A Staged Reading of The River Bride

Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival Presents a Staged Reading of
Marisela Treviño Orta’s Brazilian Fairy Tale The River Bride

A staged reading of award-winning playwright Marisela Treviño Orta’s Latinx fairytale The River Bride will be presented for a limited engagement July 1 to July 3 at Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival, the professional theatre on the campus of DeSales University in Center Valley, PA.

The River Bride is part of a trilogy of fairy tales for adults written by Treviño Orta inspired by Latinx mythology, and influenced by the Brothers Grimm. The play was developed in residency with Altertheater Ensemble in San Rafael, California. It was elected as the National Latino Playwrighting Award Co-winner at the Arizona Theatre Company and it world premiered in 2016 at Oregon Shakespeare Festival.

Set in a small Brazilian fishing village along the Amazon River, The River Bride tells the tale of two sisters who struggle to find their own happily-ever-after when a mysterious visitor arrives before a much-anticipated family wedding. The river holds many secrets, and the sisters are tested to find their own ways to remain true to themselves and to each other.

Often compared to audiobooks and radio plays, a staged reading is a rehearsed read-through of a script performed in front of an audience. Performers can either sit or stand as they read from scripts on a music stand, and a narrator will read aloud the stage directions. Very few if any visual elements, such as props, sets, and costumes, are included. For audiences, staged readings can be a gateway to hear new plays and be exposed to playwrights they don’t yet know about.

The River Bride is directed by KJ Sanchez. Sanchez, who is the founder and CEO of American Records, also serves as Associate Professor at UT Austin and heads the MFA Playwrighting/Directing programs. A recipient of the 2014 Rella Lossy Playwright Award, she is both a Fox Fellow, and Douglas Wallop Fellow, and has worked as both a director and playwright in regional theatres across the country.

Washington, DC based actor, writer, and educator Alina Collins Maldonado, and PSF and DeSales University alumna Allie Vazquez will play the sisters Helena and Belmira, respectively. Maldonado currently serves as an Artist in Residence at University of Maryland’s Calrice Smith Performing Arts Center, developing her one-woman show, No Salgas Con El Pelo Mojado. As an educator, she builds programs and workshops to help guide young artists. She has performed on the stages of the Lincoln Center, Shakespeare Theatre Company, John F. Kennedy Center, GALA Hispanic Theatre, and Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, to name a few.  Vazquez, is a film, television, and stage actor who was most recently seen as Ana in Hulu’s Only Murders in the Building and as Anaya in Lover’s Leap at the Maryland Film Festival.

Joining them are Hugo Carbajal (Moises) and Eddie Cruz Jr. (Duarte). Carbajal is an actor, director and teacher who is currently a professor of drama at Los Medanos College and CSU Channel Islands. His credits include guest starring roles on television shows such as SWAT, Good Girls, and Brooklyn Nine Nine, to name a few. Cruz has worked regionally throughout the country performing at theatres such as Hartford Stage, Cape Cod Shakespeare Festival, and TheaterWorks.

Rounding out the cast are Orlando Arriaga as Señor Costa and Sheila Tapia as Señora Costa. Both Arriaga and Tapia have been seen in numerous regional productions across the country, in addition to having many Off-Broadway, film, and television credits.

Erin Joy Swank will serve as Stage Manager of the reading. Swank, who is a published author, having collaborated on Off Headset: Essays on Stage Management Work, Life, and Career, has worked in a variety of genres including five holiday seasons touring the Radio City Christmas Spectacular. 

The River Bride is presented by arrangement with Concord Theatricals on behalf of Samuel French, Inc. (www.concordtheatricals.com).

Kathleen Kund Nolan & Timothy E. Nolan are the 2022 Season Sponsors. Associate Season Sponsors are Douglas Dykhouse, Linda Lapos and Paul WirthThe Szarko Family, and Harry C. Trexler Trust.