FTA Review: Cuban revolution reconstructed in “Granma. Trombones de La Havane”


Photo Credit: Doro Tuch

“In Cuba, it is taught that history is made by great heroes and martyrs, that history advances and develops from the repression of slavery to freedom and socialism. That history is objective. I don’t think it is like that. History is written neither by heroes nor by martyrs. History is written by everyone living it.”

Active since 2000, the Berlin collective Rimini Protokoll – who brought the beloved 100% Montreal to the FTA 2017 – returns to present “Granma. Trombones de la Havane, an overview of the recent history of Cuba from 1950 to today, as interpreted by descendants of Fidel Castro’s comrades. Through music, video projection and object theatre, four grandchildren of the revolution explore their relationships to the socio-political myths and realities of their heritage and imagine the future they hope to create.

Rimini Protokoll’s show is uniquely authentic because of its use of non-actors, who don’t portray a character but present themselves as regular people. Together they paint a picture of their reality. Refreshing and enjoyable by everyone from the politically savvy to the passionately rebellious. For anyone who has ever wanted to understand where they fit in conjunction with the collective history, “Granma…” a great place to start.

Photo Credit: Ute Langkafel

In “Granma. Trombones de la Havane“, The grandson of a politician, a young historian, the grandson of a soldier, and a musician stitch together the histories of their elders and together paint an authentic picture of the revolution to ask whether the utopian ideals of the past can still exist today. Their attitudes are hopeful and they hold strong to their beliefs. Milagro, the granddaughter of a seamstress, plans on becoming a professor of history, even though the salary she will earn is meagre compared to the one she could have if she worked in a tourist sector. “I believe in free education, like the one I had thanks to the revolution,” she says.

The ideals of socialism live within the piece’s very conventions. Among themselves they have created their own “micro brigade”, a term that emerged to describe certain housing projects in Cuba, meaning a group of people who build their own houses under the supervision and instruction of a professional. In this case, Diana, the granddaughter of a musician who decided to follow in her grandfather’s footsteps, taught the three other performers, over one year, to play the trombone. They play together during the show, making a unique musical soundscape to the piece, as well as reminiscing on the patriotic music of the Castro regime, a lot of which consisted of military marches using brass instruments. Stefan Kaegi, founder of Remini Protokoll describes this as, “a form of utopia.”

Photo Credit: Doro Tuch

Although the show is mostly a depiction of previous events, the grandchildren infuse within their stories times when they think their grandparents were wrong and mistakes their ancestors may have made that they have learned from. Over a live webcam video projection, they send inspirational messages to their forefathers telling them their thoughts. The video is projected out to the audience, as if the message their are sending into the past is also one they hope will reach us, the spectators, so as to affect the future; where socialism will not involve human failure, and they can finish their revolution.

The 13th Annual Festival TransAmériques presents

Stefan Kaegi

May 28 + 29 + 30 at 7pm
2 hours without intermission
In Spanish with English and French surtitles

1182, Boulevard Saint-Laurent

Box Office
514 844 3822 / 1 866 984 3822

Jasmine Winter

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