New Los Angeles theater drama ‘Wink’ explores the plight of non-binary teens

Andrik Ochoa as Wink & David Mingrino as Dario. All photos by Ed Kreiger, courtesy of Shanks74 Productions

The Los Angeles theatre scene just got a bit more interesting.

In the heart of the Melrose vintage district, a new play explores intersectionality in a heretofore little-explored way. Written by Neil Koengsberg and directed by Michael Allen Angel, Wink follows the story of once-famous actor Dario Villanova (played by David Mingrino of The Devil Within) and his relationship with a nonbinary homeless youth named Wink (played by real-life nonbinary actor Andrik Ochoa).

Both have suffered crippling tragedy, and cry out for the companionship of a friend. But can the world accept Wink & Dario’s friendship as just that? Wink currently runs at the Zephyr Theatre in Los Angeles through January 13.

Courtesy of Shanks74 Productions

Wink grew out of playwright Koengsberg’s own experience volunteering at an LGBTQ homeless youth shelter. Perhaps those authentic origins give the piece its honesty, as does the purity of Dario & Wink’s friendship. Mingrino, as Dario, anchors the piece as a man used to labels fascinated by someone that refuses them. The casting of Ochoa brings a level of credibility to the story the production might not have had if it had featured a cisgender actor in the part.

Over the course of the two-hour runtime, Wink raises questions about the importance–or lack thereof–of a defined gender, social class, sexism, and why society obsesses over a person’s genitals. Moreover, at its core, Wink tells the story of two people facing deep emotional pain, and how friendship brings about healing.

Wink currently runs at the Zephyr Theatre in Los Angeles through January 13. Tickets are on sale now. 

Cast: 

Andrik Ochoa as Wink

David Mingrino as Dario Villanova

Adam Cardon as Peter King

Euriamis Losada as Manuel Ortiz

Amy Argyle as Valerie Smith.