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HomeJabón de OlorCommander Chávez talks about his play

Commander Chávez talks about his play

“I have always liked theater, art. I got into more than one mess because of revolutionary songs, harps and couplets. He did it on purpose because it was part of the process of creating a revolutionary movement within the Army. It was a most difficult thing. With culture we achieve a lot. Already as a captain he was known as a reciter, improviser and cheerleader for queen election and all those things. They used me for a lot of those things.

One day a general calls me: "Chavez report urgently here, to San Juan de los Morros." I thought he was in trouble, because he was already involved in the revolution, holding meetings, conspiring, thinking about the future. I introduce myself, he says: “Look Chávez, there is a serious problem. This directive came here, about six months ago, to form a theater group, to select the best historical play for a contest in Caracas. It turns out that here the colonel forgot, nothing was done”. And there was about a week left for the national contest. And then the general tells me: "I don't know how you're going to do it, but you're going and presenting a play in Caracas in a week." “Are you sure, my general?” "Well, I told him, give me a second lieutenant (I knew he had a lot of ability), and some soldiers."

We chose soldiers, all llaneros. We did a play, we did the script. Do you know where? From "Las savannas de Barinas", a book by Captain Vowel, which I had read. We searched in Páez's autobiography, so we put everything into it. What was the name of the act? “The genius and the centaur in Cañafístola”, when Bolívar and Páez met in Hato Cañafístola, 1818. Bolívar came from Guayana and met Páez. We did the work, but we put a harp in it, and there in “Las savanas de Barinas”, there are some of the verses said by the English captain, who fought under the command of Páez and met Bolívar. He wrote his memoirs after he left for England. He says that the women sang to Bolívar. We put some girls from Caracas that we got at the Teresa Carreño theater, where my brother Argenis works.

I came running here and I said, "Help me." We looked for a wardrobe, some old rifles, some spears, a projector that on a wall reflected some sheets and some moving clouds. And some songs and a girl came out to sing to Bolívar, who was sitting there, a second lieutenant, who I put on Bolívar. I played Páez. And some soldiers there, very happy, plainsmen, that I exercised for them: “Relax, relax! Let's go to Caracas”. A little vegueros pa' Caracas, compadre! Then, a girl who sang to Bolívar said: "My general Bolívar, has a red carnation in his mouth that provokes me." Yes, and another came out: "My General Bolívar, for God's sake, I ask that one of your officers give me a husband." And another came out, "My General Bolívar, has an engraved sign on his sword: Death to Spain!" Well, that was one thing… and he came out pretty. That work was an impact. The general told me: "Chavez, you won third place, I thought you were going to be last." "No! Third place of the cavalry," I told him.

This text was collected from the lips of the eternal commander by two Cuban journalists.

Orlando Oramas Leon (Havana, 1959) Graduated in Journalism from the University of Havana. Journalist for the Granma newspaper. Author of titles like "Raúl Roa, journalism and revolution", 1983; "Correspondent in Nicaragua", 1989 and “Pohanohára: Cubans in Paraguay”, 2006.

Jorge Leganoa Alonso (Camagüey, 1982) Graduated in Journalism from the University of Havana. He collaborates with various Cuban and foreign mass media.

Shortly before the April 11 coup, Chávez attended the Military School to see the production of What the Storm Left, by César Rengifo, directed by Alfonzo López. He did not like it because Zamora does not appear physically. It is a dramaturgy technique aimed at each person building the character in his mind, deriving it from the effect he has on the world. In this the opinion of líder It was quite contrary to the official opinion or the theatrical environment. One day I arrived at the house of José Ignacio Cabrujas and he received me with an enthusiastic commentary on the work, which he had just read. He told me:

-I have just read What the Storm Left and it is a great work. I'm going to mount it in the New Group. I know there will be resistance but I fix that. He was surely referring to Isaac Chocrón, owner of El Nuevo group and a great playwright but adeco.

And it was mounted with the upper-middle-class packaging typical of that theater, which did not prevent Silvia Mendoza, known as "la caudilla" (who has just recently received the National Theater Award very deservedly) and other members of the rengifista cauda -because such existed with intensity - will be fascinated with the spectacle.

Let's go back to the phrase "I did it on purpose because it was part of the process of creating a revolutionary movement within the Army." Note the awareness of the ideological function of art that existed in the Comandante, an awareness that the Bolivarian Revolution has intensely assumed.

Note: The production that I prepare for the Compañía Nacional de Teatro will incorporate voice-over and other elements of cinematographic rhetoric.

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