Photo Courtesy of Magic Theatre

“Don’t Eat The Mangoes” Comes to Magic Theatre For World Premiere: Exclusive Interview With Playwright

Magic Theatre has announced the cast and creative team for the company’s first production of 2020, the World Premiere of Ricardo Pérez González’s DON’T EAT THE MANGOS. Directed by David Mendizábal, DON’T EAT THE MANGOS will perform from February 26 – March 22, 2020 at Magic Theatre’s Fort Mason location (Fort Mason, 2 Marina Blvd., Building D, 3rd Floor, San Francisco, CA 94123).

Tickets range from $15 – $75 and are on sale now at

“It is always an honor to introduce a writer of Ricardo’s caliber as his career is beginning to percolate, knowing you’ll soon say you knew him when,” said Artistic Director Loretta Greco. “The familial underbelly he is excavating with DON’T EAT THE MANGOS is terrifically brave, often hilarious, and deeply, deeply insightful. MANGOS is an intimate portrait that asks seismic questions of how and to whom we belong. We are thrilled to be supporting the birth of this beautiful world premiere which has been lovingly developed through The Sol Project, Sundance, and Magic’s Virgin Play Festival.”

DON’T EAT THE MANGOS is a very personal play,” said playwright Ricardo Pérez González, “which is why I’m proud to have it premiering under the loving ministrations of Loretta Greco and David Mendizábal. The trauma these sisters endure is one that has reverberated through generations in my family and countless others. While there is heartbreak in MANGOS, there is also healing, and Magic is the perfect crucible for that transformation to take place. It’s also deeply meaningful to share this play with the San Francisco community, where I spent so much of my youth.”

DON’T EAT THE MANGOS takes place just outside of San Juan, where three sisters take turns caring for their ailing Papa. As a hurricane wreaks havoc, secrets are spilled and ugly truths emerge. Confronting their legacy, the sisters wrestle with what it means to stay true to self, familia, homeland and…how to best seek their revenge. DON’T EAT THE MANGOS is a wickedly funny drama.

The cast will include Wilma Bonet as “Mami”, Yetta Gottesman as “Ismelda,” Elena Estér as “Yinoelle,” Marilet Martinez as “Wicha,” and Julian López-Morillas as “Papi.”

In addition to Mr. González and Mr. Mendizábal, the creative team includes Tanya Orellana (Scenic Design), Brynn Almli (Costume Design), Chris Lundahl (Lighting Design), Sara Huddleston (Sound Design), and Libby Martinez (Props Design). Sonia Fernandez (Dramaturg/Casting), Dave Maier (Fight Director), and Shane Spaulding (Stage Manager).

*Member of Actors’ Equity Association, the union of professional actors and stage managers.

DON’T EAT THE MANGOS runs approximately 100 minutes with no intermission.

DON’T EAT THE MANGOS was developed, in part, at the 2019 Sundance Institute Theatre Lab and was further developed and supported through a partnership between The Sol Project and Magic Theatre.

As promised, here is an exclusive interview with playwright Ricardo Pérez González.

Cultural Currents: Many of our readers ride the ferry every day past Fort Mason and The Magic. What does the theatre’s proximity to water mean to you?

Ricardo Pérez González: I’m an island boy at heart, so being surrounded by water at The Magic just feels right. Everything in Puerto Rico is impacted by water: its proximity, its salinity, its lack or abundance. Having DON’T EAT THE MANGOS staged on the waterfront, a play about healing, trauma, and transformation, is a magical coincidence. Water is healing. Water is transformative. Water is life, and it animates this jewel of a theatre and this wickedly funny play with its vibrancy.

 Cultural Currents: Can you describe a few of your most memorable moments in San Francisco?

 Ricardo Pérez González: There are so many to choose from. I remember driving in for my first Pride March as a teenager, watching from the corner of Market and Powell, the sea of rainbow around me, feeling embraced and whole and safe for the first time in my life. I remember coming back a decade later as a Pride March volunteer, a Safety Monitor, manning the corner of Market and Powell and watching teenagers like my younger self feel seen for the first time. I remember camping out in my van on Twin Peaks so I could be at the Orpheum early enough to get tickets to see RENT, like all musical theatre kids did in the 90s. I remember driving in across the Bay Bridge, seeing Coit Tower, The Ferry Building, the bedazzled skyline of San Francisco and thinking “where else in the world can anyone from anywhere find such a deep sense of belonging.” As the years pass and the city changes, I find I miss that San Francisco more and more.

Cultural Currents: How about our theatre audiences? Are they well prepared for plays like yours?

Ricardo Pérez González: Absolutely. We tend to underestimate audiences in the theatre, but there are audience members who have lived the events described in this play. I think they’re more than ready to see their stories reflected on stage. For those who haven’t lived these events, I guarantee we all know someone who has. It’s time we stopped pretending like we don’t.

 Cultural Currents: What is the most challenging aspect of writing plays with such an emotional impact?

Ricardo Pérez González: With such a deeply personal play, it’s hard not to find myself re-traumatized by the events I’m dramatizing. This play is about a legacy of violence, and while writing it was often cathartic, an exorcism of sorts, watching it in rehearsal and performance brings up a lot for me. It’s both immensely freeing, facing the monsters that live under my bed, and a source of constant terror. Sharing that journey with The Magic audience is truly a gift, and I can’t wait for them to join me on the ride.