Cover photo by Ryan Kravetz

Devil Land

Desi Moreno-Penson

Enter total users


A childless Latino couple kidnap a young girl in order to create a family, but the little girl has ideas of her own, and when her imaginary friend, the Grinch, comes to life to help her, the couple ends up with far more than they bargained for. A dark, gothic fairy tale for the contemporary world.

Production Info

Cast: 3 total (2 female, 1 male)
Full Length Drama (about 95 minutes)
Single Set
Contemporary Costumes
Category: Tags: ,

Press Quotes

“New York theatergoers are mostly godless heathens, right? So how is a playwright to evoke genuine otherworldly chills in her audience? Desi Moreno-Penson’s new drama, DEVIL LAND, taps into every Gothamite’s primal fears by invoking the one all-powerful figure who inspires both terror and awe: the super … this creepy drama starts off as a more or less ordinary abduction story. The childless Bronx super Americo and his straitlaced, religious wife, Beatriz, kidnap an eccentric 12-year-old neighbor and imprison her in their building’s boiler room. Below the surface antics of Americo’s growing lecherousness and Beatriz’s punitive religiosity, however, an eerier narrative unfolds. The captive child calls upon her ‘imaginary’ playmate the Grinch and the ancient spirits of the Taíno Amerindians (her Puerto Rican ancestors) to keep her safe and to uncover the couple’s many mysteries — like what happened to their real child. Spooky and compelling … several interludes narrated in Seuss-like rhymed couplets are weirdly effective, the Taíno mythology is handled surely and suggestively, and the play’s insistence that we make superstitions as well as sense of the world around us, even today, is spot on. You may never want to check on the boiler again — and anyway, isn’t that a job for the super?” —Jessica Branch, Time Out New York

“Desi Moreno-Penson’s DEVIL LAND may be the scariest new play of the season. It’s a modern-day gothic horror story; a thriller whose psychological elements are well-enough fleshed out to be both credible and authentically disturbing. It’s a unique evening of theater …” —Martin Denton,

About the Author


  • Desi Moreno-Penson

    Desi Moreno-Penson is a playwright/actor based in New York. Her play COMIDA DE PUTA (F%&king Lousy Food) was selected as a finalist for the 2014 O’Neill National Playwrights Conference. The same play received Honorable Mention on The Kilroys List for 2015, is the winner of the 2013 MultiStages New Works Contest, and received its world premiere production @ the West End Theater (NYC) in April 2015 produced by MultiStages Theater Company, MFA in Dramaturgy and Theatre/Literary Criticism from Brooklyn College, semifinalist for the 2007 Princess Grace Award for emerging artists, and she has won two playwriting fellowships, as well as an acting fellowship, from the Bronx Council on the Arts. Selected plays: DEVIL LAND (HotINK New Plays Readings Festival, NYU-Tisch, Urban Stages (professional workshop), world premiere @2007 SPF Summer Play Festival, directed by Jose Zayas, NY, Midwest premiere @Urban Theater Company, Chicago, IL), GHOST LIGHT (59E59 Theatre, NY), 3 TO A SESSION: A MONSTER’S TALE (Teatro Coribantes, San Juan, PR, selected as Best Play at 2005 Downtown Urban Theatre Festival @Cherry Lane, part of the 2004 New Works Lab @INTAR, NY); LAZARUS DISPOSED (14th Annual Int’l Women’s Playwriting Festival, directed by Beth Milles @Perishable Theatre, Providence, RI), SPIRIT SEX & COMIDA DE PUTA (Both short plays presented as part of the 2009 & 2011 Going To The River/The River Crosses Rivers Festival @Ensemble Studio Theatre, NY). Performance monologues include A LATINA PREPARES (excerpt featured in the documentary; “The Theater of Rice and Beans” (Tribeca), selected as Best Performance Short at 2004 Downtown Urban Theatre Festival @Abrons Arts Center/Henry Street Settlement, NY), and DON’T KNOCK IT ’TIL YOU TRY IT (BAAD! Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance, Puerto Rican Traveling Theatre, Barrow Group Theatre, NY). Both monologues were presented together in a solo show, “Dos Mujeres,” as part of the 10th Annual soloNOVA Arts Festival produced by terraNOVA Collective, NY. Her plays DEVIL LAND, GHOST LIGHT, LAZARUS DISPOSED, 3 TO A SESSION: A MONSTER’S TALE are all published through Broadway Play Publishing and SPIRIT SEX: A PARANORMAL ROMANCE was selected as part of the short plays anthology THE BEST TEN-MINUTE PLAYS OF 2010 published by Smith and Kraus. Desi is represented by Bruce Ostler at Bret Adams, Ltd. (NYC).

About the Book

Book Information

Publisher BPPI
Publication Date 12/7/2011
Pages 74
ISBN 9780881455144

Special Notes

Special Notes

Licensees are required to include the original stage producers credits in the following form on the title page in all programs distributed in connection with performances of the Play and in all advertising in which the full cast appears in size of type not less than ten percent (10%) of the size of the title of the Play:

First produced at Summer Play Festival, New York

The following must appear within all programs distributed in connection with performances of the Play:
Devil Land is produced
by special arrangement with Broadway Play Publishing Inc, NYC