Jeanne Claire van Ryzin interviews Teatro Vivo artistic director Rupert Reyes about the April 5 - 7 staged readings of the New Latino Play Festival at the Emma S. Barrientos Mexican-American Cultural Center:
Festival puts spotlight on new Latino playwrights
by Jeanne Claire van Ryzin
It was standing room only at the first Austin Latino New Play Festival last year.
Teatro Vivo artistic director and co-founder Rupert Reyes hadn't necessarily anticipated an overflow crowd.
After all, the three plays featured were brand-new, not familiar fare, and presented as staged readings, not fully realized productions. It was the kind of free, workshop-style event that attracts a mostly theater-insider crowd fond of chewing over new scripts in post-show discussions.
And so Reyes booked the small black-box theater room at the Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center, which accommodates 80 people.
But when many more than that showed up, extra chairs had to be found and some folks had to stand.
"It wasn't just the number of people who showed up that was so surprising," said Reyes, a veteran theater artist. "It was the sense of people wanting to have their comments about the scripts heard. Everybody stayed for the talk-backs. Everybody was really engaged with the plays."