Toc Toc: an Opportunity to Laugh at the Theater in Havana

Irina Pino

People are longing to have a laugh in order to forget their everyday problems, how hard life here is on our island, the sweltering heat, food shortages and a lack of other resources.

A scene from Toc Toc

HAVANA TIMES – Obsessive compulsive disorders cause a lot of harm. It makes people uneasy to watch others who suffer from these kinds of disorders… although this time, it takes the play written by French playwright Laurent Baffie as its basis, which made its debut with Cuban theater company A teatro limpio.

Audience turnouts have been so great that it has been put on at different theaters such as El sotano, Raquel Revuelta, and it is now on the billboard at the Bertholt Brecht Cultural Center.

Packed out theater halls, viewers who weren’t able to get hold of a ticket… this all goes to prove that people are longing to have a good laugh in order to forget their everyday problems, how hard life here is on our island, the sweltering heat, food shortages and a lack of other resources.

So, there’s no harm in enjoying this hilarious comedy to numb yourself to the world for two hours.

The writer sets it in a very unique place: a psychologist’s consultation room. All six characters have OCD: Obsessive compulsive disorders; Vicente spends his day doing math calculations in his head, Blanca cleans everything because she is germophobic, and even her favorite color is white; Alfredo has Tourette Syndrome: he can’t stop cursing out of the blue, and whenever he shouts “faggot” or “I will screw them all” it isn’t insulting as such, but very funny because it is so unexpected.

One of the most appealing characters is Lily who has echolalia and palilalia, repeating words and phrases as if she were a parrot. Lily is played by young actress Ana Pomares.

Scene from the play Toc Toc

On the whole, the entire cast puts on a great performance; Hugo Vargas, the director, impresses the audience with Cuban expressions thrown into the dialogue. However, after seeing the 2017 Spanish film adaptation of the play, directed by Vicente Villanueva, with Paco Leon (Luisma in the TV series Aida), Rosy de Palma (from Almodovar’s movies) and Oscar Martinez (Argentinian actor in comedies and dramas), you’ll make comparisons because film is a medium where charisma rules.

However, none of that matters because the interesting thing about theater is that it is reborn in every scene, artists have an opportunity to improve, settling into their characters and getting into their psyche more.

I recommend you go see Toc Toc, Fridays and Saturdays at 8:30 PM, Sundays at 5 PM, throughout August. I promise you you’ll have an entertaining evening.

We might even find ourselves depicted in some of these compulsions because nobody really is normal in this world.

Irina Pino

Irina Pino: I was born in the middle of shortages in those sixties that marked so many patterns in the world. Although I currently live in Miramar, I miss the city center with its cinemas and theaters, and the bohemian atmosphere of Old Havana, where I often go. Writing is the essential thing in my life, be it poetry, fiction or articles, a communion of ideas that identifies me. With my family and my friends, I get my share of happiness.