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Works Progress Austin: Casta by Adrienne Dawes

  • Hicks House 100 E 27th St, Austin, TX 78705 (map)

Salvage Vanguard Theater invites you to attend a staged reading of Casta by Adrienne Dawes, presented as part of Works Progress Austin. Launched in 2006, Works Progress Austin (WPA) provides playwrights with the resources they need to bring their work to life. Works Progress Austin has featured new works by Caridad Svich, Dan Dietz, and Sibyl Kempson.

Casta is inspired by a series of casta paintings by Miguel Cabrera, a mixed-race painter from Oaxaca. Casta paintings were a unique form of portraiture that grew in popularity over the 18th century in Nueva España/colonial Mexico. The paintings depicted different racial mixtures arranged according to a hierarchy defined by Spanish elites.

When a lowly apprentice is commissioned to paint a casta series for a wealthy patron, he tries to conform his work to a set hierarchy. The images revolt, illuminating a complex portrait of fluid Latinx identities.

In anticipation of the 2019 premiere, this Works Progress Austin workshop will support 2 weeks of rehearsal time, incorporating new puppets by designer Julia Smith and new music by composer Graham Reynolds. Founding creative team members Adrienne Dawes (playwright), Jenny Larson (director) and KhattieQ (performer) will return to Austin as part of this final development process. An ARTIST TALK with the playwright and guest speaker Laura G. Gutiérrez, Interim Chair and Associate Professor at The University of Texas at Austin, Department of Mexican American and Latina/o Studies, and Susan Deans-Smith, Associate Chair and Associate Professor at The University of Texas at Austin, Department of History and Faculty Affiliate, Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies, will follow the Saturday August 25th performance.

Written by Adrienne Dawes

Dramaturgy and Translation by Jesus Valles

Directed by Jenny Larson

Original score by Graham Reynolds 

Puppet Design by Julia Smith

ABOUT ADRIENNE DAWES: Adrienne Dawes is an award-winning playwright originally from Austin, TX. Her full length plays include: Denim Doves (2016), Am I White (2014, B. Iden Payne Award for Outstanding Script; David Mark Cohen New Play Award; Kilroys honorable mention), and You Are Pretty (2004, Stanley and Evelyn Lipkin Prize for Playwriting). Adrienne is a member of the Dramatists Guild, ScriptWorks and company member of Salvage Vanguard Theater. Adrienne is currently based in Tulsa, OK as part of the first writing cohort of the Tulsa Artist Fellowship, supported by the George Kaiser Family Foundation.


"Casta" is supported in part by the National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Ford Foundation, Southwest Airlines, and the Surdna Foundation through a grant from the NALAC Fund for the Arts Grant Program.                                  

This project is funded and supported in part by a grant from the Drama League, the Texas Commission on the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts. Art Works, and in part by the City of Austin Economic Development Department/Cultural Arts Division believing an investment in the Arts is an investment in Austin’s future.  This project is produced in coordination with the City of Austin’s Brush Square Museums and Parks and Recreation Department. Visit Austin at The City of Austin is proud to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. If you require assistance for participation in our programs or use of our facilities, please call (512) 474-SVT6   

Earlier Event: July 15
The Changelings by Hannah Wolf
Later Event: September 11
Tryouts by Adara Meyers