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BROADWAY WORLD: Two River Theater Announces 10th Annual Crossing Borders Festival

by Taylor Brethauer-Hamling

Since 2011, Two River Theater has introduced new voices from across the country to their annual Crossing Borders (Cruzano Fronteras) Festival of new plays by Latinx playwrights. This year’s playwrights explore stories about family history, computer science, teens navigating the “new normal”, and a makeshift family arriving at the cusp of the 22nd century. The festival is curated by the theater’s long-term collaborator and award-winning director, José Zayas (Two River’s El Coquí Espectacular and the Bottle of DoomPinkolandia). The Video Editor is Jaime Vallés with AJV Media and the Line Producer/Asst. Video Editor is Kat West.

“I love these plays and am so honored to present them and to work with the remarkable group of artists who have brought their joy and their restless intellects to telling these stories that speak so eloquently to this very difficult moment. Everyone has met the challenge of creating during the pandemic with such surprising results and I’m very excited to share this with the world. These plays matter because they want change, they demand to be heard, they show us moments of crisis that transcend boundaries and they suggest possible ways forward into uncertain but thrilling futures”, says Crossing Borders Curator, José Zayas.

For the first time in the festival’s history, readings will be presented virtually, allowing free access to all nationwide and around the globe—allowing the art to cross borders and time zones in a very literal sense.

Access to the free online festival will begin on September 13 and run through October 10 and will include four new play readings. All readings will be available with captioning.

SCHEDULE OF READINGS

CIERTAS ASTILLAS/CERTAIN SHARDS
By Paz Pardo
Directed by José Zayas

Run Time: 1 hour 27 minutes

A splintered playwright tries to find a way to tell her story; two wanderers walk away from their memories—or lack thereof; two private investigators search for a missing person in a warehouse of boxes slowly filling with chinchillas.

Cast: Olivia Jampol, Irene Sofia Lucio, Jacqueline Guillén and Socorro Santiago

Stage Directions: Karina Curet
Stage Manager: Elis Cesar Arroyo Jaime

MACHINE LEARNING
By Francisco Mendoza
Directed by José Zayas

Run Time: 1 hour 55 minutes

When his estranged, alcoholic father is diagnosed with liver cancer, computer scientist Jorge dreams up a nursing app to manage the disease in his stead. As the machine’s capabilities grow, however, the possibility of leaving it in charge of the treatment becomes more real, forcing Jorge to reckon with his responsibilities as a son—and as a creator.

Cast: Jake Ryan Lozano, Reynaldo Piniella, Aadya Bedi, Gerardo Rodriguez and Donovan Monzón-Sanders

Stage Directions: Matthew Cubillos
Stage Manager: Elis Cesar Arroyo Jaime

SYZYGY OR, THE CEASING OF THE SUN
By juliany f. taveras

Directed by Dominique Rider

Run Time: 39 minutes

On the cusp of the 22nd century, in a city (or whatever it is that’s left), a star-crossed, makeshift family of five is born. A meditation on how love & chaos behave when it feels like the world is falling apart—what does it mean for us if, in fact, the world has always been ending? how do we love? how do we fight?

Cast: Jackie Torres, Francesca Fernandez McKenzie, Esco Jouléy, Imani Russell and Socorro Santiago

Stage Directions: Andrea Negrete

Stage Manager: Elizabeth Yvette Ramirez

OPTIONAL BOSS BATTLE

By Nick Malakhow
Directed by Rebecca Martínez

Run Time: 1 hour 40 minutes

Like teens all over the world, Alonso and Ruben are forced into remote learning in March of 2020 due to the COVID pandemic. Icy acquaintances at their bougie prep school, they forge an unlikely friendship when new-in-town, grieving Ruben realizes he lives just around the corner from agoraphobic Alonso in Hackensack, NJ. A story about processing grief, forging connection, coming to terms with identity, and caring for one’s mental health in tumultuous times.

Cast: Reynaldo Piniella, Jake Ryan Lozano, Ana Grosse, Zuleyma Guevara, Jorge Cordova and Peter Ruiz

Stage Directions: Peter Ruiz

Stage Manager: Elizabeth Yvette Ramirez

FREE TICKETS/ACCESS

To reserve access to the free online festival visit: tworivertheater.org/whats-on/crossing-borders-2021/

An email with the access link will be sent to all who register in advance on Monday, September 13 at 12PM and will be sent in real time for all who register after the festival launch. All four readings will be available from September 13 through October 10.

ABOUT CROSSING BORDERS

Crossing Borders (Cruzando Fronteras) is an annual celebration of new plays by Latinx theater artists. The 2019 festival, curated by José Zayas, included plays by Mando Alvarado (Living and Breathing, directed by Rebecca Martínez), Benjamin Benne (Alma, directed by Catherine María Rodríguez), Georgina Escobar (StoneHeart, directed by José Zayas) and Eliana Pipes (Dream Hou$e, directed by Cristina Angeles), and music by Flaco Navaja & The Razor Blades. More than 900 people joined us for readings, concerts and free community events.

Since Crossing Borders (Cruzando Fronteras) launched in 2011, three productions developed in the festival have gone on to mainstage productions at the theater.

SPONSORSHIP

Two River Theater’s 2021/22 Season Sponsor is Hackensack Meridian Health Riverview Medical Center.

Two River Theater is supported in part by public support through the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Private support includes Bank of America, Mary Owen Borden Foundation, Denholtz Properties, The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Helen Clay Frick Foundation, The Merrill G. and Emita E. Hastings Foundation, Horizon Foundation of New Jersey, Investors Foundation, Jewish Communal Fund, Jewish Federation in the Heart of New Jersey, The Blanche and Irving Laurie Foundation, Manasquan Bank Foundation, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, The William T. Morris Foundation, OceanFirst Foundation, PNC Foundation, The Shubert Foundation, The John Ben Snow Memorial Trust, The Stone Foundation of New Jersey,  Visiting Nurse Association Health Group, Zager Fuchs, PC, and many other generous foundations, corporations and individuals.

Two River Theater produces a theatrical season that includes American and world classics, new plays and musicals, programs for young people, and festivals of new work. Each year, we also offer 40+ events that reflect our diverse community of Red Bank, New Jersey. Two River produces work on two stages—the 350-seat Rechnitz Theater, and the flexible 110-seat Marion Huber Theater. The theater’s recently opened Center for New Work, Education and Design is a three-story facility that includes two rehearsal studios, artist labs, classrooms, expanded shops and centrally located offices. Two River Theater has commissioned and premiered original projects including Be More Chill by Tony Award nominee Joe Iconis and Joe Tracz (the theater’s first Broadway production) and Hurricane Diane by Playwright-in-Residence Madeleine George (which won an Obie Award for its Off-Broadway run). In June 2019, Two River was nationally recognized by USA TODAY as one of “10 great places to see a play” across the U.S. Two River serves thousands of students and community members through arts and humanities programs at the theater, in schools and throughout its region. Two River Theater is led by Artistic Director John Dias and Managing Director Michael Hurst.