David Davila

David Davila

David Davila is a writer, performer, director, comedian, and dramaturg from South Texas; where the border wall's been standing since the Bush administration. Winner of the 2022 National New Play Network Smith Prize for Political Theatre and the 2021 New American Voices National Playwriting Award, his work stands at the intersection of queer-culture and mestizaje ranging from plays and musicals, to poetry...
David Davila is a writer, performer, director, comedian, and dramaturg from South Texas; where the border wall's been standing since the Bush administration. Winner of the 2022 National New Play Network Smith Prize for Political Theatre and the 2021 New American Voices National Playwriting Award, his work stands at the intersection of queer-culture and mestizaje ranging from plays and musicals, to poetry and stand-up comedy. Plays and musicals include MANUEL VERSUS THE STATUE OF LIBERTY (O'Neill Finalist, NYMF Best Musical Nomination 2015, Best Reading 2014, Princeton University 2016, Gallery Players BK 2018), ANIMAL HUSBANDRY (NY Fringe 2019, Barn Arts, Feast, Summer Fresh Festival), AZTEC PIRATES, A LATINX FANTASIA ON NATIONAL THEMES (San Diego Rep Latinx New Play Festival, PlayGround Experiment), HOTEL PUERTO VALLARTA (Variations Theatre, Latinx Playwrights Circle, Egg and Spoon), ADAN Y JULIO Y LA FRONTERA 2003 (O'Neill Semi-Finalist, Lone Star, Viva SA), PROMÈSA (Developmental Residency at Musical Theatre Factory), VOX POP (Musical Theatre Factory, 54 Below New Musicals), PYRAMID (Lincoln Center Across A Crowded Room Series 2015), #52SONGS (Beechman, The West End, The Underground, The Triad), THE MAGIC TIME MACHINE (Beachman), NASH POTATOES & DAVY (The West End), TALES FROM HWY 281 (Intar Theatre), THE PIÑATA (Indiana University), THE MESQUITE TREE (Theatre Audaz), and NAFTA OR THE INVISIBLE HAND OF GOD TOUCHED ME IN A BAD PLACE (Smith Prize for Political Theatre). His short plays have been featured by The PlayGround Experiment, NYMadness, Primary Stages, Bloomington Playwrights Project, Feast, ESPA, Second City Chicago, Prospect Theatre, and Lone Star Theatre. He studied vocal performance at the University of North Texas, Arts Administration at The University of Texas San Antonio, playwriting at Primary Stages’ Einhorn School of the Performing Arts and comedy writing at Second City Chicago. He is the founding Artistic Director of Lone Star Theatre Company, an avid sketch comedy and improv performer, a Rockwell Scholar, a Playwrights Horizons Artist Grant Recipient, a Roundabout Theatre Co SpaceJam resident, an Askins Playwright Fellow, a Disney TV Fellowship semi-finalist, and a proud member of ASCAP. Currently, you can find him in Bloomington, where he's an MFA Playwriting Fellow at Indiana University.

Plays

  • AZTEC PIRATES & THE INSIGNIFICANCE OF LIFE ON MARS
    [FULL LENGTH] What makes someone a traitor to their race? Johnny Montenegro is an ICE agent trying to put back the pieces of his life after an alleged incident got him suspended from duty. But if he really beat an undocumented immigrant half to death, then why can't he remember? Why can he only hear the man's voice echoing in his head, over and over, accusing him of genocide? Equipped with only his...
    [FULL LENGTH] What makes someone a traitor to their race? Johnny Montenegro is an ICE agent trying to put back the pieces of his life after an alleged incident got him suspended from duty. But if he really beat an undocumented immigrant half to death, then why can't he remember? Why can he only hear the man's voice echoing in his head, over and over, accusing him of genocide? Equipped with only his commands Johnny embarks on a dark odyssey searing for the truth about his country, his culture, and his memory as he seeks the validation he needs to continue living complicitly.

