Latinauts is an improvised telenovela set in outer space. The show made its debut in spring 2017 with a return later last fall after winning three B. Iden Payne Awards including outstanding cast in an improvised play. After two sold out main stage runs at ColdTowne Theater, the cast and crew of the Starship Edward James Olmos are back in 2018 through May 5 in “Latinauts: The Wrath of Juan.”
It’s no secret that the world of improv has long been lacking in diversity. In 2016, the all-Latino improv team known as Prima Doñas were offered a main stage run of shows at ColdTowne Theater. Wanting to remove themselves from any stereotypical roles they often see themselves portrayed as in TV and film, producers Carlos LaRotta and Lilli Lopez and director Ben G. Bazán took the idea for an improvised telenovela to space.
The all-star cast of this comedy explore the relationships and trials you might see in a telenovela, while living in space and trying to save earth. The show features some of Austin’s most talented improvisers, including Laura De La Fuente of Loverboy (ColdTowne), Yamina Khouane of F**k This Week (Fallout Theater), Carlos La Rotta of Movie Riot (ColdTowne) and more.
The show opens with pure energy as the cast receives a suggestion for their day’s mission from the audience, then breaks into salsa dance to open the show. Though the set, tech and design of the show is more involved than most improv comedy shows, all scenes are completely improvised. The cast pull from their personal experiences as Latino people, whatever that means to them.
Austin Chronicle’s 2017 Reader’s Poll winner for Best Theatre Director in Austin, Rudy Ramirez, who sits on the B. Iden Payne Awards committee, vocalized the importance of a show like this one.
“This was the first time I got to see the future of not just who we are, but HOW we are,” Ramirez said of the show’s first iteration.
This time, a villain is introduced. Only knowing their own characters and that someone in the crew will be abducted, the show will be drastically different. With plans to change the setting of the telenovela for their next run of shows, “Latinauts: The Wrath of Juan” may be the last time Austin theater and comedy show goers can catch Prima Doñas aboard the Starship Edward James Olmos.
The show runs at ColdTowne Theater (4803 Airport Blvd, Austin, TX 78751) Saturdays at 8:30 p.m. through May 5. Tickets are $12 at the door and $10 online. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org, call (512) 814-8696, or visit www.coldtownetheater.com.