Luis Alfaro

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Luis Alfaro
BornLuis Alfaro
1963 (age 54–55)
Los Angeles, California
OccupationPerformance Artist, Playwright, Theater Director, Social Activist
Years active1992-present

Luis Alfaro (born 1963 in Los Angeles, California) is a Chicano performance artist, writer, theater director, and social activist.

His plays and fiction are set in Los Angeles's Chicano barrios, including the Pico Union district, and often feature gay and lesbian and working-class themes. Many of Alfaro's plays also deal with the AIDS pandemic in Latino communities.[1] Noted plays include "Bitter Homes and Gardens," "Pico Union," "Downtown," "Cuerpo Politizado," "Straight as a Line," "Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner," "No Holds Barrio" and "Black Butterfly." Many of these plays have also been published as stories or poetry. He is the Playwright-in-Residence at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and an Associate Professor in the School of Dramatic Arts at the University of Southern California.[2]

His writing, both sole-authored and collaborative, is collected in numerous anthologies. In 1994 his spoken-word CD, Downtown was released. His short film Chicanismo was produced by the Public broadcasting Service and released in 1999. He also contributed to the 1995 film Pochonovela, a collaboration between the Cuban American performer Coco Fusco and the LA-based Chicano performance ensemble, Chicano Secret Service. This mock telenovela explores and sends up Chicano activism and assimilation in a sardonic exploration of working class barrio life.[3]

In 2010, his play Oedipus El Rey, a Chicano retelling of Oedipus Rex, had its world premiere at the Magic Theatre in San Francisco. Oedipus El Rey had its Texas regional premiere at Dallas Theater Center from January 16-March 2, 2014 under the direction of Kevin Moriarty.[4] The play received a production at San Diego Repertory Theatre from March 10–29, 2015 under the direction of Sam Woodhouse.[5] Oedipus El Rey receives its New York premiere at The Public Theater in collaboration with The Sol Project. The play will be produced at The Public Theater's Shiva Theater from October 3-November 19 under the direction of Chay Yew. The cast features Juan Castano, Sandra Delgado, Julio Monge, Joel Perez, Brian Quijada, Reza Salazar, and Juan Francisco Villa.[6]

Luis Alfaro's solo show St. Jude is the playwright's tribute to his father. St. Jude is an autobiographical play that details the complicated relationship between Alfaro and his father. The show begins with Alfaro describing going back home to rural California after learning his father has suffered a stroke. The play moves back and forth between Alfaro growing up and the events that follow his father's stroke. There are many stories within the larger narrative and they all relate to the overall theme of finding identity. Scenes from his childhood include working in the fields during summers, family celebrations, and some rocky teenage years, including once running away. The small stories and anecdotes from Alfaro's childhood all relate back to his father or his personal journey.[7] St. Jude was produced at the Kirk Douglas Theatre in Culver City, CA from September 19-October 6, 2013 under the direction of Robert Egan.[8] The play ran from February 13–16, 2014 at South Coast Repertory in Costa Mesa, CA.[9] St. Jude was produced as part of Victory Gardens Theater's Up Close and Personal Series in 2017.[10]

Luis Alfaro's Mojada: A Medea in Los Angeles is a contemporary retelling of Medea. Mojada was first produced at the Magic Theatre in San Francisco in 2012 under the title Bruja. Mojada: A Medea in Los Angeles was then produced at the Getty Villa in 2015.[11] Mojada received a production at Oregon Shakespeare Festival from February 19-July 5, 2017 under the direction of Juliette Carrillo. The cast featured Sabina Zuniga Varela, Lakin Valdez, VIVIS, Nancy Rodriguez, Vilma Silva, Jahnangel Jimenez, and Connor Chaney.[12]

Grants and awards[edit]

Alfaro has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the MacArthur "Genius" Foundation Fellowship in 1997,[13] and the 1998 National Hispanic Playwriting Competition Prize.[14] In 2013, he began a three-year term as the Playwright in Residence at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival through the National Playwright Residency Program, funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and administered by HowlRound. In 2016, the grant was renewed for an additional three years.[15][16]

Plays[edit]

Mojada: A Medea in Los Angeles[17] (2015)

This Golden State Part One: Delano[18][19] (2015)

Alleluia, The Road[20] (2013)

St. Jude[21](2013)

Bruja [22](2012)

Oedipus El Rey [23](2010)

Electricidad (2003)

Downtown

No Holds Barrio (2004)

Body of Faith

Straight as a Line

Bitter Homes and Gardens

Lady Bird

Black Butterfly, Jaguar Girl, Piñata Woman and Other Superhero Girls, Like Me

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

The Gardens of Aztlan

Screenplays[edit]

From Prada to Nada (2011)

Chicanismo (short) (1997)

Bibliography[edit]

Alfaro, Luis. "Pico-Union," in Men on Men 4, edited by George Stambolian, Plume, New York, 1992, pp. 268–283.

Alfaro, Luis. Down Town, (CD), New Alliance Records, Lawndale, 1993.

Alfaro, Luis. "Cuerpo Politizado," in Uncontrollable Bodies: Testimonies of Art and Culture, edited by Rodney Sappington and Tyler Stallings, Bay Press, Seattle, 1994, pp. 216–241.

Alfaro, Luis. "Bitter Homes and Gardens," in His, edited by Robert Drake and Terry Wolverton, Faber and Faber, Boston, 1995, pp. 100–107.

