Granma. Trombones de La Havane
Grandchildren of Fidel’s Castro comrades employ the words of their grandparents to reconstruct the Cuban revolution… as they play the trombone.
Fidel Castro is dead and the Rolling Stones performed in Havana. Yet if in Cuba revolutionary rhymes paradoxically with octogenarian, the country is being transformed under the fascinated eyes of the world. Like their elders, young people would like to create a utopia that galvanizes the planet, but how to do so? Onstage, the grandchildren of Fidel’s comrades incarnate their grandparents and reinterpret the Castroist adventure as they question their heritage and imagine the future.
In keeping with his documentary approach, Stefan Kaegi of the Berlin collective Rimini Protokoll – producers of the delightful 100% Montreal in 2017 – met with some fifty grandchildren of the revolutionaries. He employs four of them onstage, as well as the contributions of young Cuban artists set to the sound of trombones (merrily liberated from their military stiffness), to paint a portrait of their present and their future, their reality and their dreams. An illuminating overview of Cuba from the 1950s to today.
Produced by Rimini Protokoll + Maxim Gorki Theater
Conceived and directed by Stefan Kaegi
Performed by Milagro Alvarez Leliebre + Daniel Cruces-Pérez + Diana Osumy Sainz + Christian Paneque Moreda
Dramaturgy Aljoscha Begrich + Yohayna Hernández
Set Design Aljoscha Begrich
Video Mikko Gaestel
Music Ari Benjamin-Meyers
Research Residencia Documenta Sur – Laboratorio Escénico de Experimentación Social (Havana)
Research and interviews (Cuba) Taimi Diéguez Mallo + Karina Pino Gallardo + Maité Hernández-Lorenzo + José Ramón Hernández Suárez + Ricardo Sarmiento Ramírez
Set Design Assistant Julia Casabona
Video Collaborator Marta María Borras
Production Manager Maitén Arns
Coproduction Festival TransAmériques + Emilia Romagna Teatro Fondazione (Modena) + Kaserne Basel + Onassis Cultural Centre (Athens) + Staatsschauspiel Dresden + Théâtre Vidy-Lausanne + LuganoInscena-LAC+ Zürcher Theaterspektakel (Zurich)
With the support of German Federal Cultural Foundation + Pro Helvetia, Fondation suisse pour la culture + Swiss Arts Council + Senate Department for Culture and Europe + Goethe-Institut Havana
Presented in association with Monument-National + Carrefour international de théâtre (Quebec City) With the support of Pro Helvetia, Fondation suisse pour la culture + Goethe-Institut Montreal + Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs of Germany
Written by Paul Lefebvre
Translated by Neil Kroetsch
Premiered at Maxim Gorki Theater, Berlin, on March 21, 2019
Stefan Kaegi (Zurich + Berlin)
Active since 2000, the Berlin collective Rimini Protokoll is a major player on the contemporary documentary and participatory theatre scene.
The members of the group (Helgard Haug, Stefan Kaegi and Daniel Wetzel) met in the 1990s while at the avant-garde Institute for Applied Theatre Studies in Giessen. Depending on the project, they work together as a trio, solo or as a duo.
For each new work Rimini Protokoll plunges into the heart of a specific human and social reality, working with people who live that reality, whether they be employees of Sabena after the brutal collapse of Sabena Airlines (Sabenation. Go home and follow the news), the muezzins who summon Muslims to prayer in Cairo (Radio Muezzin) or Bulgarian truckers (Cargo Sofia). These non-actors, identified during the research period, show up onstage as themselves, recounting their own experience in creative fashion, not imitating their reality but presenting a performative reality.
Initiated in Berlin in 2008, each presentation of their 100% City series includes a representative sample of 100 citizens selected using the same criteria. The project has been presented in over 35 cities, from Marseille to Melbourne, London to Vienna, not to mention Zurich, Cologne and Montreal.
Rimini Protokoll’s presentations, which also include films, radio programs and installations, shed new political light on the realities being studied, but from a perspective that is humanist, empathic and driven by a moving curiosity for the vast range of human experience.
Rimini Protokoll presented Mnemopark at the FTA in 2007, a portrait of Switzerland through the lens of model train enthusiasts who reconstruct the landscape to facilitate the movement of their toy trains. It also presented 100 % Montreal in 2017 as part of the city’s 375th anniversary celebrations.