Caridad Svich

Caridad Svich

Caridad Svich's signature plays include 12 OPHELIAS, IPHIGENIA CRASH LAND FALLS..., and ALCHEMY OF DESIRE/DEAD-MAN'S BLUES. Her first film FUGITIVE DREAMS (to be released) is based on her play FUGITIVE PIECES. She received the 2012 OBIE for Lifetime Achievement and a 2018 Tanne Foundation Award, as well as the Ellen Stewart Award for Career Achievement in Professional Theatre from ATHE. Her play RED...
Caridad Svich's signature plays include 12 OPHELIAS, IPHIGENIA CRASH LAND FALLS..., and ALCHEMY OF DESIRE/DEAD-MAN'S BLUES. Her first film FUGITIVE DREAMS (to be released) is based on her play FUGITIVE PIECES. She received the 2012 OBIE for Lifetime Achievement and a 2018 Tanne Foundation Award, as well as the Ellen Stewart Award for Career Achievement in Professional Theatre from ATHE. Her play RED BIKE is the recipient of an NNPN Rollling World Premiere. She also received an NNPN rolling world premiere and a 2012 Edgerton Foundation New Play Award for her play GUAPA, a 2011 American Theatre Critics Association Primus Prize for THE HOUSE OF THE SPIRITS (based on Isabel Allende's novel), and has twice won the National Latino Playwriting Award, including in the year 2013 for her play SPARK.
She is also a theatrical translator, chiefly known for translations of the plays of Federico Garcia Lorca. Her plays have been seen across the US and abroad at diverse venues, among them Denver Center Theatre, Mixed Blood Theatre, San Diego Repertory Theatre, 59E59, The Women's Project, Gala Hispanic Theatre, Milagro Theatre Group, Borderlands, Phoenix Theatre, Teatro Mori (Chile), Artheater (Cologne), Ilkhom Theatre (Uzbekistan), and Edinburgh Fringe Festival. She sustains a parallel career as a lyricist, editor, freelance arts journalist, and educator. Her works are published by TCG, Smith & Kraus, Broadway Play Publishing, Intellect UK, Manchester University Press, Eyecorner Press, Seagull Books, StageReads and more. She has edited several books on theatre and performance, among them FIFTY PLAYWRIGHTS ON THEIR CRAFT (Bloomsbury/Methuen Drama), Mitchell & Trask's HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH (4th Wall Series , Routledge). She is alumna playwright of New Dramatists, Associate Editor of Contemporary Theatre Review for Routledge UK, Drama Editor of Asymptote literary journal, contributing editor of TheatreForum, founder of NoPassport theatre alliance and press, and serves on the advisory board of the US-Mexico Exchange Program at the Lark Play Development Center, and Global Performance Studies journal. She holds an MFA from UCSD, and also trained for four consecutive years with Maria Irene Fornes.

Plays

  • RED BIKE
    2018-2019 NNPN Rolling World Premiere.

    What kind of future will you have living in these here United States? Remember when you were eleven years old and you had a bike, one that made you dream about a world bigger than the one in which you live? This is that memory. Except it is now. A play for one performer (two or three). This is the first play in the AMERICAN PSALM seven-play cycle. ......
    2018-2019 NNPN Rolling World Premiere.

    What kind of future will you have living in these here United States? Remember when you were eleven years old and you had a bike, one that made you dream about a world bigger than the one in which you live? This is that memory. Except it is now. A play for one performer (two or three). This is the first play in the AMERICAN PSALM seven-play cycle. ... "Svich's RED BIKE is s luminous piece that tackles our common dreams and dangers with magic, poetry, and a sense of both possibility and loneliness. A beautiful work!" -- Cristina Garcia (novelist, Dreaming in Cuban)

    "In RED BIKE, Svich sees poetry in the everyday, passion in politics, power in citizenship. In this play-monologue told from the perspective of pre adolescent exploring a world in distress (closed businesses, poverty on the street), Svich channels Carson McCullers' Frankie in A MEMBER OF THE WEDDING -- our unnamed protagonist observes astutely, accepts the parameters of their world, feels the possibilities of dreams. The bike is transportation and a dream mobile moving from one viewpoint to another, like a magic carpet. "Somebody gotta make red bikes somewhere," they muse, "so kids like me can dream." This dreamscape is haunting and gorgeous." -- Martha Wade Steketee, freelance critic and dramaturg

  • STAND
    2019 Finalist New Works Festival, Kitchen Dog Theater, Dallas.

