Too often when she’s auditioned, Latin Canadian actor Marilo Nunez finds Hispanic parts offered to anyone with brown eyes and brown hair.
Enough, she thought, and founded Alameda Theatre Company, Canada’s first professional Latin Canadian theatre troupe. Its purpose? To tell the varied stories of Latin American artists, and in the process dispel Latino stereotypes.
Thus far the company has staged Nunez’s Three Fingered Jack & The Legend Of Joaquin Murieta in SummerWorks and offered workshop readings. It goes big time with the first De Colores Festival Of New Works.
“I wanted to respond to the lack of Latin American theatre in Canada and the lack of consideration given to its artists. A festival like this goes to the core of theatre, providing the words to tell our tales,” says Nunez, also a producer and budding director.
“Those who live in the various countries in Central and South America have different experiences, but here in Canada we’re all slotted together because most of us speak Spanish.”
She stresses that while the scripts in De Colores explore different experiences and sensibilities in the Latin community, they share a common humanity that speaks to any viewer.
Three pieces make up the fest, whose title refers to the “many colours” of the Latin American experience.
In Jefferson Guzman’s Sophie & Leo, a brother and sister trade secrets while on a road trip to bury their father. Victor Gomez’s Lizardboy introduces us to a nine ?-year-old dealing with the lack of positive role models in his life. Also on the bill is an excerpt from Carmen Aguirre’s Blue Box, a look at the political battle between the sexes.
“Carmen’s raw, funny and sometimes sarcastic script deals with her time as a revolutionary in Chile, as a Latin woman in a very male culture,” smiles Nunez. “The title is a play on the phrase ‘blue balls.’”
Why so few shows? Nunez admits that she didn’t receive many submissions.
“I think the Latin Canadian community is scared to come out and express themselves through theatre,” she says with regret. “I want Alameda to help build a community that allows our artists to express themselves and their identities and to share those stories with other Canadians.”