The Cuban Ludi Teatro Company will not attend Chicago’s first international Latino theater festival due to difficulties imposed by the Donald Trump administration to grant visas to Cuban actors, the organizers announced this Wednesday.
In a press release, the executive director of the festival, Myrna Salazar, announced the cancelation of the presentations of Ludi Teatro’s work “El espejo,” programmed for October 19-22, and affirmed the cost of the tickets would be reimbursed.
“Due to the logistic changes requested by the Trump administration, and as a result of the current state of diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba, the process to obtain the visa for the Cuban actors has become an impossible challenge,” she said.
“We did everything we could to get the visas,” Salazar explained, “but the changes were unexpected” and makes the entrance into the United States for Ludi Teatro impossible, one of the outstanding companies of the “Destinos” festival being held until October 29 and which was organized by the Chicago Latino Theatre Alliance (CLATA).
“El espejo,” directed by María de los Angeles Montero Tamayo and inspired on “El peine y el espejo” – an original 1956 text by Abelardo Estorino – deals with male chauvinism, gender-based violence, family and religion.
The work was going to be premiered in the United States and aims to “rescue Cuban traditions together with elements of universal theater,” through musical genres like the cha-cha, the bolero and the rumba accompanied by their respective dances, the festival program announces.
“Given that the CLATA is making an effort to participate in a global artistic exchange to break the barriers that separate our cultures and communities, with deep regret we have to cancel Ludi Teatro’s performances,” said Salazar, cofounder and executive director of CLATA.
The hall of the Steppenwolf Theater will remain dark during the days in which the work should have been on the billboard, the press release added. The remaining performances for “Destinos” will continue according to planned, including the presentations in the Steppenwolf, Victoria Gardens, The Yard, Chicago Shakespeare and Storyfront.
Companies from Mexico, Colombia and Puerto Rico, in addition to productions from New York and Los Angeles and local groups are participating in the first international Latino theater festival of Chicago.
From Colombia, the Vueltas Bravas Producciones Company is taking by its director Lorenzo Montanini the work “Miss Julia,” an adaptation of J. Ed Araiza which explores relations between the United States and Latin America.
From Mexico, the Teatro Línea de Sombra Company is premiering its work “Amarillo,” told through screened images, monologues, movement and a collage of atmospheric environments “that evoke layers of the national and individual identity of the immigrant.”
“Amarillo,” a name that goes back to the Texan city of Amarillo, is directed by Jorge Vargas and co-presented by the CLATA and Chicago Shakespeare Theater.
The Chicago Latino Theatre Alliance was created in 2016 by three of the city’s most important Latino cultural organizations: the International Latino Cultural Center, the National Museum of Mexican Art of Pilsen and the Puerto Rican Art Alliance.
EFE / OnCuba