    STAND is an acoustic electric poem of womxn rage, defiance and ancient power. STAND begins on the day when another womxn from an unnamed village is assaulted. Their name is Cassandra. A chorus gathers ‘round in support of them as they all discover ways in which to rise above collective trauma. This is a play-oratorio. It is also a...
    2019 Finalist New Works Festival, Kitchen Dog Theater, Dallas.

    STAND is an acoustic electric poem of womxn rage, defiance and ancient power. STAND begins on the day when another womxn from an unnamed village is assaulted. Their name is Cassandra. A chorus gathers ‘round in support of them as they all discover ways in which to rise above collective trauma. This is a play-oratorio. It is also a play-drum. or simply, a smash-all-patriarchies text for performance. May be performed with a minimum of three actors (two in chorus, one lead) in its barest form, or five actors or upwards of 10 or more. The play features the song "no hosanna" by composer O-Lan Jones and lyricist Caridad Svich. Described by Simon Stephens as a "beautiful poem of a play: savage and elegant and furious by turns."
  • Arbor Falls
    Finalist for 2019 National Playwrights Conference (O'Neill Theater Center).

    In a small town called Arbor Falls, a preacher wrestles with their faith as they try to hold onto the last vestiges of a church with barely a congregation to call its own. Into this town arrives a traveler whose presence exposes the spiritual and moral values upon which it stands. ARBOR FALLS is part of the AMERICAN...
    Finalist for 2019 National Playwrights Conference (O'Neill Theater Center).

    In a small town called Arbor Falls, a preacher wrestles with their faith as they try to hold onto the last vestiges of a church with barely a congregation to call its own. Into this town arrives a traveler whose presence exposes the spiritual and moral values upon which it stands. ARBOR FALLS is part of the AMERICAN PSALM seven-play cycle that began with RED BIKE.
  • FUEL
    You live in a place that reeks of gasoline. You run on fuel. You don’t know anything else exceptliving hard and surviving, but one day that fuel is gonna run out. How are you gonna know who you are, then? This is the story of Baby and their people living in a town left for dead. This is also the ballad of Baby and Girl. In this here mad America. This play is the 2nd piece in the AMERICAN PSALM seven-play cycle...
    You live in a place that reeks of gasoline. You run on fuel. You don’t know anything else exceptliving hard and surviving, but one day that fuel is gonna run out. How are you gonna know who you are, then? This is the story of Baby and their people living in a town left for dead. This is also the ballad of Baby and Girl. In this here mad America. This play is the 2nd piece in the AMERICAN PSALM seven-play cycle that began with RED BIKE.

  • Ushuaia Blue
    2019 Finalist Pasadena Playhouse & Caltech MACH 33 Festival of Science-Driven Plays.

    Jordan is a marine biologist. Sara works in bio-acoustics and film. They have been traveling to do research in Antarctica for some time now. On a recent trip, Sara connects with Pepa, who is native to Ushuaia, Argentina, at the southernmost tip of the world. This connection begins to affect how she sees the...
    2019 Finalist Pasadena Playhouse & Caltech MACH 33 Festival of Science-Driven Plays.