    Across borders and allegiances this three part fantasia takes you on a harrowing and disturbing adventure that examines life for LatinX people caught between embracing their roots and conforming to the mob mentality of a Trump-era USA.

    Part 1 in the epic trilogy: Aztec Pirates, a Latinx Fantasia on National Themes
  • HOTEL PUERTO VALLARTA, a legitimate work of dramatic theatre
    [FULL LENGTH] The Hotel Puerto Valarta (with one "L") is the second most popular drag resort in sunny Puerto Vallarta - which ain't saying much considering there's only two. Though it hasn't been remodeled by the fab five or any other interior designer since the early nineties, some would call its shabbiness chic. Still, others would call an Über to take them to a nicer hotel. That won...
    [FULL LENGTH] The Hotel Puerto Valarta (with one "L") is the second most popular drag resort in sunny Puerto Vallarta - which ain't saying much considering there's only two. Though it hasn't been remodeled by the fab five or any other interior designer since the early nineties, some would call its shabbiness chic. Still, others would call an Über to take them to a nicer hotel. That won't stop local drag has-been turned hotel manager, Connie Guisada from dreaming of one day being able to restore it to its former glory! So imagine how Connie and the other queens react when they find out their boss, Barbra Coa, has plans to sell to developers and leave them all unemployed. Can Connie prevent the sale of the Hotel Puerto Valarta (with one "L") by end of business day or will she be turning tricks with the half-naked hustlers out on Playa de los Muertos?
  • AZTEC PIRATES & THE INEQUITY OF SACRIFICE
    [FULL LENGTH] Three years after the deadly actions of ICE agent Johnny Montenegro changed their lives forever, Elida wants closure, Carmen wants absolution, and Michelle wants justice. But as they try to move on from the events of that traumatic night in South Texas, looming mysteries and visions of prophetic Aztec Warriors force them into a journey that will entangle their lives further.

    Across...
    [FULL LENGTH] Three years after the deadly actions of ICE agent Johnny Montenegro changed their lives forever, Elida wants closure, Carmen wants absolution, and Michelle wants justice. But as they try to move on from the events of that traumatic night in South Texas, looming mysteries and visions of prophetic Aztec Warriors force them into a journey that will entangle their lives further.

    Across borders and allegiances this three part fantasia takes you on a harrowing and disturbing adventure that examines life for Latinx people caught between embracing their roots and conforming to the mob mentality of a Trump-era USA.

    Part 2 in the epic trilogy: Aztec Pirates, a Latinx Fantasia on National Themes
  • THE MESQUITE TREE, an American Tragedy
    [FULL LENGTH] With a little bit of masa and some leftover meat, a single mother can make enough tamales to feed her family for an entire month; but Blanca wants more for her granddaughter than to be pregnant at fifteen and stuck in a small house in South Texas with five generations of her abuelas. Can she change her family’s destiny before there’s another mouth to feed?

    The Mesquite Tree received...
    [FULL LENGTH] With a little bit of masa and some leftover meat, a single mother can make enough tamales to feed her family for an entire month; but Blanca wants more for her granddaughter than to be pregnant at fifteen and stuck in a small house in South Texas with five generations of her abuelas. Can she change her family’s destiny before there’s another mouth to feed?

    The Mesquite Tree received a workshop production with five performances at Teatro Audaz in San Antonio, TX in July of 2022.
  • ANIMAL HUSBANDRY, a gay bedroom drama
    [FULL LENGTH] Like two doomed stars circling a black hole, Danny and Gerry are the most passionate of lovers who can't seem to stay away from each other even as they burn toward oblivion. Gerry sees in Danny a second chance at youth while Danny sees in Gerry the love he never got from his father; but are they helping each other or hurting each other? Animal Husbandry is a gay bedroom drama that explores an...
    [FULL LENGTH] Like two doomed stars circling a black hole, Danny and Gerry are the most passionate of lovers who can't seem to stay away from each other even as they burn toward oblivion. Gerry sees in Danny a second chance at youth while Danny sees in Gerry the love he never got from his father; but are they helping each other or hurting each other? Animal Husbandry is a gay bedroom drama that explores an explosive Daddy/Son romance and deconstructs the roles that psychosexual desires play in adult relationships.

