Spanish/Nat

Some of Cuba’s youngest talent was on display at Havana’s 9th Festival of Theatre.

The hit of the weekend was a performance of “Alice in Wonderland” with a Cuban twist.

The “Little Bees” hard at work preparing for their next production, which will debut during Havana’s 9th Theatre festival.

The group is the brain child of some adult actors who began offering theatre lessons to children.

Out of these lessons emerged several productions which resulted in the consolidation of a fully fledged theatre group: the “Little Bees”.

Now under the energetic direction of Carlos Alberto Cremata, the children in the group follow the same regime as adult actors; including rehearsals, performances, and even tours.

In the past, family and friends sewed their costumes, volunteered to build sets, and lend props.

Over time, they managed to attract the attention of the Ministry of Culture, and now receive official support.

For the current production, the technical crew of the National Theatre are assisting in the construction of the set.

Their current production of “Alice in Wonderland,” has a particular Cuban twist.

SOUNDBITE: (Spanish)
“Instead of it being a little blond girl who lives in a big castle, it’s a peasant girl, from the Cuban countryside. As in the film (sic.), there’s a Queen of Hearts of course, but instead of playing croquet, they play the traditional Cuban game of “Quimbumbia.”
SUPER CAPTION: Jose Ignacio Elosegui, actor

Opening night drew a large crowd.

The audience rushed enthusiastically up the steps of the National Theatre forming a long line at the ticket booth.

Backstage parents appeared more anxious than the actors themselves, while they waited patiently for the curtain rise.

Anita Verenis Vega, playing the lead role of “Alice”, has an impressive list of credits for a nine year old.

SOUNDBITE: (Spanish)
“Well, I’ve done “Goldilocks”…I’ve done “Cucarachita”…and, well, I’ve done “Alice”..and I’ve done “Goblins” and “Little Bees”
SUPER CAPTION: Anita Verenis Vega, actress

After a few last minute words from the director, the performance began in its timeless fashion.

UPSOUND: “I’m late! I’m very late!.”

It was a full house, and the audience, as promised, was treated to a version of “Alice” with a lot of Cuban flair mixed in.

The crowd could barely contain its enthusiasm.

Yet as far from the original as the production strayed, it remained faithful to the spirit of Lewis Carrol.

UPSOUND: Queen of Hearts: “First the sentence, then the verdict!”

In the end, the parents seemed as overwhelmed as the children, clapping and singing wildly as the actors left the stage to mingle with the audience.

The performance was well received by the critics amongst their peers.

SOUNDBITE: (Spanish)
“Well, I liked the play very much, and it was very beautiful because there were many people, and the children acted very well, and, well, I liked it all.”
SUPER CAPTION: Vivian Lopez Martinez, audience member

It was another resounding success for the “Little Bees.”

What the future now holds for the group is anyone’s guess.

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