Street Theater

Praying With the Enemy

Just outside the U.S. Oficina de Intereses (the official-unofficial American Embassy) in Cuba sits a huge billboard depicting two shores separated by an ocean. On one stands a tall, skinny Uncle Sam-type character. (Guess who?) On the other side, his army fatigues-clad, cigar-smoking counterpart (you know who) stands under a palm tree. The sign reads, "Señores Imperialistas: No les tenemos ningun miedo." (Mr. Imperialists, we are not in the least bit afraid of you.) During a recent trip there, a Cuban-American friend told me Cubans often walk by that sign and mutter, under their breath: "But what we do feel is a lot of envy." Praying With the Enemy captures this abrasive and bitterly ironic humor, which is characteristic of Cubans in and out of exile, on and off the stage, politically, culturally, and otherwise.

Praying With the Enemy reaches out and grabs the audience  --  especially in light of recent events
Praying With the Enemy reaches out and grabs the audience -- especially in light of recent events

Maybe because recent events have reminded us of the theatrical realities in life, the Coconut Grove Playhouse on May 7 presented a postshow workshop called "Hypothetical History: A Discussion Centered on the Cuban Immigration." The Playhouse invited academics and journalists to lead an audience discussion on how to unite "this diverse community by reducing the cultural and social fragmentation" that is straining South Florida. This is not play-acting -- or is it?

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