Carnaval 2018 immerses visitors in Chicago’s Latinx theater community | Theater Review | Chicago Reader

Carnaval 2018 immerses visitors in Chicago’s Latinx theater community 

The celebration lasts four days, with tours, workshops, and staged readings of six new plays.

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click to enlarge Paula Ramirez, Guadalís Del Carmen, and Ana Santos in Perfectamente Loca/Perfectly Insane by Magdalena Gómez at LTC Carnaval 2015

Paula Ramirez, Guadalís Del Carmen, and Ana Santos in Perfectamente Loca/Perfectly Insane by Magdalena Gómez at LTC Carnaval 2015

Michael Courier

With the 2018 Carnaval of New Latinx Work, a festival celebrating new works by Latinx theater artists, Latinx Theatre Commons, founded in 2012, aims to connect national audiences to the Chicago theater community. "In the midst of the current administration's virulent hostility towards the Latinx community, promoting new Latinx stories and the artists who create them has become all the more urgent," Lisa Portes, LTC Carnaval Champion, or organizer, and head of directing at the Theatre School at DePaul University, said in a press release. "Carnaval 2018 aims to seed the American Theatre with new Latinx stories and raise visibility of the vibrant local and national Latinx theatre community."

Carnaval 2018 will feature staged readings of six new plays by Latinx playwrights, selected via a competitive pool of approximately 130 entries following a national call for submissions. Each play will be developed by a Latinx creative team. The first Carnaval was in 2015.

Actor and playwright Juan Francisco Villa, who is of Colombian heritage, will participate in readings of Our Dear Dead Drug Lord and The Killing of a Gentleman Defender. "This is actually the first time I get to play a Colombian character, and this is a [big] deal for me," he says. "It's an honor, especially with the content both plays explore."

Audiences will have the opportunity to attend the readings and meet Latinx theater makers, including writers, directors, designers, critics, and actors. Festival partners Urban Theater Company, Aguijón Theater, Teatro Vista, and the Chicago Latino Theater Alliance will host workshops and offer tours of their spaces that aim to further immerse audiences in the Latinx theater community. The festival is free, but attendees must register in advance.

The selected plays are as follows: My Father's Keeper by Guadalís del Carmen, directed by David Mendizábal; Richard & Jane & Dick & Sally by Noah Diaz, directed by Denise Yvette Serna; Killing of a Gentleman Defender by Carlos Murillo, directed by Michael John Garcés; Shoe by Marisela Treviño Orta, directed by Ricardo Gutierrez; Milton, MI by Paz Pardo, directed by Diane Rodriguez; and Our Dear Dead Drug Lord by Alexis Scheer, directed by Rebecca Martínez.   v

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