    Jordan is a marine biologist. Sara works in bio-acoustics and film. They have been traveling to do research in Antarctica for some time now. On a recent trip, Sara connects with Pepa, who is native to Ushuaia, Argentina, at the southernmost tip of the world. This connection begins to affect how she sees the world and how she begins to hear the music of the ice. As Jordan and Sara's relationship as a couple becomes more fragile, Sara suffers an accident. In the land of spirit dreaming, suffering and awakening, lessons are learned about life and climate change. A love story set against the backdrop of climate science, this play was commissioned by the University of Alabama-Birmingham and based on and inspired by interviews conducted by the playwright with scientist James McClintock (author of non-fiction book LOST ANTARCTICA).
  • GUAPA
    2012-2013 NNPN Rolling World Premiere.

    In a small town in west Texas, a young woman dreams of being a soccer star in a house where a single mom tries to make ends meet and raise her two other college-age kids who have dreams too of their own to make a difference in the world. A poetic realistic comedy originally premiered as an NNPN Continued Life Fund rolling world premiere at Borderlands...
    2012-2013 NNPN Rolling World Premiere.

    In a small town in west Texas, a young woman dreams of being a soccer star in a house where a single mom tries to make ends meet and raise her two other college-age kids who have dreams too of their own to make a difference in the world. A poetic realistic comedy originally premiered as an NNPN Continued Life Fund rolling world premiere at Borderlands Theater, Phoenix Theatre and Miracle Theatre Group. The play was a finaiist for the O'Neill National Playwrights Conference.
  • Desdemona's Child (blood cry)
    2019 Finalist for Shakespeare's New Contemporaries (American Shakespeare Center).

    Desdemona’s child comes back to the town in which they were raised, haunted by the ghost of Beautiful D, and with a desire to come to terms with trauma from their past. In this town, trouble rages, as a climate of hate threatens to overtake all. A flood and a whole lotta honest witnessing may start to turn the...
    2019 Finalist for Shakespeare's New Contemporaries (American Shakespeare Center).

    Desdemona’s child comes back to the town in which they were raised, haunted by the ghost of Beautiful D, and with a desire to come to terms with trauma from their past. In this town, trouble rages, as a climate of hate threatens to overtake all. A flood and a whole lotta honest witnessing may start to turn the tide of human darkness. This play is set in modern-day US, freely inspired by and in the wake of Shakespeare's OTHELLO.
  • Hurt Song
    You pick through trash, you are trash, says someone. How do you find your worth in a land that tells you otherwise? This is the ballad of the hurting kind – those displaced from their homes, looking for work and sent to places in the middle of the country to make their way. Or we can just call this a fable for dark times. This is the third play in the AMERICAN PSALM seven-play cycle that began with RED BIKE.
  • Holler River
    2018 Finalist for Shakespeare's New Contemporaries, American Shakespeare Center.

    A soldier waits for another to come home. They were teacher and student once. A town waits, too, deep in the heart of coal country, while the one who roams wrestles with what home even means. A story about the stories we tell ourselves, the songs we sing to get by, and the maps we make of our warring lives. This...
    2018 Finalist for Shakespeare's New Contemporaries, American Shakespeare Center.

    A soldier waits for another to come home. They were teacher and student once. A town waits, too, deep in the heart of coal country, while the one who roams wrestles with what home even means. A story about the stories we tell ourselves, the songs we sing to get by, and the maps we make of our warring lives. This play is part of the AMERICAN PSALM seven-play cycle of plays that began with RED BIKE, and it is also a reflection on Shakespeare's HENRY IV Part One.
  • An Acorn
    This story begins one morning at 9 AM. When it seemed as if a certain part of the world changed forever. Inside this story there is another story – this one is about a person that also woke up that morning and found themselves thinking about their childhood, and things like hope, when a small object from nature landed on their floor.
  • Town Hall
    2017 Finalist for National Playwrights Conference.

    Eco-Feminism. Citizenship. Democracy. Human Relationships. A play about the times in which we live, a piece of theatre about being an audience, and an epic, intimate work about what we could do to change the world. Town Hall is part play, part dream, part meeting, part imagining a future in which new ways of connecting must be found…. a group of...
    2017 Finalist for National Playwrights Conference.

