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May 7 – June 12, 2022
(Opening night: Thursday, May 12, 2022)

Sheryl and Harvey White Theatre
Conrad Prebys Theatre Center

By Melinda Lopez
Directed by David Dower

She was always the good daughter. But now her mother, in the twilight of her life, calls her “mala”—bad to the core. Melinda Lopez’s funny, brutally honest, and ultimately cathartic solo play is an irreverent exploration of how we live, cope, and survive in a challenging moment, and what happens when we strive to be good but don’t always succeed. Theatermania calls it “deeply affecting,” while The Boston Globe named it “one of the best plays of the year. Piercingly honest and exquisitely moving.”

In our commitment to provide access to the widest San Diego audience, The Old Globe will present Mala in Spanish on selected dates.

Cast and Creative


Melinda Lopez (Playwright, Mala) is a multiple-award-winning playwright and performer and is the recipient of the 2019 Elliot Norton Prize for Sustained Excellence, recognizing her 20-year career. Her pandemic work includes the audio series Dream Boston and Zoom play Black Beans Project (co-created with Joel Perez). Her regional theatre credits include Mala (ArtsEmerson, Guthrie Theater, Huntington Theatre Company, Audible in Spanish and English, PBS), adaptation of Yerma (Huntington Theatre Company), Back the Night, Becoming Cuba, Orchids to Octopi, and Sonia Flew (Huntington Theatre Company, Steppenwolf Theatre Company, National Theatre Festival, Cuba, and many others). Lopez also performs onstage, on radio, and in film. She has served as a panel member for the National Endowment for the Arts and has enjoyed residencies with Sundance Institute Theatre Lab, Lark Play Development Center, and New York Theatre Workshop. She was mentioned by President Obama in his speech to the Cuban and American people in 2016. Mayor Marty Walsh declared October 29, 2016 “Melinda Lopez Day in the City of Boston.” Lopez is currently the Artist-in-Residence at Huntington Theatre Company and a professor at Northeastern University.

David Dower (Director, Mala)is Executive Producer of U.S. Operations for the Montreal-based circus arts collective The 7 Fingers, and Executive Director of their U.S. home, Club Fugazi, in San Francisco. From 2015 to 2020, Dower was Vice President at Emerson College, leading the Office of the Arts. He was Artistic Director of ArtsEmerson and Stephen G. Langley Chair of Theatre Management and Production in the Department of Performing Arts at the College. Before this he was Director of Artistic Programs for ArtsEmerson from 2012. He is a Co-Founder and Contributing Editor for HowlRound Theatre Commons. For ArtsEmerson he has directed Kiss, Mala, Mr. Joy, Breath & Imagination, Baritones Unbound, and Maurice Hines’ Tappin’ Through Life. Prior to that, he served as Associate Artistic Director for Arena Stage (Washington DC), where he created the American Voices New Play Institute and NEA New Play Development Program. He was also a Consulting Researcher for The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation (New York) and Founding Artistic Director of both Z Space and Z Collective (San Francisco). He developed and directed five monologues with his friend Josh Kornbluth in San Francisco. His education includes the Graduate Acting Program at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts as well as a B.A. in Political Science from American University and studies at Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México.


Publicity Photos

Playwright Melinda Lopez.
Playwright Melinda Lopez.
Director David Dower.
Director David Dower.