DOWNEY – A panel of Latinx theatre artists will converge in Los Angeles this weekend to discuss artists of color, hopefully shining some light and exposure onto their work as well.
The panel will take place Saturday, Oct. 6 at the Geffen Playhouse, and will explore and discuss the legacy of Latinx theatre in Los Angeles.
The curator of the event, Raul Espinoza, says that he wanted to examine up-and-coming artist as opposed to just reflecting on old standards.
“Part of the intention by bringing all of these people to the Geffen Playhouse is it’s also west-side theatre that rarely does Latino work or represent our stories,” said Espinoza. “I want to demonstrate to the Geffen itself that this is who we are, and I don’t mean just community theatre but professional theatre.”
The discussion will be moderated by Oscar Garza, and will feature Latinx artists Sylvia Blush, Theresa Chavez, Eileen Galindo, and Eric Reyes Loo. Of the four featured artists, Loo grew up in Downey and Blush is a current, longtime resident.
Loo is a writer currently preparing for his play “Death and Cockroaches” to take the stage at the Atwater Village Theatres from Nov. 8 to Dec. 1.
“Growing up,I wanted to create a narrative,” said Loo. “Writing felt like creating a world of my own design.”
Loo says that the upcoming panel would help dispel the myth that there isn’t an abundance of working Latinx artists.
“Especially coming from Downey and coming from a place where I didn’t know a lot of people who worked in the arts… as Latinx people, a lot of us come from working class backgrounds and our parents aren’t exactly thinking that we should go into the arts,” said Loo. “Being able to talk about being a Latinx artist is a real special thing.”
“To spread that that message that so many of our stories that we don’t see represented on the stage or in the media, to highlight that and to talk about this journey about being Latinx theatre artists was really important.”
Blush, currently working on her thesis project Euripides’ Medea at UCLA, said that a lot of work from artists of color is not necessarily as visible on the national scale as other contemporary works.
“I think similarly to what we see with the movements happening with the academy awards, it’s difficult I think for theatres who typically hire some of the same artists to take chances on artists they don’t know,” said Blush. “When you do that, over the years you end up inadvertently or advertently putting one group on the frays.”
“The bigger the institution, the more draw you might receive from the media; they want to see what the big named companies are doing. So, if they’re not taking chances on artists of color in smaller houses, the media is not going to attend. It’s harder to try to get people to come see us.”
The panel will follow the 3 p.m. matinee performance of “The Untranslatable Secrets of Nikki Corona.” RSVP’s are required to attend this free to the public event.
For more information, visit www.geffenplayhouse.org/latinx-theater.