    Eco-Feminism. Citizenship. Democracy. Human Relationships. A play about the times in which we live, a piece of theatre about being an audience, and an epic, intimate work about what we could do to change the world. Town Hall is part play, part dream, part meeting, part imagining a future in which new ways of connecting must be found…. a group of barely connected people come together, feeling their way towards… connection? Town Hall explores how are we “us” in a room? In a theatre?
    "Caridad Svich's beyond timely piece of searching and intimate political playwriting. TOWN HALL tackles so many urgent questions of human relationship - to our environment, to other humans, to democracy, through its focus on 4 women living in the very near future, in a world at once different from but very similar to ours. A beautiful, fragile and powerful piece." -director Rebecca McCutcheon (Lost Text/Found Space, London UK).



  • De Troya
    DE TROYA is a cracked fairy tale, a ghost story, a border ballad, and graphic novel for the stage. In DE TROYA, a mysteriously wounded girl washes on shore and meets young Mara on the riverbank. Worried sisters Lupe and Lena wonder if tonight is the night that their niece will disappear without a trace? Boiling under the surface of a violent city, two families wrestle with rebellion, regret, and loss of faith....
    DE TROYA is a cracked fairy tale, a ghost story, a border ballad, and graphic novel for the stage. In DE TROYA, a mysteriously wounded girl washes on shore and meets young Mara on the riverbank. Worried sisters Lupe and Lena wonder if tonight is the night that their niece will disappear without a trace? Boiling under the surface of a violent city, two families wrestle with rebellion, regret, and loss of faith. DE TROYA is a beautifully mythical story about how the weight of our memories can create an insatiable longing for salvation.
  • Archipelago
    A love story. A memory play. A dream play. One person meets another across borders and languages, across time and space. A day in a lifetime. This script premiered at Lighthouse Poole Centre for the Arts in England under Stephen Wrentmore's direction with film by Desperate Optimists.
  • The Way of Water
    In the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon disaster, two fishermen and their wives try to cope with the damage done. This play was developed at the Lark Play Development Center in New York City.
  • Trouble in Kind
    I'm A, I'm a Nother and I'm a Nother Other live in a small town on the edge of the bayou. In the aftermath of a hate crime, they all seek to re-make their lives. It's gonna take a ritual, a visiting deity and a ghostly encounter at the cross-roads to stir up the waters of progress once again. An incantation play for troubled times inflected with the timbre of tripped-out zydeco blues. This...
    I'm A, I'm a Nother and I'm a Nother Other live in a small town on the edge of the bayou. In the aftermath of a hate crime, they all seek to re-make their lives. It's gonna take a ritual, a visiting deity and a ghostly encounter at the cross-roads to stir up the waters of progress once again. An incantation play for troubled times inflected with the timbre of tripped-out zydeco blues. This play is part of the AMERICAN PSALM seven-play cycle that began with RED BIKE.
  • King Henry VIII
    Originally commissioned by Oregon Shakespeare Festival's Play On!