    ***WARNING: Explicit content, violence, and nudity***
  • ADAN Y JULIO Y LA FRONTERA 2003
    [FULL LENGTH] Set against the violent backdrop of the Texas/Mexico border in 2003, this action-packed romance follows Adan, a teenage assassin hell bent on getting revenge against the drug lord who killed his entire family. But his plans are turned upside down when he falls in love with Julio; the drug lord's son. He wants nothing more than to runaway with this beautiful creature across the Rio Grande and...
    [FULL LENGTH] Set against the violent backdrop of the Texas/Mexico border in 2003, this action-packed romance follows Adan, a teenage assassin hell bent on getting revenge against the drug lord who killed his entire family. But his plans are turned upside down when he falls in love with Julio; the drug lord's son. He wants nothing more than to runaway with this beautiful creature across the Rio Grande and escape the fates they seem destined to endure, but fate has other plans. Drag Queens and hit men go toe to toe in this dangerous and cheeky adaption of Romeo & Juliet, filled with adventure that will keep you on the edge of your seat.

    [Click the link to watch a video of a cold read of the script]
  • THE PIÑATA
    [FULL LENGTH] It's 1935 and the lives of several prostitutes in South Texas, and the ranch hands that visit them, are changed forever when Lina creates the most beautiful piñata any of them have ever seen. Is it art? Is it crafts? Is it more of a feeling? Or is it just a piñata that needs to be smashed before Cuca gets an idea she can't un-think? As the ranchers begin to question their place in...
    [FULL LENGTH] It's 1935 and the lives of several prostitutes in South Texas, and the ranch hands that visit them, are changed forever when Lina creates the most beautiful piñata any of them have ever seen. Is it art? Is it crafts? Is it more of a feeling? Or is it just a piñata that needs to be smashed before Cuca gets an idea she can't un-think? As the ranchers begin to question their place in society, Cuca and Lina find themselves torn between the obligations of the dry Texas brush and the dream that they could actually be together.

    THE PIÑATA received a workshop production at Indiana University in February of 2022, directed by Lauren Diesch.
  • MANUEL VS THE STATUE OF LIBERTY, an undocumented musical-comedy
    [MUSICAL] Manuel is as American as Taco Salad and student debt, but if he wants to go to college himself he'll have to risk coming out as an undocumented immigrant. That could be extra tricky now that new immigration reform laws require all so-called-illegal immigrants to fight the Statue of Liberty (a genderqueer rock n’ roll version of the American icon) in a real life high stakes boxing match for their...
    [MUSICAL] Manuel is as American as Taco Salad and student debt, but if he wants to go to college himself he'll have to risk coming out as an undocumented immigrant. That could be extra tricky now that new immigration reform laws require all so-called-illegal immigrants to fight the Statue of Liberty (a genderqueer rock n’ roll version of the American icon) in a real life high stakes boxing match for their green-cards. Is Manuel brave enough or even crazy enough to take on the two-hundred and twenty-five ton mammoth of copper and steel? This raucous, award-winning, musical comedy leaps from Latin rhythms to rap and hip-hop to glam rock to soaring Broadway ballads as our hero navigates a treacherous world where any stranger could become an enemy, and even baby Jesus can be deported.

