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A Palace for the Cuban Theater
Last July 17 took place the reopening ceremony with a program reserved only to special occasions: the premiere in Cuba of the musical play Cabaret, the staging of the play Si vas a comer espera por Virgilio, the launching of the Tablas magazine and the opening of the Raúl Oliva art gallery.

Designed by the notable Cuban architect Aquiles Capablanca and headquarters of the theater company Teatro Político Bertolt Brecht in the early ‘70s, the building recovered its esthetic and cultural values by means of two halls properly equipped with the latest technology, which will reopen from Thursday to Saturday at 8:30 p.m. and Sundays at 5:00 p.m., and a gallery that includes cardinal periods of the stage design in Cuba.

The process of restoration, assumed by the investment group of the Ministry of Culture in coordination to the National Council for Performing Arts and the City Historian Office has made possible its reintegration into the theater circuit of the capital with different options that include all of the modes of the theatrical arts, shows for children (Saturdays and Sundays at 11:00 a.m.) and the regular activities for the community, according the report of Marvin Yaquis, director of the complex, for Granma.

The Raúl Oliva gallery, specialized in stage design, one-of-a-kind in Latin America.

Marvin, graduated from the Higher Institute of Arts (Spanish ISA), explains that the gallery is lucky to be the first one of its kind in Latin America and it was conceived to shoe the works of "all those artists who are barely known and always appear in the program of a theater performance: set designers, light designers, costume designers, and makeup artists".

Named after the distinguished stage designer Raúl Oliva, this space —which can be visited on Mondays and Tuesdays from 2:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. and on Sundays from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. — provides a computer network containing all the evolution of the stage design in Cuba and adapts to the building style with a creative light design and an intimate atmosphere built on the basis of so much sensibility and beauty that it seems the work of a woman’s hands.

Marvin not only holds the chair of director. He also takes part in some performances as a light designer. Maybe some day his name appears in the gallery along with other anonymous artists who live the temptations of theater in the darkness, behind the scenes.

The main hall of Brecht theater was reopened with the staging of Cabaret.

While passers-by challenged the burning midday sun and the pressures of the real life, the actors of the troupe Mephisto Teatro, directed by Tony Díaz, rehearse the staging of Cabaret, a delicious musical play that is a credit to the Cuban cultural guide, almost with priestly fervor. The plot takes place in a Germany in which anti-Semitism anticipating the coming to power of fascism begins to show.

Their sweat shining bodies defy tiredness until they achieve perfectly measured pauses and the right body emphases. Their efforts have the credit of the applauses they have received from the start of the Cuban staging of Cabaret in the main hall Tito Junco.

This space, which has left an important mark in the memories of the theater lovers, experienced again the clamor of performances with 600 new seat, intelligent lights, air conditioners and a stage that can be adapted to any space within the hall, depending on the play’s requirements.

At the feet of the Centre, the 200 stalls of the Café Teatro Bertolt Brecht wait for the arrival of the public. As if it were a good premonition, the hall reopened with the staging of the play Si vas a comer espera por Virgilio, by the troupe Pequeño Teatro de La Habana, directed by its creator, the winner of the National Prize of Theater, José Milián.

Virgilio, seated at the table with a disciple and the weight of his legend, looks at history through his personal drama and through the eyes of the audience, who watched the performance with so much attention that they seemed to have put down roots in their seats. The hall witnessed new applauses, the incredible illusions of theater and conditions that makes you wish stay there forever.

Marvis Yaquis knows it. But he doesn’t get overconfident about it. The experience of almost 30 years in theater leads her to express that la good attitude of the public and personal are essential to preserve the new look of the building. Also, he speaks about the contribution of the project to, in the future, fulfill the collective dream of creating a great theater circuit across Línea Street, where is located the building to which he has dedicated the virtues of his best years.

For the moment, he has joined the members of the troupe Mephisto Teatro, who approve of his idea that "the new state of the facility not only benefits the thousands of people who come every weekend, but also it has been very well received by the actors who perform here".

"Since we began with the rehearsals we felt like the Brecht Theater was the palace of Cuban theater", said one of them before fading away in a weak lighting, as if he was at the mercy of the unsteady light of the candles.


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