A pLAce for pLAys

A few months ago I spent half a day at East LA Rep’s office looking for plays for a friend to read. He needed to find a monologue for an audition. As I perused our library, I kept seeing my name on some of the title pages. My memories took me back to East LA Rep’s beginnings.

We used to meet two or three times a month and read the work of playwrights such as Maria Irene Fornes, Octavio Solis, William Shakespeare, Luis Alfaro, Lisa Loomer and many others. We did these readings to educate ourselves about the work that we could produce. We had spirited discussions after each reading. We talked about the symbols in the text, asked questions about the characters, and discussed wether we liked it or not. It was a vital part of East LA Rep’s mission to promote the work of playwrights of Latino heritage.

While on this trip down memory lane, I also thought about how, as artists, we forget about plays as literature. We rarely read them for fun and most of the time we only read them because it’s something we are going to work on as actors, writers or directors, etc. And yes, plays are hard to read on your own. They are after all, meant to be read out loud and performed. However, plays are neglected by most readers, they don’t need to be neglected by the very people who make art with them.

My first task as Literary Manager has been to start this play reading group again. We’ve been going strong since January of this year and the group of actors, writers, and directors who have joined us on these readings have been amazing. So far we’ve read Heroes & Saints by Cherie Moraga, Our Lady of 121st Street by Steven Adly Giurgis and The Conduct of Life by Maria Irene Fornes.

On Sunday, March 27th we have a special event. We will be reading Suenos Sin Fronteras by Bernardo Solano. He will be in attendance and the group will be able to present the playwright with questions, and feedback about this new work.

Participation in East LA Rep’s play reading group is open to anyone but please call or email if you’d like join us. Space is limited.

Below are a few pictures from our first reading.

Tom Sandoval and Julissa Lopez

From Left to Right: Oscar Basulto, Anthony Garcia, Blanca Melchor and Angela Imperial

Ivan Davila checking out some of the plays we will read.

A few of the plays we will be reading.