    "The Statue of Liberty should always be played by a transgendered woman in a sea-foam-green cape and boxing trunks!" - The New York Times

    "Brave and ambitious in both form and content! As entertaining as it is enlightening! Davila and de la Puente use an idiosyncratic mix of pop, rock, Latin, and hip-hop to tell their story in a manner reminiscent of Lin-Manuel Miranda." - Theatremania

    "Manuel Vs the Statue of Liberty is an essential piece of musical theater that captures lightning in a bottle!"
    - Stagebuddy.com

    “Manuel versus the Statue of Liberty” remains a scorching critique of immigration policies in the United States and resounding celebration of the human spirit!" - Theatre Reviews Limited

    "An emotional sucker punch to the gut!" - NYMF Unauthorized

    Music & Lyrics by David Davila
    Book & Lyrics by Noemi de la Puente
  • 1970'S COLLEGE SEX COMEDY, a derivative farcical flop
    [FULL LENGTH] It's 1978 in small town South Texas and Freddy Vasquez just dropped acid in order to hype himself up to make whoopie with the hot chick in his dorm room and prove to himself and everyone else that he indeed likes hot chicks. He doesn't. He's actually madly in love with his hunky roommate Greg who walks around in nothing but a towel. Luckily for him, his drug induced Elton John sex...
    [FULL LENGTH] It's 1978 in small town South Texas and Freddy Vasquez just dropped acid in order to hype himself up to make whoopie with the hot chick in his dorm room and prove to himself and everyone else that he indeed likes hot chicks. He doesn't. He's actually madly in love with his hunky roommate Greg who walks around in nothing but a towel. Luckily for him, his drug induced Elton John sex fantasy has come to life to help him plot the perfect scheme to get rid of this girl and bed Greg. It's a swinging key-party fantasia packed with penis puppets, Richard Nixon costumes, and Dolly Parton impersonators! Get ready for a disco-extravaganza you won't soon forget!

    Written for the Indiana University Dept of Theatre and Dance. Watch their 2023 production in the video link.

  • SCISSORS UNDER THE HOUSE
    [FULL LENGTH] When Noelia and Melinda Ramirez find the corpses of three stray cats hanging from their porch they suspect that someone is using dark magic to curse them. They are quick to follow the advice of their local curandera, and dig a mote of protection around their small house. But as Señora Lerma warned, if they find scissors when they dig - it might already be too late. Can they find out who has it in...
    [FULL LENGTH] When Noelia and Melinda Ramirez find the corpses of three stray cats hanging from their porch they suspect that someone is using dark magic to curse them. They are quick to follow the advice of their local curandera, and dig a mote of protection around their small house. But as Señora Lerma warned, if they find scissors when they dig - it might already be too late. Can they find out who has it in for them and reverse this evil curse before it's too late? And who is this woman wearing feathers that baby Sylvia keeps seeing?

    Scissors Under the House is a horror based on true events.
  • VOX POP! a Post-Democratic Musical
    [MUSICAL] In the distant future, a group of rebel troubadours is surrounded on all sides by the deadly forces of an oppressive regime. In their last few moments of freedom they have only one chance left to pass along the tale of Vox Populi, a sacred secret that tells of the rise and fall of a great mythical society. Can they pass along the legend to their children before they're captured and save future...
    [MUSICAL] In the distant future, a group of rebel troubadours is surrounded on all sides by the deadly forces of an oppressive regime. In their last few moments of freedom they have only one chance left to pass along the tale of Vox Populi, a sacred secret that tells of the rise and fall of a great mythical society. Can they pass along the legend to their children before they're captured and save future democracies from corruption, or is there no such thing as democracy without corruption?

    Book, Music, & Lyrics by David Davila
  • THE INVISIBLE HAND OF GOD TOUCHED ME IN A BAD PLACE, a power play
    [FULL LENGTH] When mid-level manager Jaime Ramirez gets the promotion of a lifetime, he’s sure moving his family to central Mexico will change their lives for the better. But his plans are turned on their head when he falls for his employee, a queer femme presenting non-binary AMAB person set on changing working conditions and extinguishing American capitalist ideals. Should he fire them and squash their labor...
    [FULL LENGTH] When mid-level manager Jaime Ramirez gets the promotion of a lifetime, he’s sure moving his family to central Mexico will change their lives for the better. But his plans are turned on their head when he falls for his employee, a queer femme presenting non-binary AMAB person set on changing working conditions and extinguishing American capitalist ideals. Should he fire them and squash their labor rebellion, risking a sexual harassment suit in the process, or should he join the fight against his greedy employers and sacrifice the fortunes they’ve promised him? It's Boal meets Nottage in this interactive-hybrid-dramedy that casts the audience as the striking factory workers tasked with leveraging these characters' rights for a little piece of power. Choose your own adventure in this post-experimental satire packed with sexual tension you won't soon forget!

