Hamletmachine (A soldier’s cry)

By Lynn Cruz

HAVANA TIMES — “Millennial Generation” is a term that is used in the United States to identify people born in the ‘90s, the idea that these would be the first young people in the new century.

In Cuba, those who were born during this tumultuous period in our History, called “Special”, were known as the “Transition Generation”, and maybe the tragedy of these young people lies in the fact that this change, which began to take root in Cuba after the Berlin Wall came down and the Socialist Bloc collapsed as a result, still hasn’t ended.

But, for people like the theater director, Adonis Milan, whose childhood took place among the Havana protests on August 4th 1994, and when the “13 de mayo” tugboat sank, words like “revolution”, “island”, “individual”, took on new meanings.

“Hamletmachine” by German playwright and director Heiner Muller, has returned again to Havana, and was performed on Saturday 30th September and Sunday October 1st at the “La Madriguera” venue, the headquarters of the Hermanos Saiz Association.

Exactly when one month was turning into the next, like a vain halo that signals Milan’s age, the director of Persefone Theater.

This new Hamlet reappears among a city’s ruins, where people dressed in black, who are traveling deranged on top of a floating board, are looking for and finding the city’s ghosts again. The lead character is a young skater and friki (played by actor Ernesto Pazos), who listens to Porno para Ricardo, Marilyn Manson, Amy Winehouse, Evanescence. The times’ hardness doesn’t give space to blues or pop music.


Played by actress Aymee Reinoso, who was the lead in this group’s play “El Arbol de los Gatos”, Ophelia appears projected onto a screen. Drowned in a bathtub, surrounded by flowers, Reinoso manages to create touching and intimate moments with the viewer. Then, unfolding into a native mambisa, Electra grabs the machete, her words are bullets, which point to chaos and rebellion while the actress expresses herself fluidly and with great sincerity.

An anarchist production, in content and form. Milan challenges, puts you at unease, breaks the rules, threatens the audience with tires off the street, on his stage without machines, where only rubber tires live on, a knife, a rope and a mask: from the “Anonymous” movement, from the movie “V for Vendetta”, examples that become self-defining for these young people (director and actor) within a society that doesn’t want them because of their age and kicks them out like orphaned traitors to the homeland.

A Hamlet that also deals with drugs, alienation, violence, uncertainty, emptiness. The cocaine addict’s grimace is unforgettable and transfigures the actor into a diabolic monstrosity, converting him into an object that loses his otherness.

Like a trapped prisoner, this character looks for everything outside, there’s nothing inside. This actor has managed to join Milan at a performance level that distinguishes him and invites him to continue his career, there’s no doubt about that.

The Knife.

You can hear the voices of Fidel Castro, Hitler, Lenin, Trump and Bush.

Milan undermines the Cuban hero, he is no longer sacred to him.

Finally, the black wardrobe is replaced by olive green and the anarchist ends up being transformed into a soldier. He marches, salutes, society controls him.

Incapable of continuing on with his revolution, he warns the audience that, just like himself, we aren’t capable of taking action either.

Muller’s original script is combined with the final monologue from: “The Serpent’s Egg” by Ingmar Bergman, and concludes stating that “Humanity is a genetic error.”

A cruel ending, not promising in the slightest. The soldier ends up trapped, transformed into a rubber machine.

Hamletmachine in Havana today, 40 years after its debut in France, is a cry, a lament about the new generation’s political deafness that asks for cries that legitimize its diversity.

Unfortunately the Hermanos Saiz Association only authorized two functions of the play, even though the room was full and many people were left out during the premiere, due to lack of capacity.

At the moment the director is looking for a venue that until now have been denied him, but if necessary, he says he will present it within a month, in the living room of his own house.