It only lasted one weekend of performances
Luis Rondon Paz
HAVANA TIMES — The Cuban website Cubarte informed Internet users last week that the play El Rey Se Muere (“The King Is Dying”), a production staged by the El Ingenio theater company, was suspended on instructions from the National Stage Arts Council (CNAE) and Havana’s Theater Center. According to the note published, “the Tito Junco Theater at the Bertolt Brecht Cultural Center will offer an alternative program.”
“I liked the play. It’s a shame these things continue to happen, considering the times we’re going through,” Juan Jose, a retired man commented, pointing out how counterproductive he felt the CNAE’s decision is and blaming the institution for not encouraging debate and exchange through the theater. He added, quite convinced, that he did not see many similarities between the play’s king and the leader of the Cuban revolution, as the latter always opposed using his name and image for monuments and the like.
“He can go to hell, for all I care,” said Javier, a fourth-year journalism student at the University of Havana, reproaching Juan Carlos Cremata (the play’s director) for having granted an interview to the opposition Marti Noticias (“Marti News”) after the play was suspended.
Many different opinions – in favor of and against the play – have been heard. Now, it’s been suspended and many have been left eager to see something different, transgressive and challenging.
“If the shoe fits, then take it off. It’s time to mature and grow. We’re an educated people capable of making our own decisions, or aren’t we?” a theater expert who wished to remain anonymous commented.
Even though the play El Rey se Muere was taken off Cuban stages, its director Juan Carlo Cremata declared in an interview: “Neither prohibitions nor censorship are going to shut us up. This is not the time to keep quiet. We won’t keep quiet and we’re going to continue doing and saying what we have to where we know how, through our art, through theater, through cinema, even if this means doing it under different conditions. We’ll see.”