A NOTE FROM THE PLAYWRIGHT - JAVIER RIVERA DeBRUIN
Luciérnagas came about during my Saturn Return. I was exploring and interrogating my relationship to my family, my gender, and the legacy of trauma that weaves its way through diasporic people. I was having lots of conversations with a close friend about mothers and motherhood; about the unfair expectations that get put on mothers to be more than human, and the ways that this can get projected onto their children.
Through its development and evolution Luciérnagas has become a way for me to untangle many parts of myself and find a deeper love, compassion, and connection to all those parts, to family and to my ancestors.
But it is also a space for me to play, to explore: who can I be if I let myself? What kind of world can I create? What conversations can I make space for?
I believe beneath everything the soul of who we are still has the capacity to experience the world with the wonderment and adventure of a child. This is what Xaratanga is all about. They are Mal’s inner child, but they are also our own. They are the messy and inconvenient parts of ourselves we hide away to survive. But in order to thrive we must be strong enough to be soft, to begin the journey to integrate these parts of ourselves. With vulnerability, compassion, and a little mischief we can access that inner child.
I hope audiences will join me in this journey, to step into a little slice of this magical world, to leave with curiosity and contemplation about our own family legacies, our own secret selves, and how we can be reunited with our own inner glow.
ABOUT THE PLAY
When Mal’s maternal grandmother Lupe dies, she inherits a mysterious cabin in the woods. While visiting this small house for the first time, Mal encounters her estranged mother Silvia, the ghost of her grandmother, and a bioluminescent child named Xara who lives in the walls. Silvia declares ownership of the cabin, Mal struggles to break free from old patterns, and Xara demands to be seen. All the while they parse through possessions, secrets, and family dynamics, over a weekend they won’t soon forget.
A MUSICAL OFRENDA
Luciérnagas is a sensorial play about family, memory, ancestral stories, and healing. In the spirit of honoring and uplifting those who came before us, please find this musical ofrenda in the form of a collaborative playlist. Check it out at the link below and add a song or two in homage to loved ones who have passed on or to lift up our queer and trans ancestors.
ABOUT THE PLAYWRIGHT - JAVIER RIVERA DeBRUIN
Javier Rivera DeBruin (they/them) is a playwright and impact producer whose work explores queerness, gender, race, diaspora, and family. LUCIÉRNAGAS was a semi-finalist for the 2019 New Dramatists Princess Grace Award and World Premieres with National Queer Theater at the 14th St Y. Javi is a co-writer on a six-part podcast play THIS IS WHERE WE GO (MCC Theater/The Parsnip Ship) and a member of the Parsnip Ship’s inaugural Radio Roots Writers Group where their play HAPPY BIRTHDAY ANGEL DEAREST will stream soon. As an Impact Producer, they have worked with acclaimed documentaries including DISCLOSURE (Netflix), PHILLY D.A. (PBS/Topic) TRANS IN TRUMPLAND (Topic), BEDLAM (PBS), and ROLL RED ROLL (Netflix). They hold a BA from Smith College.
ABOUT THE DIRECTOR - CARLOS ARMESTO
Carlos Armesto is excited to be working with National Queer Theater. He is the Producing Artistic Director of theatreC, a company dedicated to creating unique theatrical experiences, as well as the CEO/Lead Producer of PITCHBLACK Immersive Experiences, an international company that creates sensory theatre in complete darkness. He has worked as a director and producer on festivals, plays, musicals, concerts, and events around the country. Mr. Armesto was an Associate Curator at the inaugural Pittsburgh International Festival of Firsts and Associate Artistic Director at The Ensemble Studio Theatre (EST).
Through theatreC, which celebrated its 11th anniversary last November, he has created over 50 theatrical works. He has directed and consulted for several university programs, including Carnegie Mellon School of Drama, Rutgers Theater Company, Fordham University, NYU's Drama Department, the Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program and the Dramatic Writing Program. Currently in production: ODD MAN OUT, (with PITCHBLACK ), DIMES, and THE RITE. He is also Creative Director for theatreC's LGBTQ+ Party Series RETRO FACTORY at House of Yes. MFA Directing Carnegie Mellon. BS Chemical Engineering & Theatre MIT. SDC. Princess Grace Award.
