Playwright Bernardo Cubría Collaborates with Florida Studio Theatre (FST) On New Project Centering Latinx Voters

Arts & Culture

Pictured: Playwright Bernardo Cubria in residence at Florida Studio Theatre. Photo by Wes Roberts

On Wednesday and Thursday of last week, California-based playwright Bernardo Cubría was in residence at Florida Studio Theatre (FST) conducting interviews with individuals from Sarasota’s Hispanic and Latinx communities as part of an ongoing collaboration between FST, Milagro Theatre in Portland, OR, and Cubría himself. The interviews are intended to give Cubría more perspective on the voting experiences of fellow Hispanic and Latinx people since their unique points of view are a central topic of his new play. This collaborative project is being funded by the National New Play Network (NNPN) who awarded FST $10,000 to support the theater and Cubría’s interview process. Additionally, Lydia Baxter, FST’s Public Relations Manager, stated the Theatre will work with a representative from UnidosNow, a local organization dedicated to elevating the quality of life of the growing Hispanic/Latino community in Manatee and Sarasota, in order to amplify Hispanic and Latinx voices locally. In fact, FST’s own Hispanic and Latinx staff members were invited to participate in the interview process.

With amplification in mind, Cubría affirmed FST’s intention, saying “…FST has set me up with so many interviews with wonderful community members this week. I texted my wife last night, ‘God, I love Latino people’ because I've gotten to spend so much time with them this week.” With the word “Latino” in mind, Cubría hopes to educate his audience on the false monolithic phrase “Latino Vote” which was first popularized during the 2016 election. Cubría further explained “The idea that every single person from Tijuana to Buenos Aires should agree on every single human issue is a deeply misguided notion” which breaks down the perception of Latin America as a monolith and allows for a more dynamic view of the Hispanic and Latinx voting experience in the U.S.

As with any political phrase, discourse is necessary to understanding its nuance which is why interviewing and engaging with local Hispanic and Latinx community members is a necessary step in Cubría unpacking the “Latino Vote.”

He added that one of the best ways to support Hispanic and Latinx communities in general, but specifically those involved in the arts, is through funding. “Florida Studio Theatre clearly has given money to a Mexican writer to write a play for this community, and I made it very clear and was so excited by how genuinely and aggressively Florida Studio Theatre wants to reach their Latino audience.” Big picture, this project will impact the Sarasota Hispanic and Latinx community on a greater scale than by the interviews alone, it is giving a voice to a largely underrepresented demographic in theater and creating a safe space for audience members of that same demographic to see themselves on stage.

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

Pictured: Playwright Bernardo Cubria in residence at Florida Studio Theatre. Photo by Wes Roberts

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