    Winner of the National New Play Network Smith Prize for Political Theatre.
  • PROMÈSA, a mariachi musical
    [MUSICAL] Promesa is a mariachi musical across four centuries that takes you on a pilgrimage to the shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City. Yaretzi, an Aztec woman after the fall of Tenochtitlan, Leonora, a soldadera in the Mexican Revolution, and Milagros, a doctor at the height of the AIDS epidemic, all undertake this difficult pilgrimage to the sacred site at El Tepeyac in hopes of a miracle. Not all...
    [MUSICAL] Promesa is a mariachi musical across four centuries that takes you on a pilgrimage to the shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City. Yaretzi, an Aztec woman after the fall of Tenochtitlan, Leonora, a soldadera in the Mexican Revolution, and Milagros, a doctor at the height of the AIDS epidemic, all undertake this difficult pilgrimage to the sacred site at El Tepeyac in hopes of a miracle. Not all of them will get the miracle they want, but perhaps faith itself is the miracle they need.

    Book, Music, & Lyrics by Noemi de la Puente & David Davila
  • ROMAN Á CLEF, a solo musical
    [MUSICAL] After the sudden death of his high school choir director and longtime mentor, Roman, now thirty-five, is completely lost. As he unpacks the memories of his childhood bedroom he relives the hilarious and often painful memories of an adolescence that he begins to realize might have been manipulated and groomed by the adults around him. ROMAN Á CLEF is a heart-wrenching solo musical that is most-...
    [MUSICAL] After the sudden death of his high school choir director and longtime mentor, Roman, now thirty-five, is completely lost. As he unpacks the memories of his childhood bedroom he relives the hilarious and often painful memories of an adolescence that he begins to realize might have been manipulated and groomed by the adults around him. ROMAN Á CLEF is a heart-wrenching solo musical that is most-definitely, one-hundred percent, absolutely not autobiographical!
  • EVERYTHING IS NOT GOING TO BE OKAY
    [FULL LENGTH] Oscar has somehow managed to survive the wars of extinction by sailing down the gulf of Mexico until he finds the one safe place for hundreds of miles in the Northern Mexican city of Matamoros. But in order to stay in the protected haven, he'll have to stand trial and prove to the ruling matriarchy that he isn't to blame for the United States' crimes against Mother Earth. The...
    [FULL LENGTH] Oscar has somehow managed to survive the wars of extinction by sailing down the gulf of Mexico until he finds the one safe place for hundreds of miles in the Northern Mexican city of Matamoros. But in order to stay in the protected haven, he'll have to stand trial and prove to the ruling matriarchy that he isn't to blame for the United States' crimes against Mother Earth. The audience decides the fate of our hero in this nail-biting immersive theatre experience.
  • THE RATTLE OF THE SNAKE, AND OTHER NIGHTMARES
    [FULL LENGTH] A family struggles with the shame of a child surviving sexual trauma in this hybrid hellscape of nightmares that is equal parts theatre of cruelty and dystopian choreopoem.
  • RED LIGHT / GREEN LIGHT
    [10 MIN] An employee at a corporate office returns after taking leave to find that he has missed the new sensitivity training.
  • THE BETRAYAL OF JULIUS CAESAR
    [10 MIN] Julius Caesar awakens from a terrible nightmare in the middle of the night to discover that his life is being narrated by a mysterious yet familiar figure - betrayal and hilarity ensue.
  • FOR EVERY ACTION THERE IS AN EQUAL AND OPPOSITE REACTION
    [10 MIN] When Carli, a non-binary, effeminate, LatinX person, is late for their shift at the hotel, it leads them into a tragic altercation with their homophobic, machismo, boss.
  • THE LAST VIRGIN IN SCHOOL
    [20 MIN] Seneca Jade must win the Little Miss Big Tex pageant or her brother and her won't eat, and her sister will be stuck in jail. But when the talent portion of her pageant goes terribly wrong she is forced to confront the horrifying nature of her family's history of incest and how she has somehow been neglected by it. Wanting any form of love and affection she can find she turns to her teacher,...
    [20 MIN] Seneca Jade must win the Little Miss Big Tex pageant or her brother and her won't eat, and her sister will be stuck in jail. But when the talent portion of her pageant goes terribly wrong she is forced to confront the horrifying nature of her family's history of incest and how she has somehow been neglected by it. Wanting any form of love and affection she can find she turns to her teacher, her gay brother, and the last virgin in school to rid her of the curse of her sexuality. This appalling study of abused children and the impoverished white class marries high camp, dark comedy, and magical realism to tell the tale of an innocent little girl who just wants to be loved.

