The Huntington does it again. This past week, I had the opportunity to see Becoming Cuba by Melinda Lopez, directed by M. Bevin O’Gara. As a first generation Cuban-American, I was overjoyed at the prospect of this play–and even more so when I found out the topic. The play is set in late 1890’s Havana, on the brink of the Spanish-American war that resulted in Cuba’s independence from Spain. This is not an era of history usually treated in work about Cuba, so it was a pleasure to watch.
At the time, Cuba maintained an atmosphere rife with tension and uncertainty, excellently mirrored in the characters’ own lives. Adela, a strong, convincing character performed by Christina Pumariega, has taken over her husband’s pharmacy after his death. The first act was incredibly engaging, with ping-pong dialogue reminiscent of the fast rhythms of Spanish. The action picked up considerably in the second act, with shining moments from each of the performers. It was funny. It was heart-wrenching. It was passionate.
I would recommend this to anyone eager to travel to this rich, sensuous era. The play will invite you to immerse yourself in Havana’s cadence; its beauty will be imprinted in your mind.
Photos courtesy of the Huntington Theatre Company.