Miami’s Adrienne Arsht Center of the Performing Arts opened the XXV International Hispanic Theater Festival (IHTF) this summer season, presented by Teatro Avante and American Airlines. Now in its 25th year, the festival proudly boasts a quarter of a century of endurance in the often-underfunded Miami art scene by introducing theater companies from Latin America, Europe, and the United States to various locations in Miami, Miami Beach, and Key Biscayne. This series of performances welcomes everyone, but specifically caters to Spanish-speaking theater lovers, and is one of the largest and most thriving in the nation.
In a recent interview by The Miami Herald, founder of Teatro Avante in Miami, and truly the driving force behind the International Hispanic Theater Festival, Mario Ernesto Sánchez says, “It amazes me that it has been 25 years… It has always been a struggle for audiences, for funding, for success, for everything you dream of. This year has been another struggle. I don’t mind the hard work. I just wish it would be not this hard.”
This time around, the IHTF of Miami dedicated its season to the theatrical prowess of Mexico, in recognition of the contribution the country has made to Latin American Society. The festival’s four-week run presented over 13 plays from around the world, an enlightening documentary about the rehabilitative power of theater in Mexican prisons, a series of theatrical readings, and a photography exhibit by Asela Torres entitled “Mexico at the International Hispanic Theatre Festival of Miami (1989-2009)”.
Also as part of its tribute to Mexican Theater, IHTF spotlighted a production by Mexican theater company Línea de Sombra called Amarillo, directed by Jorge Arturo Vargas. Starring actor Raúl Mendoza, Amarillo delves into the meaning of “national identity” and immigration, and disects the connection between what is real and what’s not in today’s controversial debates. Antonio Orlando Rodriguez, special to El Nuevo Herald, recently said of the production, “Amarillo mixes and articulates diverse disciplines: sociological research, video art, plastic installation, music and documentary theater.”
This season’s IHTF of Miami program also included Más pequeños que el Guggenheim by Alejandro Ricaño, Filo al fuego by Oliver Mayer, Divinas palabras by Ramón del Valle-Inclán, and Por las tierras de Colón by Guillermo Schmidhuber. Among participating South Florida theaters were The Carnival at Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, Teatro Prometeo of Miami, Tower Theater, and community centers throughout the region.