Monday, October 09, 2006

Cuba, the country the world left behind - UPDATED

One of things my mother instilled in me is an appreciation for art and culture. For many years now, Mom has been active in Miami's Hispanic Theater Guild and I've benefitted from that immensly. Last night Mom took my wife, Ana Ivette, and I to see The Guild's latest production called Dos Hermanas y un Piano by the Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Nilo Cruz.

This drama is set in Cuba in 1991. The world is changing, walls are being torn down, freedom is reaching lands that hadn't breathed it in more than seven decades. But alas our protagonists are in Cuba, living under house arrest after serving time in prison. Their crime: writing and signing a letter in favor of Perestroika.

Maria Celia Obispo is an author whose romance novels have now become "anti-revolutionary". She shares the family home with her younger sister Sofia. Cut off from the outside world, their old piano is the one the thing that keeps them entertained. Maria Celia's husband has managed to abandon the country. She is sure that he writes her but her mail is being is being intercepted. Enter Teniente Portuondo, an agent of Cuba's notorious interior ministry.

I won't reveal any more of the story, but I will say it's an excellent portrayal. It left me disturbed because here we are 15 years later and nothing in Cuba has changed for the better. On the contrary things are much worse. The world simply forgot about Cuba.

You can see Dos Hermanas y un Piano at Teatro 8 at 2101 SW 8th Street in Miami. For more information call 305-541-4841.

Thanks Mom!

Update: I was looking for information about the play and its author and found this description:

The play is based in part on the story of Maria Elena Cruz Varela, a prize-winning Cuban poet who, in 1991, organized a human rights organization called Alternative Criteria. Following this act of dissent, she was assaulted in her Havana apartment by a government-sponsored vigilante group. After being dragged down several flights of stairs, Cruz Varela was taken outside of her apartment building and again beaten in front of a cheering mob, which included a group of schoolchildren trucked in for the occasion. She was then forced to eat papers containing her writings before being arrested and imprisoned.
Ah, yes the Worker's Paradise indeed!


Val Prieto said...

My wife and I have been wanting to see that play since we first heard about it.

Orlando said...

My wife and I saw this play here in a tiny little repertorio here in OC. It's a must see. I will tell you that we got there a little late and had to watch the first act sitting in the lobby looking at a 12 inch TV screen, but it was worth it, and now we have a story to tell.