South Coast Repertory's third annual "Festival Latino" begins with Rick Najera's Latinologues. The festival runs through Aug. 9 in Costa Mesa, CA.
"Festival Latino" is an annual three weekend celebration of Hispanic theatre, also including ¡Viva Carnival!-- this year's "Una Noche del Teatro" (a night of theatre), as well as The Hispanic Playwrights Project, producing professional readings of plays by the three Latino playwrights who won the SCR annual contest.
Rick Najera's Latinologues is a collection of vignettes which take a comic look at Latino life in contemporary America. Latinologues was a popular hit for "Latino Laugh Festival" on the cable network Showtime.
Najera is a co-founder of the comedy group "Latins Anonymous", and has been a staff writer on "In Living Color", "The Robert Townshend Show" and "Culture Clash." Bringing these vignettes to life will be a cast of stage and film veterans. Among them are Yareli Arizmendi (Like Water for Chocolate), Maria Canals (Mi Familia), Mario Lopez ( TV's Saved by the Bell), Ada Maris (TV's Nurses), comedian Carlos Mencia, Esai Morales (La Bamba), and Tony Plana (Several films, SCR's Rum and Coke).
Five performances of Latinologues occur July 17-20. "The great benefit of Una Noche del Teatro is that our community comes together in an air of positivism and purpose, experiences great artists, and leaves behind funding that will have an impact in our neighborhood, children and national playwrights," said SCR Trustee, Dr. Pablo Prietto, chairman of the annual event Una Noche del Teatro, a performance and party consisting of comedy, music, theatre and dance.
The Honorary Chairman of the July 26 event is actress/comedienne/ singer Liz Torres. The evening's line-up will be a special celebrity enhanced version of Latinologues. All funds raised from the event will benefit SCR's Hispanic Playwright Project and Neighborhood Conservatory, a program of free afterschool theatre for at-risk youth.
The festival concludes with the 12th Annual Hispanic Playwright's Project, in which three contest winning plays are workshopped for three weeks. Winning playwrights Jorge Ignacio Cortinas, Joann Farfas, and Octavio Solis will each work with Hispanic directors, dramaturgs and actors to develop fully staged public readings.
Farfas and Cortinas will be participating for the first time; Solis previously participated with Man of the Flesh (1989) and La Illuminada (1991).
Maleta Mulata by Cortinas will be read Aug. 8 at 7:30 PM. Claudia Meets Fulano Colorado by Farfas will be read Aug. 9 at 2:30 PM, and La Romy Takes a Dive by Solis will have a reading on Aug. 9 at 7:30 PM.
For more information and tickets to Latinologues or Hispanic Playwrights Project call (714) 957-4033. For tickets to Una Noche del Teatro, call (714) 957-2602. For more information about the South Coast Repertory Theatre visit the Regional Theatre section of Playbill On-Line.