Guido García Lueches on Playing Latinx

Photo: Vicky Polack

Created and performed by Guido García Lueches, Playing Latinx comes to Soho Theatre for four performances next month. The show interrogates what it is to be a Latin American migrant actor in the UK, weaving together audition experience and spoken word with a high camp lecture teaching audiences how to be a perfect Latinx immigrant.

Ahead of opening, he tells us what it’s like to be bringing the show to Soho Theatre, how its changed and how it’s really a party.

Q&A with Guido García Lueches

What can you tell us about your show Playing Latinx?

First of all, Playing Latinx is a party! I mean, you could call it an interactive theatre piece about the absurdity of trying to fit in in a country that isn’t very fond of immigrants. Or a love letter to Latin Americans living overseas, and a denouncement of the stereotypes we all suffer under. But really, it’s an opportunity to dance to Shakira and Despacito whilst fighting back injustice, and to bring joy and representation to a community that is not often remembered by the establishment.

The show has been on quite a journey, including a run at Edinburgh Festival Fringe – what does it feel like to now be taking it to Soho Theatre?

It’s an absolute dream! It’s been a long journey to get here: we started thinking of this show back in 2019, and it finally saw the light at Camden People’s Theatre in late 2021. It then toured a bit in 2022 and last year we played Summerhall at EdFringe, which was an absolute dream.

Because it’s a comedy heavy show, I think in the back of our heads we always thought “if we make it to the Soho we’ll have made it.” And now we’re here! So we have? I don’t know about that, but it does feel very good to be given a bigger platform for the show, and hopefully people who didn’t see it last time we were in London can come this time. Or come again! This is probably it’s farewell tour, if I’m honest.

Photo: Mann Bros

What inspired you to deal with the serious issues you raise through this blend of genres?

The main inspiration (and the main ‘plot line’ the show follows) is my career as an actor in the UK, being asked to perform all kinds of Latino stereotypes. Think sexy pool boy or thuggish narco. At one point I got really good at putting on the stupid accent and had to have a good hard look in the mirror. So that question of why am I doing this to myself does permeate the whole piece.

Based on that, we got together with Mariana Aristizabal & Malena Arcucci, and tried to take apart the method to my madness, and we constructed a seminar on “How To Be a Good Latinx”, which is the centrepiece of the show. It’s obviously a terrible seminar, very politically incorrect, but it allows us to laugh at ourselves, and how complicit we are in perpetuating a system that misrepresents and makes assumptions about Latinx culture, while at the same time being able to denounce this unjust and unfair system.

With current political discourse, has the show become even more important – and has the show changed because of that?

The show changes every time we do it, yeah. And not because we discuss the news or anything, but it does have to do with the mood we’re all in, both myself and the audience. The more outrageous the government & media’s position on migrants, for example, the closer it all hits.

But the show is also very different depending on how many Latin Americans are in the house that day, for instance. Which is also a political choice, becoming allies and letting the white people feel a bit more uncomfortable. All in good fun, of course.

What do you hope audiences take away from the experience?

A good night out! Look, you’ve given me an hour of your time that night, so I’m gonna give you a show! If you’ve laughed all night I’m a happy human, and if then you’re still talking about the show with your friends, because there were some good points in there and maybe, I don’t know, you learnt something about the world and about yourself, and who knows, one day in the future you have an interaction at work with someone named Roberto and you don’t treat him like shit well, that’s the dream.

Playing Latinx is at Soho Theatre from 10 April to 13 April 2024