Fin de Fiesta.
NEW YORK CITY: Arts organizations of all sizes have suffered from the economic retraction of the Great Recession years, but perhaps none so sorely as those which Susan a Tubert describes as "little-huge." Indeed, a combination of small resources and big ambitions characterized, and ultimately doomed, the organization Tubert cofounded, the Latino International Theater Festival of New York (LITF/NY), and its annual production, TeatroStageFest, which began in 2007 and had its last hurrah this past April 12-June 30.
"The economy dealt us a bad hand, as it did everyone else," said Tubert, who recently began a new job as creative director with the Creative Entertainment team at Disneyland Resort. "This is an event that was born big, and the second year it was already walking and running around. It was conceived as a very large-scale event, for better and worse." Indeed, by the end of its run, LITF/NY was no longer a two-week festival but a year-round presenting organization that not only brought Latin and Iberian-American stage work to the U.S. but took it on the road to Colombia, Argentina and Brazil. It was in the middle of its last year, on the heels of that ambitious tour, that Tubert realized the program was "marvelous but unsustainable. I thought: This has been a magnificent year of programming; let's stop on a high."
Among the talent she's most proud of introducing to the U.S. are the Chilean writer/director Guillermo Calderon (Neva), Argentine auteur Claudio Tolcachir (The Coleman Family's Omission), Spain's Teatro La Zaranda (Those Who Last Laugh), and a lauded Colombian/Mexican Hamlet From director Martin Acosta.
And while the festival's independence from larger institutions may have made it vulnerable, for Tubert, this is also "one aspect that takes some of the edge away. We got to realize our vision, make our vision happen: it was our success and our mistakes, not anyone else's. We got to write the start of our story and the end of our story."
TeatroStageFest ends, then, "with difficulty but a sense of real accomplishment. I hope and believe the seeds that we planted will grow and blossom in the U.S." Read more at www.teatrostagefest.org.