Teatro Viento de Agua founders Boris Villar and Maribel Barrios are Cuban theater artists who have lived in Mexico and Argentina, arriving in Miami seven months ago. They created No vayas a llorar, three monologues about people separated from their loved ones by economic or political situations, and Barrios has performed the play in Mexico, Spain, Brazil and Argentina.
The play, Villar explains, evolved through improvisations and from the couple’s own history. While teaching and creating plays in Mexico, they got interested in history and its effect on individuals.
“We have a lot of family and friends from childhood living so far from us, not only in Cuba but also here in the States and in other parts of the world,” he says. “There were powerful feelings of separation in our hearts, and we felt bad about it. We had to express [those feelings].”
Ernesto García’s Drume negrita is also a play featuring three linked monologues. One is delivered by a drug-addicted, alcoholic mother; the second by a perceptive prostitute; the third by a frustrated transvestite. The playwright says he chose to craft soliloquies “to emphasize the solitude of the human being in an urban environment.”
García sees Miami as the city of Hispanic theater in the United States and that he hopes TEMFest will “erase barriers of language, ethnicity and become in a few years an essential Miami theater festival — be universal and beautiful, like music.”
His wife has even bigger ambitions for the festival. She’d like to invite the region’s English-language companies to participate, and she wants to get Spanish-language companies from Los Angeles, New York and Washington involved as well. The budget will have to grow from this year’s $35,000 (much of that from in-kind donations), but that’s just one more challenge for a couple driven by “passion, commitment to the artists and to our community,” Sandra García says.
“Local theater isn’t limited,” she adds. “Imagine what we can do in our 10th edition!”
Then she laughs and says, “I drink too much Cuban coffee.”