By Irina Echarry, Photos: Caridad
HAVANA TIMES, May 29 – The refrain The colorful butterflies, whimsically flying by… was sung by adults and children alike, along with Snow White (Nathalie Tamayo) and the seven dwarfs who welcomed her into their house.
In the Havana production of A Concert for Snow White, color, splendor, and song have reigned in the Bertolt Brecht Theater over this past month each Saturday and Sunday at 11:00 a.m.
The youth singing group “Estrellitas” (Starlets) takes us on a journey through this version of the classic story directed by Jennifer Almeida.
An amusing cat (Carla Garcia) accompanies Snow White throughout the entire piece – protesting, making one laugh, showing fright and giving advice.
The jester, played by Liz Velis, narrates the story displaying tremendous energy, running from one side of the stage to the other, jumping and ringing the bells in her hands. She captures and maintains the attention of the children in the audience.
The production is restrained, cheerful, and sprinkled with children’s jokes to recreate this story, full of evil and suspense.
The witch (Laura Alonso) is capable of anything to stay the “fairest of them all.” In this Cuban rendition, she gives a poison guava to Snow White to send her into a deep and endless sleep, at least until the prince arrives and undoes the spell with a kiss.
The story is seamed together with song, making use of several musical genres.
In addition, the dwarfs remind us that we can all live in harmony, despite the fact that our ways of thinking and our tastes may not be the same. To make that point, there appears a rocker, a Rastafarian, a sick person, a know-it-all, a rumba dancer and a campesino – collectively reflecting the diversity that characterizes today’s Cuban society.
A Concert for Snow White is performed by children with the support of their mothers and fathers, whose presence is felt in the atmosphere, organization and discipline within the theater. The attractive wardrobe was donated by Marilín Alvarez, a marvelous woman that cooperates with the project.
Unfortunately, however, the production has not enjoyed strong institutional backing. It is truly sad that such a noble attempt has been hampered by a shortage of materials and the lack of support.
Fortunately the girls and boys Estrellitas singing group believe that – although they do not have a place to rehearse, lack the proper promotion of their activities, and their families have had to assume all the expenses – “being happy doesn’t cost a thing.”
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