Goodman Introduces U.S. Audiences to Cuba's Teatro Buendía July 8-18

News   Goodman Introduces U.S. Audiences to Cuba's Teatro Buendía July 8-18
Cuba's Teatro Buendía, known for its heightened performance style and its commitment to classics, will make its U.S. debut with two productions in Goodman Theatre's Latino Theatre Festival in Chicago.

The productions are La Visita de la Vieja Dama (July 8–11), based on Dürrenmatt's The Visit, and Charenton (July 15-18) by Raquel Carrió, a new interpretation of the story of the Marquis de Sade and his direction of the asylum inmates in theatrical performances.

Led by founding artistic director and theatre educator Flora Lauten, Teatro Buendía "is renowned for its poignant adaptations of classic texts whose themes reflect the struggles and challenges of contemporary Cuban society," according to Goodman notes.

Goodman resident artistic associate and Latino Festival curator Henry Godinez, who first encountered Teatro Buendía in 2003 with Las bacantes (The Bacchae), describes their performance style as "heightened and ferocious, yet undeniably honest and personal," and informed by a ritualistic sense of rhythm drawn from Caribbean and African traditions.

Lauten and playwright Carrió contextualize western and European classics in a uniquely Cuban setting with traditional music and dance, with an ensemble of actors trained through the Institute of Fine Arts in Havana.

In Carrió's La Visita de la Vieja Dama, "Clara Zajanin returns to her hometown, the fictitious Gula, 40 years after her neighbors drove her away for 'indecorosa' (indecency). Now rich and glamorous, Clara arrives in ruined Gula offering riches in exchange for revenge. Charenton is a complex maze of madness, morality and revolution." The French aristocrat and writer of erotic novels, the Marquis de Sade, spent 13 years in the Charenton Asylum, where he infamously directed the other inmates in theatrical performances. In Charenton, "the Marquis directs a play-within-a-play about the French Revolution that culminates with the murder of Jean-Paul Marat — the 'friend of the people.' The performance is supervised by the director of the asylum, who has instructed the Marquis to ensure that his play supports the contemporary patriotic opinion — but the inmates have other ideas."

Performances at Goodman's Owen Theatre are in Spanish with English titles.

For more information, call (312) 443-3800, or visit

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