertory Theatre, 79 Horton Plaza, downtown

Tickets: Suggested donation of $10 for readings; $20 for “57 Chevy.” Festival passes are $30 (before fees), and include tickets to all four readings and “57 Chevy,” plus access to a VIP Reception at 6:30 p.m. Aug. 31.

Phone: (619) 544.1000