The play is the centerpiece of Goodman's Fifth Biennial Latino Theatre Festival. Henry Godinez directs the drama about the 17th century Mexican poet Juana Inés de la Cruz, played by Malaya Rivera Drew ("The L Word," "ER"), and how she is pressured by the patriarchy.
In the play, according to Goodman notes, "Legendary Mexican poet Juana Inés de la Cruz writes expressive, sensual verse at the Viceroy's court in the 1600s, a time when it was unfashionable — and sinful — for women to exercise their intellect. The Viceroy (Plana) is jealous of Juana's influence on his beautiful wife, the Vicereine (Amy J. Carle), who has arranged a profitable marriage to ensure that Juana will always have a place at court. Believing his own marriage is threatened by Juana's engagement, the Viceroy hires Silvio (Dion Mucciacito), a charming, educated rogue to seduce her and destroy her reputation. When Juana refuses to compromise her poetry for what the church ordains appropriate, she stands to lose everything she loves."
The cast also includes Laura Crotte, Ilana Faust, Joe Minoso, Christina Nieves and Isabel Quintero, plus recent Northwestern University (NU) graduates Elly Lachman and Kevin Fugaro.
Performances play Goodman's Albert Theatre. Washington, DC-based playwright Karen Zacarías is the country's most-produced Latina playwright. In 2009, five of her plays received world premieres.
In addition to The Sins of Sor Juana, the Goodman Latino Fest includes two plays by Teatro Buendía — La Visita de la Vieja Dama (July 8–11) and Charenton (July 15–18) — in the Owen Theatre. The festival culminates in a weekend (July 23–25) of new works from the Lark Play Development Center's U.S./Mexican Playwright Exchange, directed by Chicago artists. For tickets or more information, call (312) 443-3800 or visit GoodmanTheatre.org.