Campus Life

Latinas Acting Out: A “Flag Is Up” Contest

Here at Schreiner, we have a diverse student body, but a significant portion of students identify as Hispanic (35.41%, in fact).

So when Adjunct Instructor of Theater Professor Jeffrey Cunningham wanted to start casting for a Latino script, he realized that he “wasn’t familiar enough with them know which ones would be right for our theatre”.

So he decided to “encourage our own students to create new works that speak to their own world view, experiences, and insights”.

What an idea, right? So from now until May 8th, 2018, any student can become a playwright and submit a script that focuses on the Latina’s experience in an aura of comedy, tragedy, realism, or any genre.

“How can I write a play if I have never written a play, acted in a play, or gone to many plays?” you may ask. Professor C. gives us some tips:

“Plays are faster, shorter, and require a focus on dialogue and action above internal thought and deep reflection.  I would encourage new playwrights to find a story that is important to them and start telling it in the form of the players’ interactions with each other. “

You can also schedule a time to bring a draft to Professor Cunningham or a senior Theatre major and smooth out the details for an excellent submission. Most of the students have written short plays and are able to help you bring your vision to light. (Here is also a cheatsheet for theatre terms I used to write this article, you’re welcome 🙂 )

Submissions will be reviewed by a diverse panel of judges. “The Jury is made up of Theatre’s Dr. Claudia Sullivan , Spanish’s Dr. Maureen Russo, Ms. Kelsey Penn from Purposeful Lives, Caroline Zieher from Changing Global Society, and Senior Student (soon Alum) Angie Santos. They will be allowed a wide margin to judge the plays as they see fit but contestants should certainly consider the following guidelines:

All playwrights with stories that focuses on the experiences of women who identify as Latina are welcome to submit.
Plays should be able to be produced theatrically, within the production and budgetary scale of a typical University show

So let’s say you take a couple of days to eat tacos (at least, that’s where I get inspired, don’t you?) and write a multi-act, brilliant script, and submit it to find out that yes, it will be produced as an official The Flag Is Up Production. Where does the process go from there?

As most FIU Productions, Professor C. will lead the process of producing the show, casting the student actors, and bringing the vision to light. The playwright can continue to participate in the process, even if they are an alum by Fall 2018, when the department hopes to produce the show by.

“We want to focus on stories that present the Latina experience and help empower their voice,” Professor C. said. Since many of the current college performers identify as Latina, this production will ideally give many Latinas a platform to play a role that may not be too far off from their actual life experiences, bringing out relatable scenarios they are familiar with.

On a personal note, Professor C. said:

“Because of my family, and my personal history, I feel committed to help provide a platform and support the voices of Latin, Hispanic, and Tejano performing artists.”

So there you have it, Schreiner: an opportunity to write a play, even if you are not Latina/Latino, but maybe with the inspiration and help of a friend, to depict the culture and experiences of a Latina.

The stage is set, the lights are on, and the audience is listening- what are you going to write for them? We are all excited to see what this contest inspires you to write! Who knows, you may want to sign up for  Theatre Practicum or Acting I next semester!

Want to get involved now with The Flag Is Up? Read more below:

(Audition Flyer Front and Back)

Auditions for CRAZY FOR YOU (our partnership with Music and Playhouse 2000) are Sunday Feb 11th 2018 and Monday 12th 2018 at the Cailloux Theatre Downtown.

Students interested in theatre can enroll in Theatre Practicum, Acting I, or any other open/available class OR contact JBCunningham@schreiner.edu to get involved.

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