    New modern verse translation, and adaptation, of Shakespeare's lesser-known play KING HENRY VIII, which focuses on political intrigue during Henry's early days as king.
  • Something, Like Happiness
    It’s like this. It’s about love. And other things. Like, how we live. And mess ourselves and each other up. It’s about art and science and the plans we make for our future, which we may never get to see. It’s the stuff of comedy. And tragedy too. And yeah, a bit of heartbreak. But mostly, it’s why we keep doing what we do in this little game called life.
  • Corazon Eterno (always in my heart)
    CORAZON ETERNO is a poetic, romantic play of love ignited, denied, rekindled, rejected, and renewed; of love pragmatic and impossible, temporal and eternal; and ultimately of love to transform the human experience.
  • Sanctuary (a Texas song)
    A road trip through Texas, a walk through the soul, music, and the little moments lived in the everyday. A solo piece for three voices.
  • The Breath of Stars
    THE BREATH OF STARS is a drama that looks at the workings of memory itself through stories of love and loss in the contemporary world. Shot through the lens of Shakespeare’s The Tempest reconfigured for the digital age, we see an Ariel that mourns Prospero, and a Caliban who walks through the desert. A play about the spinning globe, a lost city of strings, electric dreams, and finding a lover again in the body of a stranger.
  • Theatre: A Love Story
    A play-conversation & installation in which some people wrestle with legacies of capitalism, art-making and its meanings, conditions of debt and privilege, climate grief, and memories of first loves and future catastrophes. A comedy. Of sorts. And yes, a love story too.
  • JONAS (the future we remember)
    Remember that time when we thought we knew things? Remember how the world was gonna last forever? A play about who we were once, and who we became. Meet Jonas and Cindy. They are best friends. Meet Ally and Stef and Cam. They’re in their lives, too. And so is a tree, and so is a balloon, and maybe a song, too. In the first half of the play, all of the characters are between the ages of eight and nine.
    In...
    Remember that time when we thought we knew things? Remember how the world was gonna last forever? A play about who we were once, and who we became. Meet Jonas and Cindy. They are best friends. Meet Ally and Stef and Cam. They’re in their lives, too. And so is a tree, and so is a balloon, and maybe a song, too. In the first half of the play, all of the characters are between the ages of eight and nine.
    In the second half of the play, they are adults.*
  • BLAZE
    BLAZE (or the tale of Sister Night and Brother Day in Titus land) is about living at the edge of water beset by trouble and seeking change. It tells the story of one Sister Night and Brother Day and their people as they are hunted by forces of oppression, and damage is done to their town; but damage will not be let. uprising days will begin and after, there will an awakening. BLAZE is part play, part unplugged...
    BLAZE (or the tale of Sister Night and Brother Day in Titus land) is about living at the edge of water beset by trouble and seeking change. It tells the story of one Sister Night and Brother Day and their people as they are hunted by forces of oppression, and damage is done to their town; but damage will not be let. uprising days will begin and after, there will an awakening. BLAZE is part play, part unplugged opera, part spoken word jam, part protest and a healing thing too. Freely inspired by Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus and its polluted world, in more ways than one.
  • SPARK
    Winner of 2013 National Latino Playwriting Award.

    SPARK is a play about three sisters living in the US caught in the mess of a recent war’s aftermath. It is about what happens when soldiers come home, when women of little economic means must find a way to make do and carry on, and the strength, ultimately, of family. A contemporary US story of faith, love, war, trauma, and a bit of healing.
  • The House of the Spirits
    Winner of 2011 American Theatre Critics Association Primus Prize.

    Award-winning play based on Isabel Allende's landmark novel charts the complex
    social and political lives of three generations of a family in an un-named country in Latin America. The conflicted rags to riches rise of a stubborn patriarch is contrasted with the interior and exterior worlds of a grandmother, mother and...
    Winner of 2011 American Theatre Critics Association Primus Prize.

    Award-winning play based on Isabel Allende's landmark novel charts the complex
    social and political lives of three generations of a family in an un-named country in Latin America. The conflicted rags to riches rise of a stubborn patriarch is contrasted with the interior and exterior worlds of a grandmother, mother and daughter growing up in the shadow of violence. This play with songs in the author's Spanish and English language versions has played to audiences across the US and Latin America, professional theatres and colleges. An edition of this play is in TheatreForum magazine Issue No 36.
  • In the Time of the Butterflies (En el Tiempo de las Mariposas)
    Based on Julia Alvarez' novel, this play traces the lives of the Mirabal sisters in the Dominican Republic who became activists against and martyrs of the dictatorship of the Trujullo regime. First premiered at Spanish Repertory Theatre in Spanish, English premiere at San Diego Repertory.
  • Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter
    2016 New York Times Critics' Pick.

    Based on Mario Vargas Llosa's acclaimed novel, this comic romance tells the story of a young aspiring playwright living in Lima, Peru, who falls in love with his sexually independent aunt while he works at a radio station assisting a comic genius named Pedro Camacho in their soap-opera writing. Charting the May-December romance between the young writer...
    2016 New York Times Critics' Pick.

