Cuba’s Theater World Mourns Losses

Dariela Aquique

Ramiro Herrero Beaton. Photo:

HAVANA TIMES, Jan 12 — We’re starting the year and the Cuban theater world is in mourning. Only day’s apart, we lost two of its finest exponents: Ramiro Herrero Beaton and Vicente Revuelta Planas.

However the news reporting has run different courses since one of them was a dramatist from the provinces, while those who reside in the capital enjoy a certain prerogative.

Nonetheless, both Ramiro Herrero and Vicente Revuelta made valuable contributions to theatrical performances and teaching to several generations of artists.

The first was from Santiago. Ramiro Herrero was an artistic director, actor, researcher, playwright and teacher. He was the founder and director of Cabildo Teatral Santiago, the flagship group of the province and of the whole eastern part of the country.

He performed as an actor in many plays and movies with titles like La carga al machete, La cueva del muerto and En el aire. In fact, he was a creator with a curriculum that exceeded 120 stage productions in Cuba and abroad.

Included in those were two pieces considered to be among the hundred best of Cuban theater: De como Santiago Apostol puso los pies en la tierra and Asamblea de las mujeres.  He also contributed to important publications.

Ramiro died on January 3 and was accompanied to the Santa Ifigenia cemetery (in Santiago de Cuba) by all of the playwrights of the city. They marched on foot from the funeral home wearing theatrical costumes of the dramatic style characteristic of the locality; and at the time of burial they applauded his life for ten minutes, sending him off with the classic “bravo.”

In Havana, shortly after, the capital’s dramatists said farewell on Wednesday at the Colon Necropolis to the great Vicente Revuelta, the 1999 National Theatre Award winner along with his sister Rachel, who also passed away.

The remarkable master of stage arts, one of the leading contemporary Cuban theater personalities, one of the greatest actors and directors in the country and of Latin America, left us on the morning of January 10 after 82 years of productive life.

But he also left his magnificent work, the insurmountable performances of so many theatrical characters, including his unforgettable frustrated bourgeois character in one the best films of Cuban cinema, Los sobrevivientes, by Tomas Gutierrez Alea.

The founder and leader of the Teatro Estudio, Vicente Revuelta was a non-conformist revolutionizer of innovative trends. He created the group Los Doces and introduced the most innovative methods in terms of technique and drama in Cuba in his time.

Under his leadership hundreds of dramatists were trained. In the necropolis of Colon, in the presence of the Minister of Culture, and among many important figures, a long and warm applause was given to old Vicente, the master teacher.

I had the opportunity to work with Ramiro Herrero as his assistant. Likewise, I had the immense pleasure to personally meet and talk with Vicente Revuelta Planas. As a person of the Cuban theater and as a Cuban woman, I join in this grief and say: “Adios artists.”

Dariela Aquique

Dariela Aquique: I remember my years as a high school student, especially that teacher who would interrupt the reading of works and who with surprising histrionics spoke of the real possibilities of knowing more about the truth of a country through its writers than through historical chronicles. From there came my passion for writing and literature. I had excellent teachers (sure, those were not the days of the Fast-track Teachers) and extemporization and the non-mastery of subjects was not tolerated. With humble pretenses, I want to contribute to revealing the truth about my country, where reality always overcomes fiction, but where a novel style shrouds its existence.

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One thought on “Cuba’s Theater World Mourns Losses

  • Are there English translations that one might read of Mr. Beaton or Mr. Planas’ plays? Thank you 🙂

    Todd Olson
    Producing Artistic Director
    American Stage Theatre Company
    St. Petersburg, FL

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