2003 ... DREAMWALKING ... 2004




Gunston Arts Center

Oct 17 - Nov 15, 2003

by Alberto Pedro Torriente (Cuba)

directed by Harold Ruíz (Cuba)

“In Spanish with live English dubbing”

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Dramatic Comedy


It's New Year's Eve and three siblings prepare to celebrate in an old Havana tenement - a family survives; its identity chances. One of the best illustrative works of new Cuban theater, Manteca's theme is "Life without Utopia is Impossible". Vibrant and different, it takes fraternal communication into a hoped - for Tomorrow.


Alberto Pedro Torriente (1954) is a Cuban actor, poet and playwright.  He has written more than 15 plays, including Weekend in Bahía, Abandoned, Malinche Passion, Havana Delirium, Our Sea, and The Infinite Banquet.  Together with Miriam Lezcano he began “Teatro Mio”, which has staged the greater part of his works, among them, Manteca/Lard. 
Lard, written in 1993, has been staged throughout the western world; in Canada (1997) as well as Cuba, including the U.S., Spain and France (2001).  A dramatic comedy whose social theme places it among the most relevant and daring pieces of the ‘90s, it is one of the most instructive works of the decade.  Lard captures a moment in the lives of three combative, very different siblings as they debate over the possible execution of another.  It is New Year’s Eve as they fight their way to a new year and a new life.

Directed by:

Harold Ruíz

From the Director:

The first time I saw Manteca I was stunned.  I don’t know whether it was because I felt as though I were one of the 11,000,000 Puchos, Dulces or Celestinos from the play.  I don’t know whether it was the bravery exhibited in exposing daily difficulties of our lives - at times subtly at others with stark realism; including intimate problems which no one in Cuba dares mention aloud for obvious reasons.  The loss of the possibility of something different.  Today, ten years after its writing and first performance, I have the enormous privilege to direct Manteca in Washington, D.C., thanks to those untiring  worker ants who call themselves Teatro de la Luna.  Manteca, by Alberto Pedro Torriente, is one of the most significant and interesting plays to come out of the Cuban theater in the past decade.  Its direct language, without embellishments, seizes the essence of Cuban life, without changes; as permanent as the system that engendered it.  This language tells the story of three siblings with personalities as different as their methods of seeing and dealing with the reality that suffocates them.  Manteca is real, concrete, painful, free – as free as the novel Pucho will never publish.  From this comes my interest in the play; from this comes my promise as a director:  to show the jumble of beginnings and wants this People suffers through by means of theater, to spectators avid to see what is forbidden with their own eyes.  As Alberto Pedro says through his creation, Pucho, “…because eating wasn’t the problem, rather, it was the loss of the possibility of something different…”  As a director, but above all as a Cuban, I dedicate this play to all those who in Cuba, and in the world at large, who struggle against the wind and the tide to hope for something different.