Niles actor produces Latino theater festival
Yo Solo Festival
of Latino Solo Shows
Flat Iron Building, third floor, 1579 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago
Two solo shows are paired to create three different programs. Each program runs about two hours and will be presented eight times over the course of the festival, July 26-Aug. 12
A companion art exhibition will be on display during the run of the festival in Collaboraction’s adjacent gallery.
Tickets are $15 per program; $10 for students, industry and anyone under 30. Festival Passes offering admission to all three programs are also available for $35; $20 for students, industry and under 30
For tickets and information, go to collaboraction.org, teatrovista.org or call (312) 226-9633
Updated: August 23, 2012 9:56AM
The first-ever Yo Solo Festival of Latino Solo Shows is not “the Latino Monologues.”
The six solo pieces written and performed by Latino artists from Chicago and around the country explore the borders and boundaries of traditional storytelling.
“What’s really exciting is that these six pieces incorporate diverse artistic mediums like movement, music, and audience participation,” Sandra Delgado, a native of Niles and a producer and soloist of the festival. “A lot of these stories are inspired by personal experience. There is going to be that, too, but taken collectively, this is a beautiful tapestry of the Latino experience.”
A collaboration between Teatro Vista, a Chicago Equity Latino ensemble theater company that produces works by new playwrights, and Collaboration, a non-profit organization “of collaborative theater and experience makers,” the Yo Solo Festival of Latino Solo Shows will be presented in repertory over three weeks at Collaboration’s theater in Chicago’s Wicker Park. Previews begin July 26.
High school start
For Delgado, there is no degree of separation between the two companies. She co-founded Collaboraction 16 years ago, and she has been a Teatro Vista ensemble member for almost a decade. Her love of performing, she said, was nurtured at Niles West High School, where she was involved in theater, dance and choir. She was also a cheerleader and homecoming queen.
“A good high school arts program does wonders,” she said. “I’m so thankful for my time at Niles West and all the opportunities I had to express myself.”
Delgado’s piece, “para Graciela,” is featured in program B of the festival. It is a fictional piece inspired by her maternal grandmother and was shaped by interviews she conducted with her mother and aunts about their childhoods in Columbia and Delgado’s great grandfather who made perfume.
The scent of bergamot and the spell of Latin love songs of the 1930s and ’40s flavor this story of a woman who returns home to make peace with her recently-deceased father through a lesson in perfume making. “I get to sing in it,” Delgado said. “(That’s the fun) of creating your own work. I love to sing, but I don’t often get cast in shows where I get that opportunity. These are songs that my mom used to sing to me.”
Also on this particular program is the piece “Highway 47,” in which KJ Sanchez recounts her family’s involvement in one of New Mexico’s most famous land grant wars, a 15-year legal battle that tore families apart and in which her father played a central role.
Program A features Febronio Zatarain’s “La Risa de Dios,” which views Chicago through the eyes of members of the Latino immigrant community,” and “Guera,” in which New Mexico native and DePaul graduate Lisandra Tena, appears as a waitress whose menu items, selected by audience members, are 4-6 min. pieces inspired by her family.
Program C features Juan Francisco Villa’s “Empanada for a Dream,” which enjoyed a sold-out run last April at New York’s Barrow Street Theatre, and Rey Andujar’s “Antipoda,” which is described as “a journey across the Americas’ landscape through the lens of racial identity, crime and sexuality through corporal mime and bilingual spoken word.”
“This festival got me so excited from the beginning, because it was giving these six actors the opportunity to have complete ownership (over their work) and to create something that allowed them to present the Latino experience beyond the limited, stereotypical roles on television and film.”
For Delgado, the selection process was something of a revelation, and she hopes the audience will feel the same. “I thought I had a pulse on what was happening in the Latino (artistic) community,” she said. “I was happily proved wrong. There is this whole other layer of theater happening in the neighborhoods that I was out of touch with. I feel I have been so enriched being introduced to these artists.”