Alfaro, Luis. "Straight as a Line," in Out of the Fringe: Contemporary Latina/Latino Theatre and Performance, edited by Caridad Svich and Maria Teresa Marrero, Theatre Communication Group, New York, 2000, pp. 1–42.

Critical Studies[edit]

Allatson, Paul. "Siempre feliz en mi falda: Luis Alfaro's Simulative Challenge," in GLQ (A Journal of Gay and Lesbian Studies), vol. 5, no. 2, 1999, pp. 199–230.

Arrizón, Alicia. Queering Mestizaje: Transculturation and Performance, University of Michigan Press, Ann Arbor, 2006.

Foster, David William. "El cuerpo de Luís Alfaro: identidades sexuales y performance," in Literatura e autoritarismo: estudos culturais, no. 1 (Janeiro 2003) [1].

Foster, David William. "The Representation of the Queer Body in Latin American Theater," in Latin American Theatre Review, vol. 38, no. 1 (Fall 2004), pp. 23–38.

Foster, David William. El ambiente nuestro: Chicano/Latino Homoerotic Writing, Bilingual Press/Editorial Bilingüe, Tempe, AZ, 2006.

Muñoz, José Esteban. "Luis Alfaro's Memory Theatre," in Corpus Delecti, edited by Coco Fusco, Routledge, New York and London, 1999.

Rodriguez y Gibson, Eliza. "Luis Alfaro," in The Greenwood Encyclopedia of Multiethnic American Literature, edited by Emmanuel S. Nelson. Greenwood Press, Westport, CT, 2005. Vol. 1, pp. 131–132.

Román, David. "'Teatro Viva!' Latino Performance and the Politics of AIDS in Los Angeles," in ¿Entiendes? Queer Readings, Hispanic Writings, edited by Emilie L. Bergman and Paul Julian Smith (eds.), Duke University Press, Durham, 1995, pp. 346–369.

Román, David. "Luis Alfaro," in The Oxford Encyclopedia of Latinos and Latinas in the United States, edited by Suzanne Oboler and Deena J. González, Oxford University Press, New York and Oxford, 2005. Vol. 1, pp. 57–59.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Román, David. "'Teatro Viva!' Latino Performance and the Politics of AIDS in Los Angeles," in ¿Entiendes? Queer Readings, Hispanic Writings, edited by Emilie L. Bergman and Paul Julian Smith (eds.), Duke University Press, Durham, 1995, pp. 346–69
  2. ^ trevorboffone (2016-04-22). "Luis Alfaro". Retrieved 2017-09-09.
  3. ^ Allatson, Paul. "Siempre feliz en mi falda: Luis Alfaro's Simulative Challenge," in GLQ (A Journal of Gay and Lesbian Studies), vol. 5, no. 2, 1999, pp. 199–230.
  4. ^ "OEDIPUS EL REY | Dallas Theater Center". www.dallastheatercenter.org. Retrieved 2017-09-09.
  5. ^ Diego, Anne Marie Welsh, special to the U-T San. "'Oedipus' a vivid and fitting Rep show". sandiegouniontribune.com. Retrieved 2017-09-09.
  6. ^ "Oedipus El Rey". www.publictheater.org. Retrieved 2017-09-09.
  7. ^ "Victory Gardens Theater: ST. JUDE Review- Emotionally Charged". Picture this Post. 2017-05-25. Retrieved 2017-09-09.
  8. ^ "St. Jude: Theater Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2017-09-09.
  9. ^ Repertory, South Coast (2014-02-07). "South Coast Repertory: The "Genius" of Luis Alfaro". South Coast Repertory. Retrieved 2017-09-09.
  10. ^ "Victory Gardens Theater: ST. JUDE Review- Emotionally Charged". Picture this Post. 2017-05-25. Retrieved 2017-09-09.
  11. ^ Boehm, Mike (2015-09-04). "Luis Alfaro's 'Mojada' draws on Greek tragedy, Mexican American immigration". Los Angeles Times. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved 2017-09-09.
  12. ^ "Oregon Shakespeare Festival".
  13. ^ "Luis Alfaro — MacArthur Foundation". www.macfound.org. Retrieved 2017-09-09.
  14. ^ "Oedipus el Rey, by Luis Alfaro". magictheatre.org. Retrieved 2017-09-09.
  15. ^ "Residencies". HowlRound. Retrieved 2017-09-09.
  16. ^ "The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and HowlRound Announce $5.58 Million in Grants through the National Playwright Residency Program". mellon.org. 2016-04-05. Retrieved 2017-09-09.
  17. ^ http://www.getty.edu/museum/programs/performances/outdoor_theater_15.html
  18. ^ http://magictheatre.org/past-productions/this-golden-state-part-one-delano-by-luis-alfaro
  19. ^ https://www.broadwayworld.com/san-francisco/article/THIS-GOLDEN-STATE-AND-I-AND-SILENCE-and-SISTER-PLAY-World-Premieres-Set-for-Magic-Theatres-2014-15-Season-20140404
  20. ^ https://www.broadwayworld.com/san-francisco/article/Intersection-for-the-Arts-and-California-Shakespeare-Present-CALIFAS-FESTIVAL-thru-1117-20131105
  21. ^ https://www.redcat.org/event/luis-alfaro
  22. ^ http://magictheatre.org/past-productions/bruja-by-luis-alfaro
  23. ^ http://magictheatre.org/past-productions/oedipus-el-rey-by-luis-alfaro