East Side

Artists Ink., a nonprofit arts organization based in East Salinas, and Teatro Xochitl Ollin, a group of young storytellers within Artists Ink., are preparing for auditions and the production of a short film titled East Side Cenicienta, a modern take on Cinderella based in the community of the “Salad town”—a fairytale representation of Salinas, widely known as the "Salad Bowl of the World."

Founded in 2013, the organization fosters local arts rooted in experiences and history of the community. All the programs they run are free, with the mission to give back to the community. Teatro Xochitl Ollin is a space for children ages 7 to 14. Its name translates to: “blossoming movement theater" in Spanish and Nahuatl (a language of the Uto-Aztecan language family; today, an estimated 1.7 million people, mostly in Central Mexico, speak aa variety of Nahuatl). 

While most of the roles in this film are for children, there will be a few adults needed as well, and no, they don’t have Cinderella yet, says Emily Morales-Ortiz, the founding director of Artists Ink. Morales said that Covid forced the group of young storytellers to be even more innovative than before—opportunities to do theater safely are limited.

Last year, she says, TXO worked virtually and developed an animated story. This time, for similar reasons, the production will take on the form of a short film. The director is Salinas' own Lupita Rodriguez, for whom directing will be a first-time experience, but who has a background in film and arts. She has been involved with The Western Stage, and now is fully on board with Artists Ink. as an employee. The screenplay was written and reworked by the TXO team in 2015 and is still being adjusted.

“We are taking a creative spin on Cinderella,” Rodriguez says.

“It takes a village,” she says of pre-production, encouraging readers in Monterey County to help them with raising funds for the production.

In you want to try your luck and come for the audition, prepare one monologue and one song (optional). Be ready to cold-read from the script and wear a face mask.

Rehearsals begins mid-January and filming will take place from February to April 2022. The filming will take place both inside and outside and the list of locations is not closed yet. 

The auditions will take place: 4-7pm on Friday, Dec. 3 and 10am-3pm Saturday and Sunday on Dec. 4 and 5. At The Western Stage, 411 Central Ave, Building K, Salinas. For more, call 297-2656 or visit artistsink.org.

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