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The Student News Site of St. Edward's University

Hilltop Views

The Student News Site of St. Edward's University

Hilltop Views

Hyde Park Theater hosts annual “Frontera Fest” to showcase local talent

Danielle Ford / Hilltop Views
Frontera Fest, a showcase of creative artistry, held it’s 29th run this year.

“Austin is supposed to be the live musical capital of the world,” said Frontera Fest’s artistic director Ken Webster. “But there’s a lot of great theater, and a lot of great actors, and writers and directors in Austin.” 

For the last 29 years, Hyde Park Theatre has invited writers and dramatic workers from all walks of life to participate in Frontera Festival, a unique theatrical festival. 

Hyde Park Theater takes the first 80 play submissions, and five to six plays are produced each night of the festival. Tickets go fast so if you are unable to obtain any online, you can try at the door. 

Starting strong, “Latinoverse,” written by Raymond Abel Gutierrez and directed by Nathan Barrienties, opened the show. This piece takes the audience through an intergalactic journey, addressing the lack of Latino representation in Hollywood. Different stereotypes of Latinos are portrayed in the film, as well as how the culture and personalities of Latinos are grossly water-downed to cater to the predominantly white industry. The show explores how the stereotypes hinder the Latino community.

“Dance Cupcake Dance” by Brian Witenbrook was the second show of the night. Right out of the gate, the audience was exposed to an environment of CEOs, corporate corruption, poorly respected assistants, cupcake men and gnomes. This play creatively and comically goes into the story of a corporation attempting to fix its financial endeavors by exploiting magic using creatures rather than children from Malaysia.

Next in the lineup was “Standard Operating Magic” written by Helen Merino and staged by Rosalind Faires. A woman going into her 50th birthday reminisces about the life she led so far and embracing her journey of feeling lost and out of place. 

“Starcrossed” written by Andy Tate and directed by Kirk Scarbrough is set in 2054 when technology has been integrated into more than our homes, but now into our hearts. When the main character Ellie is faced with the harsh reality that her robotic boyfriend Max will be turned off and repossessed if she can’t pay her yearly bill in the next 16 minutes, she reaches out to her mother for a loan to save her relationship. Her mother refuses, believing this will save her daughter from her false reality; this is when we see the true emotional pain Max is feeling because he is not only losing his relationship, but his life. 

“Ma and Pa Gothic” is the last show of the night, hitting hard political topics regarding the Texas Senate. In the middle of the performance, the topic of abortion and women’s rights was brought up. This was more than enough for one audience member who loudly stood up and walked across the stage and out the door, disrupting the actress mid-monologue. True to the play nature, Ma did not let this stop her and instead made light of the outburst and continued. 

The night was a complete success with sold-out seats, an engaged audience, and awesome shows. Webster says that if you can’t make the nightly shows the “Mi casa” shows take place during the day, which is a subdivision of shows Hyden Park puts on. No show for Frontera Fest is put on twice unless voted by the audience to be shown at the end of the week where all the best shows are showcased.

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