The River Bride

Background image: A woman wearing a sequin dress dives into water lit in green and blue
Image credit:
Photo by Polina Tankilevitch

By Marisela Treviño Orta
Directed by Karina Gutiérrez
March 14–17, 2024
Durham Studio Theater, Dwinelle Hall

Once upon a time, in a fishing village along the Amazon, there lived two sisters struggling to find their "happily ever after." Helena is dreading her sister Belmira's wedding. The groom, Duarte, should have been hers. And she knows that her sister only wants to escape their sleepy Brazilian town for an exciting new life in the city. But three days before the wedding, fishermen pull a mysterious stranger out of the river—a man with no past who offers both sisters an alluring, possibly dangerous future. Brazilian folklore and lyrical storytelling blend into a heartrending tale of true love, regret, transformation, and the struggle to stay true to your family while staying true to yourself.

Event Details:

Estimated Runtime:

1 hour and 30 minutes, no intermission


  • Thursday, March 14 at 8pm
  • Friday, March 15 at 8pm*
  • Saturday, March 16 at 2pm
  • Saturday, March 16 at 8pm
  • Sunday, March 17 at 2pm

*Followed by a talkback with members of the creative team.

Parking Closures: Please note that the Dwinelle Lot is permanently closed for construction. The Recreational Sports Facility (RSF) Garage will be closed on March 14–15. For a map of nearby public parking options, visit Parkopedia

Plan Your Visit


Buy tickets online at up to two hours before each performance. Buy tickets in-person at Durham Studio Theater in Dwinelle Hall beginning one hour before each performance. All tickets are general admission (no assigned seating). 

Audience Advisories

Please note that this production will use theatrical fog/haze. If you have questions about content or stage effects, please email


To request wheelchair accessible seating, assisted listening devices, large print programs, or other accommodations, please contact us at least 7–10 days in advance: call 510-642-8827 or email

No Late Seating

Late seating is not permitted in Durham Studio Theater. Please plan to arrive on campus 20–30 minutes prior to an event to ensure that you are in your seat before showtime. The lobby opens 30 minutes prior to the performance, and the theater opens 20 minutes prior to the performance. 

Directions & Parking

Directions to Durham Studio Theater are available on this page. Please note that nearby construction projects may cause delays. For nearby parking options, visit Parkopedia

Masking Guidelines

In line with University Health Services guidelines, we are currently not requiring guests to be masked at TDPS events. However, the CDC still recommends masking in crowded indoor settings, and we support and respect each person's choice to wear a mask if that is their preference.

Additional information for guests is available here.

Critical Acclaim

"An incredibly original and affecting night at the theater… nuanced and well-crafted, and peppered with poetic lyricism." – Houston Press

"A haunting and beautifully constructed theatrical experience... A work of striking originality… Orta has a wonderful ear for dialogue, and paints complex characters that we care about, and has come up with a modern fable set deep in the heart of the Amazon." – The Siskiyou Daily News

“A bittersweet dream of love… It’s a simple tale, well told, that invites the viewer to ponder the mysteries of romance. Are there such things as true love, as soulmates, as fate? And where does human choice fit into the equation?"­ – AZ Central

Marisela Treviño Orta, Playwright

About the Playwright

Marisela Treviño Orta is a graduate of the Iowa Playwrights Workshop and has an MFA in Poetry from the University of San Francisco. She was awarded the 2006 Chicano/Latino Literary Prize in Drama, the 2009 Pen Center USA Literary Award in Drama, the 2013 National Latino Playwriting Award, and was a 2019 Kendeda Finalist. She has developed plays at the Playwrights Foundation, Marin Theatre Company, and at the National New Play Network’s MFA Playwriting Week at The Kennedy Center. Marisela’s produced plays include The River Bride, Heart Shaped Nebula, Ghost Limb, Braided Sorrow, Wolf at the Door, and Woman on Fire. Her plays have been produced by the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Arizona Theatre Company, New Jersey Repertory Company, Halcyon Theatre, Kitchen Dog Theater, Su Teatro, Milagro, Shotgun Players, Stages Repertory Theatre, and Brava Theater.

The River Bride is presented by arrangement with Concord Theatricals on behalf of Samuel French, Inc.