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A decision was taken in 2012 to eliminate the competitive nature of the Festival, complete with the awarding of prizes. This gave rise to different opinions: some believe it could take interest away from participation and also shortchange a sector that lacks recognition. Others think that there is less tension in the air when you remove the rivalry. What is certain is that the generous presence of groups from various provinces belies the dropping off of interest since the mere fact of being selected from amongst the proposals received by the organizers constitutes a kind of prize in itself.
This year as we remember the 200th anniversary of the birth of the playwright and poet from Camagüey Gertrudis Gómez de Avellaneda, the festival has taken on a meaningful theme: Theater: memory, feelings and transfers. The plays, which revolve around this slogan, have been organized in different sections, so that audience may enjoy productions that established guidelines in prior editions and continue to be part of the repertoires of emblematic groups, along with plays that deal with present-day issues and others that venture into an interesting symbiosis of genres and language.
Dozens of productions have been announced from 28 Cuban companies hailing from 12 provinces; such a truly national stamp has been one of the most important gains of the Camagüey festival. Surpassed only by Havana, there has been a healthy infrastructure put together in order to stage work produced from September 2012 to June 2014. Facilities have been expertly set up, some of them by the actors of the companies themselves, as in the case of Teatro del Viento. City squares will also provide excellent stages thereby taking dramatic representations back to earlier times.
Far beyond the essential material conditions, the well-versed, educated and soberly hospitable audiences of Camagüey will surely be among the true prizes for artistic prowess among the selected participants. Groups from Pinar del Río, Artemisa, La Habana, Isla de la Juventud, Matanzas, Cienfuegos, Villa Clara, Ciego de Ávila, Camagüey, Las Tunas, Granma and Santiago de Cuba will add a glow to the festival, which will also feature the performance of the popular young singer Luna Manzanares, as well as the opening of four exhibitions dealing with the festival’s curatorial concept.
The venue for the theoretical event will be the recently refurbished Casablanca Movie Theater on “the street of movie theaters” that came to life during the inspiring celebrations marking the 500 years of the city. A special feature will be a seminar given by the French theoretician Jean-Frédéric Chevallier who will stage his plays as tools for the construction and interpretation of contemporary theater. As usual, there will be colloquiums, meetings with critics, a roundtable with international theatrical programmers, dramaturgy pitching aimed at new Cuban playwrights, book launchings by the Tablas Alarcos press, the presentation of the Conjunto magazine and the Report of the 14th Festival (2013), and an International Marionette Union (Unima) forum. Octuber 2014 This article formed part of the August 2014 issue of What’s On Havana The definitive monthly travel & culture guide to Havana Download our current issue of What’s On Havana, your definitive travel, culture and entertainment guide for all things happening in Havana, Cuba’s bustling and enigmatic capital city. We include features from around Cuba written by the best international travel writers covering Cuba. Our monthly online digital magazine is also available in Spanish and French.
What’s On Havana What’s On La Habana What’s On La Havane Octuber, 2014
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