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via Broadway World: Community Play Readings Return to L.A. Libraries

By: Stephi Wild Mar. 24, 2023


Through Center Theatre Group's Education and Community Partnerships' Community Play Readings, Boyle Heights libraries will be the first to experience new works from three local playwrights in March and May. The readings of these short plays will take place at the Benjamin Franklin Library, Malabar Library, and Robert Louis Stevenson Library.


The plays will include "Lola's Banig" written by Fran de Leon and directed by Giovanni Ortega, "The Exoneration of El Maestro" written by Anthony Aguilar and directed by Alejandra Cisneros, and "Sasha the Dragon Tamer" written and directed by Aja Houston.



"Making theatre a part of people's lives is why we go back to the libraries year after year, and the Boyle Heights libraries have been great partners in engaging the community," said Center Theatre Group's Community Partnerships Director Jesus Reyes. "Library patrons have been slow to return to their neighborhood library and I hope the Community Play Readings will attract them back - one play at a time."

Putting theatre at the center, Center Theatre Group works to connect community members and artists throughout L.A. by facilitating inclusive and thoughtful cultural conversations with free workshops, events, productions, discussions, and other activities that take place at traditional and nontraditional venues.

"We're so excited to welcome back Center Theatre Group's play reading series to the Malabar branch library," added Jessica Ko, Childrens Librarian at the Malabar Library. "These events are such a wonderful opportunity to gather our community together to enjoy an afternoon in the arts. The play readings are a great way to experience theatre performances in the neighborhood."

The readings include (in date order): 

"Lola's Banig" by Fran de Leon, directed by Giovanni Ortega

4 p.m., Tuesday, March 28 at Malabar Library

4 p.m. Wednesday, March 29 at Benjamin Franklin Library

4 p.m., Thursday, March 30, 2023 at Robert Louis Stevenson Library

When Gina, a single working mom, sits down to a Filipino breakfast with her daughter, Ligaya, flashbacks take them to a childhood in the Philippines when every Sunday was spent with relatives at her Lola's house. Recounting days of meriendas, chismis, and siestas on hand-woven banigs, Gina realizes there are painful moments of her life that have been cast away into the recesses of her mind. It takes Ligaya to unlock Gina's memory and pass down long-forgotten family traditions. A bilingual presentation, English and Tagalog.

"The Exoneration of El Maestro" by Anthony Aguilar, directed by Alejandra Cisneros

4 p.m., Tuesday, May 16 at Benjamin Franklin Library

4 p.m., Wednesday, May 17 at Robert Louis Stevenson Library

4 p.m., Thursday, May 18, 2023 at Malabar Library

El Maestro believes he is the greatest luchador of all time. But after 50 years in the ring, time has slipped away from him and so has his life! Now, he faces the Aztec gods in the afterlife and must convince them of a second chance on earth. It's the fight of the century as El Maestro faces his greatest opponent, his own ego. A bilingual presentation, English and Spanish.


"Sasha the Dragon Tamer" written and directed by Aja Houston

4 p.m., Tuesday, May 23 at Benjamin Franklin Library

4 p.m., Wednesday, May 24 at Robert Louis Stevenson Library

4 p.m., Thursday, May 25, 2023 at Malabar Library

Sasha, a quirky wordsmith, struggles to adjust to being the new girl at Kingdom Academy. When she bests the most popular kid in school in a Spelling Bee, their ensuing argument earns them detention. But on their way, they fall into a magical portal that brings them face-to-face with a fearsome dragon. Sasha must think on her feet to avoid being eaten during her first week of school. Presented in English. 


The Malabar Library is located at 2801 Wabash Ave., Los Angeles, 90033; the Benjamin Franklin Library is located at 2200 E. 1st St. Los Angeles, 90033; and the Robert Louis Stevenson Library is located at 803 Spence St., Los Angeles, 90023. For more information about the readings, email jreyes@ctgla.org. More information on Center Theatre Group's community programs can be found at CenterTheatreGroup.org/Community.


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