Press Release:​ SCR Community

South Coast Repertory Launches Community Engagement Initiative Aug. 17 with MASA

COSTA MESA, Calif. (​​​​​July 27, 2020)—Artistic Director David Ivers and Managing Director Paula Tomei today announce a new initiative, SCR ​commUNITY, an online series of free readings, events, interviews and community-centered stories to engage Southern California with the power of live theatre during the COVID-19 pandemic. The series starts on Aug. 17, at 5:30 p.m., with MASA, a live, online fiesta with readings of four short pieces relating to the historical and cultural importance of masa.

MASA, curated and directed by Juliette Carrillo, includes selections from works by Luis Alfaro, Amilcar Juaregui, Lisa Loomer and the late Diane Rodriguez. The online reading of MASA is free, but RSVPs are required in order to receive the link to view the live event. Reservations may be made online at scr.org.

“I’m thrilled by the launch of SCR ​commUNITY, utilizing our digital platform to celebrate stories that help shape the rich tapestry of Orange County,” said Artistic Director David Ivers. “I’m confident our audiences will find much to appreciate in this content for a new era. I know our playwrights, directors and actors—many of whom have a long history with SCR—are thrilled to be a part of the creative process once again and so are we. Tune in!”

Added Managing Director Paula Tomei: “South Coast Repertory has always been strongly engaged with the Orange County community. As we move forward during these times, when we’re unable to gather in person, it becomes even more important that we continue to celebrate our connections to each other. SCR commUNITY provides us with the perfect venue for this—a virtual gathering spot.”

MASA includes:

  • “The Gardens of Aztlan” (An Acto Hecho A Mano) by Luis Alfaro (from California Scenarios, a 2001 SCR-commissioned work)
  • “El Maiz” from Café Vida by Lisa Loomer
  • “Tejuino” from Tejuino by Amilcar Jauregui
  • The Path to Divadom, or How to Make Fat-free Tamales in G minor by Diane Rodriguez

MASA is the first of three events curated by Carrillo for SCR ​commUNITY; the trio is collectively titled El Teatro de la Comida (Theatre of Food). The next two events will take place on Aug. 31 and Sept. 14.

El Teatro de la Comida explores how food brings us together, even when we’re forced to stay apart,” said Carrillo. “Our relationship to food in this pandemic demands a different kind of attention and many of us have had to embrace cooking—'slow food’—and the art of preparing a meal. I’m interested in how recipes, smells and tastes live in our DNA; more specifically, in the Latinx community. Since every recipe has a lineage and a story, how do we reach back into the past and embrace the traditions of our ancestors?”

Tickets for these three events are free, but ticketholders are encouraged to support an online food drive, held in partnership with Second Harvest Foodbank of Orange County, to support those having trouble accessing nutritious food during the pandemic. More information is at the food bank’s website: https://www.yourfooddrive.org/drive.php?scr_food_drive

Carrillo has had a long relationship with SCR including as a staff member and a director. Among the SCR works she directed were Sidney Bechet Killed a Man by Stuart Flack (1998); References to Salvador Dali Make Me Hot by José Rivera (2000); The Countess by Gregory Murphy (2000); Nostalgia by Lucinda Coxon (2001); California Scenarios (2001, site-specific work); Anna in the Tropics by Nilo Cruz (2004); and Jane of the Jungle by Karen Zacarías (2012).

Luis Alfaro is a director and an SCR-commissioned playwright; his current commission is the third for the theatre. He is an associate professor of dramatic writing at the University of Southern California’s School of Dramatic Arts. Among his honors are a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, PEN/America/Laura Pels International Foundation for Theatre Award, Joyce Foundation Fellow and a two-time recipient of a Kennedy Center Fund for New American Play Awards. He was Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s inaugural playwright-in-residence from 2013 to 2019.

Lisa Loomer’s plays—including Roe, Living Out, The Waiting Room, Distracted, Café Vida, Homefree, Expecting Isabel, Two Things You Don’t Talk About at Dinner, Birds, Maria, Maria, Maria! and Bocón!—have been produced at such theatres as The Mark Taper Forum, Arena Stage, South Coast Repertory, The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Seattle Rep, Denver Theatre Center, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Trinity Repertory Company, The Williamstown Theatre Festival; and, in New York, at The Roundabout Theatre Company, The Vineyard Theatre, Second Stage, INTAR Theatre and the Public Theater. Her work has also been produced in Mexico, the Middle East and Europe. She’s a two-time winner of the American Theatre Critics Award and has also received awards from the Kennedy Center, the Pen Center, the Imagen Foundation, (Norman Lear Award), the Jane Chambers Award and the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, among others. Her film credits include Girl, Interrupted, and she also writes for television.

Amilcar Jauregui is an actor and playwright from Orange County, Calif., and a recent graduate of the University of California, Irvine. Tejuino is his latest work to tell a story that is important to him and that empowers the Latinx community.

Diane Rodriguez helmed Center Theatre Group’s new play production program from 2005-19, part of her nearly quarter-century of work for CTG. Among the works she directed at SCR included two readings of The Beauty of the Father by Nilo Cruz (2002, Pacific Playwrights Festival and Hispanic Playwrights Project); a reading of Hortensia and the Museum of Dreams by Nilo Cruz (2000, PPF); and the production La Posada Mágica by Octavio Solis and Marcos Loya (2001-03). Rodriguez passed away in 2020.

More information about MASA is available at https://www.scr.org/calendar/view?id=12097

ABOUT SOUTH COAST REPERTORY: Tony Award-winning South Coast Repertory, founded in 1964, is led by Artistic Director David Ivers and Managing Director Paula Tomei. SCR is widely recognized as one of the leading professional theatres in the United States. While its productions represent a balance of classic and modern plays and musicals, SCR is renowned for its extensive new-play development program—The Lab@SCR—which includes one of the nation’s largest commissioning programs for emerging, mid-career and established writers and composers. Of SCR’s 534 productions, one-quarter have been world premieres. SCR-developed works have garnered two Pulitzer Prizes and eight Pulitzer nominations, several Obie Awards and scores of major new-play awards. Located in Costa Mesa, Calif., SCR is home to the 507-seat Segerstrom Stage, the 336-seat Julianne Argyros Stage and the 94-seat Nicholas Studio. www.scr.org