Sonlar: "The dignity of a Solar"
By Marta Sarabria
Two years ago, we attended the premiere of "Sonlar", a mixture of dancing and percussion, performed by Rene de Cardenas dancing company, that depicts the daily life at a "solar" - a typical Cuban old mansion, split into rooms, having individual households and inhabited by many people-. By then, we were quite sure that this play would succeed and endure. Today, our certainty has become a reality: the company has played one hundred performances in Cuba and several European nations.
"Sonlar", is not only a show where dancing and percussion mix up, but a work that describes an epoch with a distinctive feature of our identity: "el choteo" - humor. In Sonlar, there isnt sadness. Humor allows us to reflect on topics like the "machismo" -the macho man-, love and tolerance, dealt with subtlety, and focused on man's development.
The play intends make the public understand and accept the people living at a solar, a place so rejected in our society.
Its success is achieved by the originality of the music, done with work instruments used by the people living in this place, like casseroles, laundering vats, brooms, hammers and fans, reminding us the primitive times. But, at the same time, these instruments acquire a universal character, when we recognize that these sounds are also present in mans lives.
The solar is the stage itself, that has been modified. During the play, we enjoy Cuban cultural traditions and rhythms, prevailling the "guaguancó" and the "rumba"; we respect the ritual to the "orishas" -Santeria-, and we clap at the rhythm of the "chancletas" -sandals.
The dancing company is integrated by talented young people, that do not only master the dancing and drama techniques. They also play with dexterity the music that comes from the daily utensils, transformed into percussion instruments.
The professionality of the artistic team is seen through the selection of the companys members, through the ethical and aesthetic detail of its ethnic composition, integrated by whites, "mulattos" and blacks, a mixture of races that intertwine, making a unique race: the Cubans.
During these two years, the theater lobbies have become arts galleries, that comment on the works of Cuban Plastics artists, that have sensitized with this project directed by René de Cárdenas, who have touched the hearts of those that enjoy, with him, one day at the "Solar".