Meet Benji - Letters from Camp Shrewd
Benji is the Camp's resident prankster! When mysterious things start happening, is Benji to blame? Or is it something else? Meet the creative team behind this character, Krysta Gonzales and Jesus Valles!
A message from Krysta
I am so excited to join Shrewd Productions for Letters from Camp Shrewd! At the heart of theatre is storytelling and although we can’t gather together in a darkened auditorium or huddle around a campfire, we remember how connected we truly are when we tell stories - even through the mail!
The process for Letters From Camp Shrewd has had the same whimsical, collaborative energy I envision when I think of camp (I only got to go once, over a weekend in middle school). It’s been such a gift to work with the production's very talented creators. I’m looking forward to joining you all in your respective mail boxes!
About Krysta Gonzales
Krysta is a Los Angeles-based writer, actor, and voiceover artist. Originally from Texas, she received her BFA from the Experimental Theatre Wing at NYU-Tisch School of the Arts.
Her play, “Mas Cara” (produced by the VORTEX and Teatro Vivo), was the flagship for the 2019 Future Festival. It was listed in the Austin Chronicle’s 2019 Top Ten Theatre Treasures and Top Ten Moments That Left Audiences Speechless. Krysta is currently pitching her animated pilot and children’s book, “Kiki’s Coils” which aims to help children of the African diaspora celebrate their natural hair.
A message from Jesus
I was a very weird, very gay, very fearless teenager (kid?). In COVID times, I've spent a lot of time thinking about that kid; about the younger versions of ourselves that we hold on to, and the parts we choose to leave behind. Like a few other select weirdos in this country, I spent a few summers at speech and debate camp, learning about oral interpretation alongside an assortment of other weirdos. I am excited to revisit some of that weirdness, that fearlessness, at Camp Shrewd and bring life to the letters that will be our little bridge into our world. I'm looking forward to pranks, jokes, and a good time with folks.
About Jesus I. Valles
Jesús I. Valles is a queer Mexican immigrant, educator, storyteller, and performer from Cd. Juarez/El Paso. Jesús is a 2019 Lambda Literary fellow, a 2019 Walter E. Dakin Playwriting Fellow of the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, a recipient of the 2019 Letras Latinas Scholarship from the Community of Writers at Squaw Valley, and a poetry fellow at Idyllwild Arts Writers Week. Jesús is also a 2018 Undocupoets Fellow, a 2018 Tin House Scholar, and a fellow of The 2018 Poetry Incubator. Their work has been published in The Shade Journal, The Texas Review, The New Republic, Palabritas, The Acentos Review, Quarterly West, The Mississippi Review, Palette, The Adroit Journal, The McNeese Review, and PANK. They are the recipient of four B. Iden Payne Awards, including Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama (2018), and Outstanding Original Script (2018) and were nominated for the Mark David Cohen New Play Award for their play, (Un)Documents. Jesús is currently OUTSider festival’s OUTsider-in-residence.