Overlooked Latinas: Tina D’Elia is a Solo Star
Few enjoy a good, gender non-confirming, queer Latinx story better than Bay Area residents. Tina D’Elia comes to you from the future in her laugh out loud solo performance at the Brava Theater in San Francisco now through March 3.
D’Elia and Guzmán are long-time creative partners who teamed up once again to bring you Overlooked Latinas as performer/writer and director, continuing to explore the topics of race, sex, and homophobia in their works with an emphasis on the Latinx community. Their previous works include: Groucho (2005-2007) and the solo show The Rita Hayworth of this Generation, which won Best of Fringe and Best of Sold Out in 2015.
This time the story chronicles two queer Latinx characters, Angel Torres, and her best friend, Carla Garcia. Their TV pilot has been picked up by NBC and Angel could not be more thrilled but in true telenovela style, her life is about to be upended as her professional and personal life intertwine like never before and unhinge unprecedented melodrama.
We were able to sit-down for an interview with D’Elia whose genuine personality and natural knack for comedy shined through from beginning to end. Here are some of our favorite moments from our exclusive LatinX interview.
LatinX: What does the Latinx term mean to you? Do you think the LGBTQ community uses it more?
D’Elia: The term Latinx is an inclusive term and one which I use from time to time as a Latina and reference my characters as being Latinx. It’s an all-encompassing term which I feel akin to and I do think the LGBTQ community uses it more often.
LatinX: What motivated you to create a queer telenovela?
D’Elia: I had created another show called Rita Haywarth of This Generation. It was primarily a drama and I always like to include a historical piece. Part of it was that I have a style of combining the past with cinematic legendary performers and putting my own queer spin on it. I wanted to create something with a lot of humor but also tell the untold story of actors like Dolores del Rio who was a famous Mexican movie star that was blacklisted in America because of her leftist political leanings. She was denied her work visa, lost her role and did not do film for a long time. Although she did maintain a busy life in Mexico as an actress and had lovers like Frida Khalo.
I created this story to give people hope and provide humor during recent times of political uncertainty and discord.
LatinX: When people walk out of watching your performance, what do you want them to leave with?
D’Elia: Although much progress has been made for those of us who are part of the Latinx community there is still more work to be done. I want to give them hope but also highlight the reality that the struggle continues. This story has helped me personally get through the last couple of years the best way I know how: through comedic relief. It also filled me with optimism for the future as we’ve witnessed the youth raise their voices louder and elevate issues of race, sex, and homophobia which are so important to me.
LatinX: What do you hope for the Latinx community? Where do you see things going?
D’Elia: I see the Latinx community feeling more empowered to connect globally and have more hope about continuing to build an even more inclusive world; be that through acting, story-telling, music, shows, etc.
Meet the characters from Overlooked Latinas.
Catch “Overlooked Latinas” at the Brava Theater through March 3.
The show is Written & Performed by Tina D’Elia and Directed by Mary Guzmán.