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July 6-13, 2014
The organizers have announced that this year’s Aquelarre, which will be dedicated to the recently deceased Luis Carbonell, the Watercolorist of Antillean Poetry, will put on 11 different shows by comedy groups from the cities of Havana, Sancti Spíritus, Holguín and Santa Clara, as well as special guest performances. It is precisely the presence of artists from different parts of Cuba what makes Aquelarre, Cuba’s top comedy event, different from other festivals. Meanwhile, the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes will host a theoretical meeting about humor.
Once again, the Aquelarre National Humor Festival took place during one of the hottest months of the year to ease us into the hot summer days with refreshing performances of the best comedians in the country. With stand-up comedians, variety performers, sketch troupes and much more, the 2013 Aquelarre began on June 30. The city, however, had already begun rocking with laughter on June 21 with the show De Doime son los cantantes by 2012 National Humor Award winner Osvaldo Doimeadiós, who is considered Cuba’s most important comedian in the last 20 years and was paid tribute during the festival’s closing ceremony.
Organized by the Centro Promotor del Humor, the opening and closing ceremonies of Aquelarre 2013 were held at the 8,000-seat Karl Marx Theater in Miramar. Enrique “Kike” Quiñones, Director of the Centro Promotor del Humor, had previously announced that the program included workshops (one on drama and situation comedy by Doimeadiós himself), and lectures open to the general public at Casa Cultural ALBA and a season of Italian comedy films at the 23 y 12 movie theater.
The presence of artists from all over Cuba makes Aquelarre different from other festivals. Fifteen groups from 11 different provinces participated in 2013 during Cuba’s top comedy event, so this was a fantastic opportunity for both Habaneros and visitors to fully appreciate comedy from the rest of the nation.
Year after year, tickets are often sold out days before the shows, so be prepared. If you cannot find a ticket, look for people selling an extra ticket or two for up to five times their value outside of the theater!
If you’re in town and attend one of the shows, you’ll soon realize, paradoxical as it may seem, that Cuban humor—cutting and thought provoking—is actually no laughing matter.
July 2014 This article formed part of the july 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.
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