ALEXANDRA TAYLOR as MAL
Alexandra Taylor (she/her) is an SAFD-certified actor combatant; she is thrilled and honored to be a part of Luciernagas. Some recent theatrical credits include San Diego Repertory Theatre's Black Mexican (Rafa), Barefoot Shakespeare Company's Julia Caesar (Antonia), and Henry VI, Part I (Bishop of Winchester). She has also been featured on the true crime podcast Criminal Broads, in the mockumentary web series The Ensemble Experience, and in the horror film Crimson Leaves Pt 2: First Blood. Alextayloractor.com, IG: @taylorrosealex.
GABRIELA GARCIA* as SILVIA
Gabriela García (she/her) has an extensive international dance and musical theater career. She dedicated 12 years of her life at CHICAGO The Musical on Broadway as well as international companies. Film credits include In The Heights and Enchanted. TV credits include “New Amsterdam,” “Succession” and “Jessica Jones”. Recently she worked as associate director/choreographer for Viva Broadway... When We See Ourselves, celebrating the return to Broadway. Other associate projects are Twelfth Night at the Delacorte and Movement Associate for Sweeney Todd at the Barrow Street Theater. She has taught dance around the world and has recorded numerous voice-over commercials for radio and TV for the national Hispanic market in the US and has narrated over 100 audiobook titles. She holds a BA in Performing Arts and is Co-Founder of R.Evolucion Latina. IG: @dancinvida
TERESA YENQUE* as LUPE
Teresa Yenque (she/her) performs extensively in NYC Hispanic and American Theater, working closely with playwright and directors developing several new plays. Ms. Yenque made her Broadway debut with Streetcar Named Desire next to Natasha Richardson. She just completed a successful run of Like Water for Chocolate at the GALA theater in Washington DC and Amy Kazan’s After The Blast at the Lincoln Center. Currently, we can see her in The House of Bernarda Alba at the Spanish Repertory Theater and several Films and TV Programs. Website here.
YASHA LELONEK as XARA
Yasha Lelonek (she/they) is an actor, director, model, and multi-media visual artist from Atlanta, based in Brooklyn. She holds a BFA in Drama from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. Through film, photo, live performance, and fine art, Yasha tells gender-expansive stories in the Black Trans dreamscape. She is the director and star of the multimedia film short Black Is The Color Of My True Love’s Hair, creator of the painted-photograph series The Muses, author of the choreopoem FIEBRE, and star of the upcoming short films Pretty Boy and Las Tres Chicas. Since workshopping Jeremy O’Harris’ Tell Me If I’m Hurting You at Playwrights Horizons and being selected and interviewed as a Trans cultural leader for The Kennedy Center’s Arts Across America series, Yasha makes her NYC theatrical debut in a principal role with Luciérnagas. She enjoys painting, voguing and writing poetry in her free time.
GARY DOOLEY* as GEORGE
Gary Dooley (he/him) Recent NY Theatre: Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, Blanche in a Wheelchair (Vineyard Theatre), Trial on the Potomac (reading) and F*ck Off, Julia (Reading). Film/TV: The Good Fight (Donald Trump), Sweet Tooth (short), and Gossip Girl. Member AEA and SAG/AFTRA.
*Denotes Actors appearing courtesy of the Actors Equity Association.
LUCIÉRNAGAS IS CO-PRESENTED WITH THE 14th STREET Y
The Theater at the 14th Street Y focuses on social awareness and change through big picture narrative. Inspired by works that welcome artists of all backgrounds, we place artists at the heart of our community and seek to create an inclusive and open cultural experience for all. Art is incubated here.
We are a vibrant community center grounded in the belief that contemporary Jewish sensibilities can be a source of inspiration, connection, and learning for the individuals and families we serve throughout Downtown Manhattan. We focus on health and fitness, education and enrichment programs, and innovative arts and cultural programming. We are committed to the development of the whole person and bettering people’s lives and strengthening individual and family connections by building an inclusive, vibrant, and sustainable community.
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Luciérnagas is an Equity-approved showcase production.
Luciérnagas is made possible in part with public funds from Creative Engagement, supported by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature and administered by LMCC. This production is also made possible by the generous support of The Sparkjoy Foundation.