Decentering Whiteness in Theatrical Experiences

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For the LMU Theatre Arts Department, moving toward equitable practices and inclusivity in theatre extends beyond classroom discussion. In Daphnie Sicre’s “Latinx Spirit in Drama” class, part of decentering whiteness in theatrical experiences means having students initiate conversations with Latinx performers and playwrights.

Throughout the course, Sicre, an assistant professor of theatre arts, invited Latinx playwrights to share their experience writing and performing in the entertainment industry. Guest speakers included award-winning playwright Jose Casas, queer playwright and director Carlos Manuel and Brazilian-American playwright and performer Ryan Oliveira.

“Throughout my time in the class, we discussed topics surrounding representation, discrimination in the industry, and the overall the lack of inclusivity for BIPOC individuals in the entertainment business,” said Julianna Gomez, a sophomore political science major. “Our discussion proved further that diversity is something that needs to be at the forefront of every conversation when taking on new projects and creating different types of media.”

The class centered around contemporary performance works and plays by Latin American and U.S. Latinx playwrights. Some of the issues analyzed in the plays were labor and immigration, gender and sexuality, generation gaps in Latinx culture, and the intersectionality of Latinx identities. For their final projects, each student interviewed a different professional in the field. The final projects took all different types of shapes including YouTube interviews, creating Wikipedia pages to showcasing a designer’s work, and podcast interviews.

“For the final project, I had the opportunity to interview Dillon Yruegas, a Latinx playwright, director and actor who is also queer and transgender, which provided a perspective on Latinx theatre I didn’t even know existed,” said Nicole Miro, a senior marketing major and theatre arts and women & gender studies double minor. “Especially in the wake of Black Lives Matter, it was so interesting to hear his take on the future of theatre in an ideally more diverse and post-pandemic world.”

Below are some of the final projects in which students interviewed Latinx playwrights and performers.

Marissa Herrera (Interviewed by Julianna Gomez)

Meggan Gomez (Interviewed by Jaelyn Williams)

Theatro Luna (Interviewed by Allesse Patterson)

Enrique Urueta (Interviewed by Daniel Dorsky)

Sabina Zuniga Varela (Interviewed by Sathya Miele)

Ryan Morales Green (Interviewed by Roman (Emmanuel) Broussard)