Portal de la Cultura de América Latina y el Caribe
Cuban theatre group again stands against gender violence
7 July 2015/ UNESCO Havana

Violence à la Carte premiered last July 1 at the Bertolt Bretch Theatre in the Cuban capital. Performed by the Berenjena Theatre Group, the play reflects the different forms of gender violence.

With this production, Cuban actress and theatre director Anaysy Gregory Gil delves into a problem affecting millions of women throughout the world, a problem she had already explored in her play Cualquier lugar menos este [Any Place but This], which ran in August 2014.

Adapted and directed by Gregory Gil, Violence à la Carte takes up the issues of 27 Wagons Full of Cotton, by important U.S. playwright Tennessee Williams, and, closely related, those of his fellow American Eugene O'Neill, offering a contemporary look at gender violence.

Flora, Nelly and Saya are now the main characters in a story that revolves around a radio programme where commentator Assilén –played by Gregory– tables the causes and consequences of violence, which will be pictured in the relationship of each couple.

The script received the assessment of a group of experts and collaborators from the U.N. Secretary General's UNiTE campaign to put an end to violence against women and girls, including the focal point for gender at UNESCO Havana, Pablo Castilla.

Gregory also made use of the knowledge acquired in the training activities on gender issues conducted by the UNiTE Artists Network, which she joined last year.

The artist considers the theatre an essential means to promote reflection and debates on violence, and as a result, it constitutes a novel way to spread the campaign's message.

Violence à la Carte is a means of communication, dissemination, a way to sensitize the public to the message of the UNiTE Campaign on violence against women and all it implies with regards to equality, the elimination of gender stereotypes, the identification of gender roles and reflection, she stated.

In her opinion, initiatives such as these have the added value of contributing to form young actors and actresses, who in the process of staging the play, gain a new perspective on gender roles often influenced by a dominant patriarchal and macho society.

"As we prepare the stage production, we use examples of violence from everyday life, and many of the actors and actresses had actually experienced them first-hand, either as victims or as victimizers," Gregory explained.

"The deconstruction of these situations," she added, "enabled us to discuss the theme of violence against women and girls and to delve into the psychology of the characters. I think that is a lasting contribution to an artist's formation."

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