‘Latins on Ice’ will tackle some cold, hard truths on frozen Lake Nokomis


The idea still makes theater artist Sabrín Diehl laugh: five performers staging a show about Latin culture on a frozen lake.

“‘Latins on Ice’ just sounded really funny to me,” Diehl said. “Most Latin people I know don’t know how to ice skate. I don’t know how to ice skate!

“Let’s do the thing that no one expected.”

Diehl dreamed up “Latins on Ice” after reflecting on the experience of moving from humid, Latin-infused Miami to cold, segregated Minnesota to study theater at the University of Minnesota.

“The culture shock and the freezing weather were all part of the artistic research, if you will,” Diehl said by phone. “There’s a line in our show that says, ‘Everyone warned me about the cold. But no one warned me about the darkness and how lonely it would feel.’ “

Performed on Lake Nokomis, amid the U.S. Pond Hockey Championships, the show comprises five comedic, dramatic, pointed sketches — including a parody of “In the Heights” — staged by local performers, including Diehl, exploring “what it means to be Latin in Minnesota.”

Comedy, Diehl wrote in a fundraiser for the project, has the power to make “the unlivable just a tad bit livable.”

Part of the Great Northern fest, the show will be performed at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. Sunday. Admission is free.

John Gebretatose, co-founder of the all-Black troupe Blackout Improv, trained the five performers in improvisation to build chemistry. “We’re like a band now,” Diehl said. “There’s no breaking us up.”

The show’s name is a nod to Latins Anonymous, an irreverent Los-Angeles-based comedy group that took aim at Hollywood stereotypes.

Diehl isn’t sure how hockey fans will react.

“We are very loudly expressing our experiences, and a lot of that does have to do with not feeling fully welcomed by the culture here,” said Diehl. “It almost feels like we’re naming the elephant in the room by our loud presence in this specific space of pond hockey, a very white event.”

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