    Written with specific parameters given by a 24 hour play festival hosted by Lone Star Theatre Company in 2014.
  • WATCH US SIT IN: LIVE!
    [10 MIN] Two University of Texas college students live broadcast their sit-in protest of the secret Texas vote to close many abortion clinics in 2013.

    This play was originally produced as part of an evening of plays inspired by Wendy Davis and her fight against Texas law makers trying to take away women's reproductive rights in 2013. THE CAPITOL PLAYS premiered at the Ken Davenport Theatre...
    [10 MIN] Two University of Texas college students live broadcast their sit-in protest of the secret Texas vote to close many abortion clinics in 2013.

    This play was originally produced as part of an evening of plays inspired by Wendy Davis and her fight against Texas law makers trying to take away women's reproductive rights in 2013. THE CAPITOL PLAYS premiered at the Ken Davenport Theatre (formerly the 45th st Theatre) on May 13th, 2013 and featured original plays by David Davila, Lindsay Hicks, Mando Alvarado, and Raquel Almazan. The plays were directed by Christopher Romero-Wilson and starred Claudia Acosta, Anissa Felix, Laura Gomez, Kristoffer Infante, Kristen Leger, and John Mazurek.
  • KING CHARLES THE FIRST
    [10 MIN] Oliver Cromwell questions King Charles the first and members of his court on matters related to high treason. It does not go well.
  • BETTER THAN SEX
    [10 MIN] A single guy gets grilled by his family about his sex life at a small wine and cheese gathering.
  • FREE THROW!
    [10 MIN] It's 30 seconds to end of the basketball game and the Indiana University Hoosiers have to make these two free-throws or Simon could lose everything.

    Written for the Bloomington Playwrights Project 2021 "Play-Offs." Directed by John Armstrong and starring Jaden Schniderman, Rachel Claussman, and Davis Later.
  • IF THEY COME FOR ME IN THE MORNING THEY WILL COME FOR YOU AT NIGHT
    [10 MIN] An ICE agent is forced to recall the events that led to his suspension. However, the story he weaves might be far from the actual events which he wishes he could forget. The ten-minute play that inspired the Aztec Pirates Trilogy.

    This play was originally written for a Lone Star Theatre Co festival of short plays in 2018. It had a subsequent reading at the PlayGround Experiment, and...
    [10 MIN] An ICE agent is forced to recall the events that led to his suspension. However, the story he weaves might be far from the actual events which he wishes he could forget. The ten-minute play that inspired the Aztec Pirates Trilogy.

    This play was originally written for a Lone Star Theatre Co festival of short plays in 2018. It had a subsequent reading at the PlayGround Experiment, and received its world premiere in 2022 at Bloomington Playwrights Project in collaboration with Teatro Vida, directed by David Davila.
  • VERONICA'S RECIPE FOR GUACAMOLE
    [10 MIN] Veronica gives the audience a step-by-step guide to making her famous guacamole, as the painful memories of her ex-lover flood her consciousness with every ingredient she adds to the molcajete.