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A role model in the world of documentary theater, Rimini Protokoll is back with a production that, 60 years after the Cuban Revolution, asks about the whereabouts of the promised utopia for new generations.
Sixty years after the Cuban Revolution, four youngsters from this country look back at the history of their ancestors from the present day. Daniel is the grandson of Faustino Pérez, the minister in charge of recuperating goods that were embezzled during the revolution. Christian is a 24 year old software programmer who traces his grandfather’s roots back to the Angolan civil war. Milagro is a history student who’s trying to understand why this event, which gave her the opportunity to study, barely allows her to make a living as a teacher. The grandfather of Diana, who’s 31 and a musician, was one of the founding members of the Maravillas de Florida Orchestra. In Granma, metales de Cuba, these four Cubans embark on a journey back in time in order to reconstruct stories from several generations of their families, at the same time as these become intertwined with the sociopolitical reality of an island that’s changing. They take to the stage to try and understand Cuba’s history in order to continue writing its future, taking on a challenge they thought was impossible, accompanied by Ari Benjamin Meyers and four trombones. Granma is the latest creation by prestigious documentary theater group Rimini Protokoll, who took part in Santiago a Mil in 2019 with their acclaimed installation Nachlass.
Cast and crew
Cast: Milagro Álvarez Leliebre, Daniel Cruces-Pérez, Christian Paneque Moreda, Diana Sainz Mena | Concept and directed by: Stefan Kaegi | Set: Aljoscha Begrich | Video: Mikko Gaestel, Stefan Korsinsky (on tour) | Musical score: Ari Benjamin Meyers | Sound designers: Tito Toblerone, Aaron Ghantus | Written by: Aljoscha Begrich, Yohayna Hernández | Wardrobe: Julia Casabona | Technical director and lighting designers: Sven Nichterlein, Martin Schwemin (on tour) | Production director: Maitén Arns | Video collaborator: Marta María Borrás | Script collaborator: Ricardo Sarmiento | Assistant director: Noemie Berkowitz | Assistant set designer: Julia Casabona | Assistant producers: Federico Schwindt, Dianelis Diéguez | Work experience: Joana Falkenberg (set), Ignacia González (directing), Lenna Stam (costumes) | Tour managers: Maitén Arns, Federico Schwindt (on tour) | Subtitles: Meret Kündig | Translation: Meret Kündig, Franziska Muche, Anna Galt, Marta Vukovic, Adrien Leroux (Panthea) | Trombone lessons: Yoandry Argudin Ferrer, Diana Sainz Mena and Rob Gutowski | Research in Cuba: Documenta Sur residency, coordinated by the Social Experimentation Performance Lab.: Maité Hernandéz-Lorenzo (researcher and journalist), Karina Pino Gallardo (resident), José Ramón Hernández Suárez (resident), Ricardo Sarmiento Ramírez (resident), Taimi Diéguez Mallo (resident) and Miriam E. González Abad (producer). Produced by: Rimini Protokoll and the Maxim Gorki Theatre in Berlin | Coproduced by: the Emilia Romagna Teatro Fondazione, the TransAmériques Festival (Montreal), Kaserne Basel, the Onassis Cultural Center in Athens, the Théatre Vidy-Lausanne, LuganoInscena-Lac, Zürcher Theaterspektakel, the Festival d’Avignon | Sponsored by: the Federal German Foundation for Culture, the Pro Helvetia Swiss Arts Council and the Senate Department for Culture and Europe | In collaboration with: the Goethe Institute in Havana.
Beyond theatrical conventions
Born in Switzerland in 1972, this Swiss-German documentary theater director and producer cofounded the acclaimed Rimini Protokoll group with Helgard Haug and Daniel Wetzel in 2000. He has collaborated on various projects with the Argentine writer and theater director Lola Arias, including Ciudades paralelas, a ‘mobile festival’ based on urban interventions. His approach to theater is anything but traditional: his work is known for representing reality in unconventional places, such as the street, buses or public buildings, similar to performance pieces and creating complex theater experiences. In 2011, he won the Silver Lion at the Venice Biennale.
Pioneers of documentary theater
Founded in 2000 by artists Stefan Kaegi, Helgard Haug and Daniel Wetzel, this group is constantly looking for ways of reflecting reality through theater. Its body of work includes plays, interventions, installations and audio pieces that go beyond the constructs of conventional venues. Many of its productions are interactive and use technology for fun. The group has become a global role model for their development of documentary theater, bringing people who aren’t necessarily actors to the stage and developing stories connected with their experiences. It’s won several awards for its productions in Germany, Switzerland and Italy, among other countries. Since 2003, its headquarters has been in Berlin, Germany.
“A journey between past and present that soon turns into a kind of collective awareness, with emotions and private feelings merging to question what’s left of that mythical Cuba (…) An intelligent and moving show”.
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