The 16th edition of Havana’s Theatre Festival fulfilled the expectations of theater enthusiasts and was perhaps more successful than last year’s edition, according to its organizers.
“We can say that the 16th Theatre Festival of Havana has far exceeded the previous edition,” the member of the organizing committee, Noel Bonilla-Chongo, told local press shortly before the closing act, which this time featured Les Ballets de Monte Carlo (Ballet Company).
A ten-day varied program with very well conceived proposals speaks for itself, as well as the huge professionalism shown by the event’s organizers, who tried hard to subtitle most of the foreign plays so that the audience could understand them better.
“We had plays that were loyal to the original text, others that allude to another universe, other expressive arts, dance, ballet, videos, and installations in different places. I think this is the hallmark of this edition,” added Bonilla-Chongo.
Probably one of the best decisions made for the event –this time dedicated to honour the 90th birthday of iconic British director Peter Brooks- was to go far beyond traditional plays, thus increasing the number of proposals.
Plays of different genres were staged and therefore a more heterogeneous audience in terms of age and place of origin was present, ranging from young university students to housewives, theatre enthusiasts and ordinary Cubans, who filled nearly 30 theatres that hosted the event.
Worth mentioning is the musical Broadway Rox, which had different generations of Cubans dancing with passages of emblematic performances such as Jesus Christ Superstar, Mamma Mia, Rent or Hair.
Havana’s Mella Theatre was the ideal setting for the thousands of theatre lovers who attended all three days of performances there to sing and dance to the rhythm of pieces by John Lennon and Billy Joel, among other British authors.
The Nederlander Theater organization set off a passion for rock in Havana when it first came to the Cuban stage in 2011. It has now become a regular performer with adaptations like the Spanish version of the popular play Rent.
Meanwhile, the show/concert Crash, from the United States, combined music and suggestive visual elements, with sounds and melodies produced by amazing items such as jacket zippers or a basket of rice.
Among the less orthodox proposals featured the multidisciplinary show Glory Box (Australia) performed at Hotel Riviera’s Salón Copa Room (hall), a colourful show with a cabaret/casinolike style, two sub-genres practically forgotten in the Cuban theatre.
REVITALIZING FROM THE CONVENTIONAL
It would be naïve to think that an event with more than 30 years of history would break its effective patterns with its only intention being to attract new audiences through the use of fireworks and newer elements.
The theater, at least in its theoretical preconception, was present at this cultural event, with the monologue and traditional representations being given due recognition.
Regarding this, there were plays like “Ayer dejé de matarme gracias a ti Heiner Müller” by Konstanz Theater (Germany), “El Bogotazo” (Colombia) and “O Cantil” by Máquina Theater (Brazil), as well as the classical play Cinderella by the Montecarlo Ballet, which closed the event.
Among the Cuban companies featuring in the event were leading theater companies such as Teatro Buendía and Argos, which showed that Cuban theater is really going strong.
With 22 countries attending, the 16th edition of Havana’s Theater Festival staged 37 foreign shows, 13 from Cuba, and two with mixed acts, for a total of 260 performances, which is a significant number.
This new edition of the Havana Theatre Festival captivated the attention of people with the most diverse tastes but remaining loyal to the principles that led to its foundation in 1985, when a group of visionaries agreed to show the world that it is possible to bring together the planet’s leading theatre companies without having huge resources.Share on FB Share on TT