    Based on Mario Vargas Llosa's acclaimed novel, this comic romance tells the story of a young aspiring playwright living in Lima, Peru, who falls in love with his sexually independent aunt while he works at a radio station assisting a comic genius named Pedro Camacho in their soap-opera writing. Charting the May-December romance between the young writer and his aunt and simultaneously his coming-of-age as an artist in a deeply patriarchal Catholic middle-class society, the play is an exuberant tale of love and also an homage/valentine to radio serial dramas and their creation. Originally commissioned and premiered at Repertorio Espanol in New York City in 2016 in the author's Spanish-language version.
  • Steal Back Light from the Virtual
    a labyrinthine society is torn apart by a monstrous beast. this play weaves a dark hypnotic spell centered on how violence permeates systems of class, power, and abuse. shot through the lens of Ariadne and the golden thread and the story of the Minotaur, this is a fearless ride into a dark city. This play received world premiere with East Coast Theatre in Sydney, Australia in 2019. This play is published in the...
    a labyrinthine society is torn apart by a monstrous beast. this play weaves a dark hypnotic spell centered on how violence permeates systems of class, power, and abuse. shot through the lens of Ariadne and the golden thread and the story of the Minotaur, this is a fearless ride into a dark city. This play received world premiere with East Coast Theatre in Sydney, Australia in 2019. This play is published in the collection Instructions for Breathing (Seagull Books and University of Chicago Press).
  • The Orphan Sea
    Penelope waits. Odysseus roams. Love is suspended in the balance. Years go by as the lovers circle each other in dreams, memories, and are reunited. An operatic choral play about lovers and communities coming together.
  • AGUA DE LUNA (psalms for the rouge)
    Three households are viewed in close-up snapshots through the eyes of a bird-dog creature and a woman of 108 years in this story of faith, redemption, ache, loss and hunger set in southwest Detroit.
  • GERTIE AND ALICE BY THE SEA (you are to me)
    In the last house in the world, two women live out their days. They could be the famous Gertie and Alice, but they are not necessarily. They still do the things we do--eating, talking, laughing with friends and lovers—until what they know begins to slip away, and all that is left is desire.
  • HIDE SKY
    In Hide Sky, a mother’s passing forces an estranged sibling to return home to the Florida Panhandle to an older brother and sister whom she once left behind, and to unresolved matters of love and faith. A drama about coming through grief, the lies we tell each other in the name of “family and religion” and how we can all perhaps begin again.
  • American Psalm (Life Jacket)
    This is a story about two friends on a boat. They live in a small town near the sea. On this Sunday, they go out, as they have done in the past, but this time, something changes. Call it a spirit encounter. Or maybe they just hit some nasty debris in the water. Whatever the case, it is a day that will test them both. This play is part of the AMERICAN PSALM seven-play cycle that began with RED BIKE.
  • This Thing of Ours
    An act of violence struck our city. This has happened before. We say we will put our lives back together. Years will go by. We will grow apart, come together, have children, and some of us, will wonder how to keep going, as we turn to myths and seek lessons there. In our theaters of memory, in our songs of transcendence, perhaps we will find peace. An ensemble drama. This play originally was developed at the...
    An act of violence struck our city. This has happened before. We say we will put our lives back together. Years will go by. We will grow apart, come together, have children, and some of us, will wonder how to keep going, as we turn to myths and seek lessons there. In our theaters of memory, in our songs of transcendence, perhaps we will find peace. An ensemble drama. This play originally was developed at the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis Ignite Festival of New Work (2015).
  • Nobody's Children
    Emma, Neil and Fran are corporate raiders. Jake is an IT guy. Dog eats dog eats love in this dark comedy about globalisation, power, and casual terrorism.
  • Lucinda Caval
    Lucinda's brother disappears. In a corrupt dictatorship, she searches to find him.