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Update: Hear our interview with Victor Contreras, Descendants of Early San Diego, on Twainfest, including a reading from a monologue on his own famous ancestor from early San Diego.  The interview originally aired on KNSJ; listen here:

East County News Service

January 3, 2016 (San Diego)--The Descendants of Early San Diego (formerly known as the Old Town San Diego Descendants Group seek submissions of short  monologues for presentation at TwainFest 2016 to be held at Old Town San Diego State Park in August of 2016. Each monologue should be in first person, accurately reflecting real people who lived in our region in the 1800s. Two $100 prizes will be awarded and authors can also audition for opportunities to perform their works for additional compensation. See below for details.

TwainFest is an annual event celebrating literature and life of/in the 1800s, which is sponsored by Write Out Loud. The Descendants group has partnered with Write Out Loud in this annual event to present, among the other activities of the day, theatrical portrayals of people that actually lived in the San Diego region during that period. Selected stories /monologues will be performed at Twainfest by Professional Actors. This is part of the ongoing activities of the Descendants group to celebrate the people who helped develop the area we know as the greater San Diego region.

Submissions of original monologues from 5 to 10 minutes in length are being solicited for possible inclusion in the activities of TwainFest, and possible other educational / entertainment presentations celebrating the targeted historical period. The monologues are to depict real people who actually lived in the region, share with the audience their stories, and to get a glimpse of life in the 1800s. Previous works have told the story of specific people and explored such topics as: toys of the 1800s, women gambling accepted in California, the cattle industry of early California, the changing of the flag from Spain to Mexico, and others. Monologues are to be written in the first person as spoken by the actual person who lived in the period speaking to a group of people who have come to San Diego. The piece should assume the character knows nothing of today’s events or evolution. The life of the character must be historically accurate and the slice of life must also be accurate. Topics of inclusion may include historical events of the day, foods, clothing, politics, customs, lifestyles, daily chores, transportation, social interactions, etc. The selected pieces will be performed by actors during the activities of TwainFest several times during the course of the day’s activities. Collaborations between descendants or historians and playwrights are encouraged.

Set up of piece should be introducing themselves to a group, identifying themselves, and telling their story. Within the context of their speaking they will share something about life in California during the 1800’s. Previous works have welcomed guests to San Diego and asked if they are looking for cattle or are interested in gambling, then proceeded to expand on themselves and their slice of life.

Two pieces to be selected will be compensated $100 each

Timeline for project

January 2016 project to be announced and publicized.

Descendants Research Workshops are always open to the public for historical research. (Dates to be announced, four are normally scheduled each year. Please refer to website for dates soon to be scheduled:

May 31 Deadline for submissions to be considered for compensation

June reading and evaluation of submissions with possible rewrites if required

June 24 – 26 Descendants of San Diego Annual Reunion: announcement of compensated submissions

July casting of pieces and preparation for performance

August performances of pieces at TwainFest activities

Criteria for submitted pieces/monologues

  1. Depict a person who actually lived in the San Diego Region during the 1800’s with factual information about them.
  2. Length of piece should be between 5 and 10 minutes of actual performance time.
  3. The piece should be written in the first person from the perspective of the historical person.
  4. The piece must also include something about the times either: events, culture, music, foods, clothing, customs, social interactions of the times, weapons, tools, transportation, etc. within the context of what the character says. It should be informative but remain primarily as entertainment. This is not meant to be a lecture or lesson but will gently inform the audience about the historical period while also entertaining them.
  5. Submissions must be received by email or by mail to project manager Victor Contreras at or 110 N. 2nd Ave. #65, Chula Vista, Ca. 91910. (Mailed submissions will not be returned unless a pre-addressed stamped envelope is enclosed.)
  6. Winners retain the rights to their scripts and authorize the Descendants of Early San Diego and Write Outloud to present their monologues at Twainfest with no further compensation. Options for further or future presentations will be considered as opportunities present themselves in consultation with original author.Selected pieces will be performed at Twainfest by professional actors. Writers or researchers are welcomed to audition to be the presenter of the piece. Performers will be compensated $125 for the day which will include multiple performances.
  7. Project Inquires maybe directed to Victor Contreas at (619) 301-8126


Newsmaker Victor Contreras - Twainfest

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