Arts & Culture

Pictured: playwright Bernardo Cubria in residence at the Florida Studio Theater. Photo by Wes Robert

On Wednesday and Thursday of last week, California playwright Bernardo Cubría was in residence at the Florida Studio Theater (FST) to conduct interviews with people from Sarasota’s Hispanic and Latino communities as part of an ongoing collaboration between FST, Milagro Theater in Portland, OR, and Cubría itself. The interviews aim to give Cubría more perspective on the voting experiences of his fellow Hispanics and Latinos, as their unique perspectives are a central subject of his new piece. This collaborative project is funded by the National New Play Network (NNPN) which awarded FST $10,000 to support Cubría’s theater and interview process. Additionally, Lydia Baxter, public relations manager for FST, said the theater will be working with a representative from UnidosNow, a local organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for the growing Hispanic/Latino community in Manatee and Sarasota. , in order to amplify Hispanic and Latinx. voice locally. In fact, FST’s own Hispanic and Latinx staff members were invited to participate in the interview process.

With amplification in mind, Cubría confirmed FST’s intent, saying, “…FST has prepared so many wonderful interviews for me in the community this week. Last night I texted my wife, “God, I love Latinos” because I’ve been spending so much time with them this week. With the word “Latino” in mind, Cubría hopes to educate her audience on the monolithic fake phrase “Latino Vote” that was first popularized during the 2016 election. Cubría further explained that “the idea that every person from Tijuana to Buenos Aires should agree on every human issue is a deeply flawed notion” that breaks down the perception of Latin America as a monolith and allows for a more dynamic view of the Hispanic and Latinx voting experience to United States

As with any political expression, discourse is necessary to understand its nuance, which is why interviewing and engaging with members of the local Hispanic and Latino community is a necessary step for Cubría to unpack the “Latino vote”.

He added that one of the best ways to support Hispanic and Latino communities in general, but specifically those involved in the arts, is through fundraising. “The Florida Studio Theater clearly gave money to a Mexican writer to write a play for that community, and I said that very clearly and I was so excited by the genuine and aggressive way that Florida Studio Theater wants to reach its Latino audience.” Overall, this project will impact Sarasota’s Hispanic and Latino community on a greater scale than through interviews alone, it gives a voice to a demographic that is vastly underrepresented in theater and creates a safe space for audience members of that same demographic to see themselves on stage.

Florida Studio Theater, 1241 N Palm Ave, Sarasota, 941-366-9000.

Pictured: playwright Bernardo Cubria in residence at the Florida Studio Theater. Photo by Wes Robert

To learn more, click here.


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