Written & Directed by Paola Alexandra Soto
Original Music by Dilson
Dramaturgy by Cha Ramos
Performed by Kelvin Grullon, Ashley Saladin & Merlixse Ventura
Curated and Choreography by Mayte Natalio
Welcome to D’Carnaval where out of the most horrific circumstances comes the greatest triumphs of the human spirit. It’s the dawn of the “New World” and on the island of Hispaniola anything is acceptable in the name of progress including African enslavement and the mass genocide of the Tainos. When she falls in love and becomes pregnant Quisqueya, one of the first women born on the island after its colonization by the Spaniards, must decide what’s more important: her family’s freedom or her obligations to her master.
Paola Alexandra Soto (she/her)
Paola Alexandra Soto is a playwright, creative producer, director, and actress. Born in the Dominican Republic and raised in Harlem. She recently earned her MFA in Playwriting at Columbia University School of the Arts. Paola Alexandra is the Creative Producer for TONY Award Winner Lemon Andersen’s new original solo show When Aliens Fall From The Sky, which had its World Premiere at Arizona State University Gammage. She’s also the Associate Director of the digital short film for the show’s prologue. She was also the co-Creator of the PlaySonos: A Digital Audio Play Festival at Columbia University School of the Arts.
Her full length play La Sosa Sisters was part of the School of the Arts New Play Festival 2022, before that it was a finalist for the Columbia@Roundabout 2021 New Play Reading series, and most recently it received a micro-development grant from the National Black Theater. Her other writing credits include Lucha Libre, a one-act version of the play was translated into Mandarin and performed by students at the Shanghai Theatre Academy; the full-length D’Carnaval; the short pieces The Commission, On The 1 Train, Bo+Li, and Macbéf. She was a Broadway Advocacy Coalition Theater of Change 2021 Fellow.
Dilson is a performing artist from the Bronx. His talents include creative writing, playing various instruments, spoken-word poetry, singing, audio engineering, and beat making. Although self taught in many of his skills, he received a Bachelor’s of Arts in both English and Music from the University at Albany. He also became a certified Audio Engineer from the Institute of Audio Research. Dilson wishes to change the world with his art and community work (mostly for youth), aiming to strive for a more progressive and creative future. Some of his work abroad includes teaching English in Haiti and helping build a dorm space for underprivileged children in rural India. Some of his work at home includes facilitating music-related workshops with youth in public schools via Urban Art Beat and advocating at courtrooms for 16-24 year-old incarcerated youth in NYC via Youth Justice Network.
Cha Ramos (she/ella) is a multidisciplinary theatre artist with a metric montón of books, swords, and altars in her NYC apartment. She is a fight director, intimacy director, dramaturg, playwright, performer, and instructor, with an MFA in Theatre from Columbia University. Notable projects include: dramaturgy for new works by José Rivera and Leslie Ayvazian; fight and intimacy direction for Dom Juan at the Fisher Center at Bard College; associate intimacy direction for COMPANY on Broadway; performing with the Vixens En Garde all-female sword-fighting Shakespeare comedy troupe; teaching stage combat and intimacy work in-person and online; and ongoing development of her three original plays. More info at www.CallMeCha.com.
Ashley Saladin is an actress, visual artist, artistic director, and creative consultant born and raised in Queens, New York. Her last acting performance was in Black Mexican written by Rachel Lynett at the Repertrio Espanol theater for the 2022 Miranda Family Voces Latinx National Playwriting competition. Her roots in acting were established through The Peoples Theater project appearing in El Malvado by Jason Ramirez under the direction of Carlos Serrano. She has also acted in the play Yes And!, written by Kristen Felicetti at the Theater Lab. Ashley has provided dramaturgical support as part of the Columbia University New Play Festival 2022 to MFA Graduate of Playwriting concentration at the School of the Arts program Paola Alexandra Sotos thesis play, La Sosa Sisters. Her photo El Niño Dominicano was recently published in F-Stop Magazine for the April 2023 Street Photography issue. She was the artistic director for the documentary short Sonata. Based on American artist Michael Zelehoski featured at Backslash Gallery Paris and Hong Kong Basel. Ashley has been a creative consultant for Tony Award winner Lemon Anderson, Apple Inc Global Editorial Director Smokey Fontaine, Fashion Designer Raun Larose, and creative agency Digital Bodega.
Kelvin Grullon is a Dominican American actor from Washington Heights with a passion for storytelling, often working as an actor, filmmaker, producer, spoken word performer, and DJ under the moniker CHICO BEMBÉ. Projects include theater (Queen of Basel, She Hates Coffee, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, Room28 Comedy), film (La Tierra, No More Lonely People), voice over (Corner Wolves, Michelle Rojas is Not Okay), and new media works (Guap, DominicanYork).
Merlixse Ventura is an Afro-Dominican artist born and raised in Washington Heights. Most recently she wrote, directed and produced her poetry cycle Vessel of a Woman (The Tank: ‘CyberFest’). She is an Artistic Producer for Dominican Artists Collective (DAC) where she served as one of the directors and producers for DAC’s The Cooking Project (NYTW). Merlixse is a recent graduate of Columbia University’s MFA Acting program.