Isabelle Huppert: Theater defies space and time


Granma | 05 April, 2017

On receiving the Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Drama, for her performance in the film Elle, Isabelle Huppert noted: “There are people from all over the world here in this room from China to the Arabic world, from America to Europe. Do not expect cinema to build walls and borders.” Photo:

“TO be or not to be, that is the question.” This is probably the most famous phrase in theater history, pronounced by Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, in a soliloquy in the first scene of the third act of William Shakespeare’s homonymous tragedy.

It is natural to recall it now, on the occasion of the celebrations for World Theater Day, established in 1961 on a UNESCO proposal, as a tribute to the inauguration in Paris on March 27, 1948, of the International Theater Institute (ITI), which brings together representatives from all countries of the world.Read More »

Designs On Dissent


Morning Star | 31 January, 2017

A SMALL silk buttonhole, a pamphlet on how to avoid arrest and a petition for women to sit their medical degree exams.

These are just some of the objects on display at the Radical Voices exhibition at Senate House Library in the University of London charting how protest has been expressed over the past two centuries.

Including petitions, photographs, posters, songs, poetry, book collections, political cartoons, badges and ephemera, it is a rich analysis of the voices that have spoken out and have often forced change.

There’s a James Gillray cartoon dating 1807 — the oldest item on show — along with much more recent items such as a 2003 Stop the War poster and literature printed by Occupy Design in 2012 as part of the occupation at St Paul’s cathedral.Read More »

Havana Ballet Festival: The magnificent legacy of Alicia Alonso


Granma | 31 October, 2016


First ballerina Anette Delgado as the country girl in the first act of Giselle, one of the National Ballet of Cuba’s iconic pieces. Photo: Nancy Reyes

Two dates have marked Havana’s International Ballet Festival for more than 50 years: its inauguration every two years, October 28, and the obligatory Giselle Gala, November 2.

Both dates celebrate landmarks in the history of Cuban ballet. The first, October 28, harks back to 1948, when the country’s first professional company took the stage at the Auditorium Theater. Founded by Alicia, Fernando, and Alberto Alonso, the company included 30 dancers, of which only 11 were Cuban.

It would be the spark that, within a few decades, would become the National Ballet of Cuba (BNC), one of the world’s best, establishing the Cuban school of ballet with its base at the Alicia Alonso Academy created in 1950, to urgently train Cuban dancers.Read More »

Dancing Around Miners’ Strike Issues

Review by Susan Darlington

Morning Star | 02 November, 2016


Lawrence Batley Theatre, Huddersfield

Staged to mark the 30th anniversary of the miners’ strike, COAL is a reworking of a piece originally conceived by Gary Clarke in 2009.

His decision to expand the dance theatre production is only partly warranted, as several sections would benefit from editing.

It opens with a confusing slice of domesticity that sits uncomfortably with live music from The Brighouse & Rastrick Band.

And a party that has a community cast handing out biscuits to the audience does little more than create a warm-hearted interlude that splinters the narrative.Read More »

Cinema and Human Existence

by Abhijit Ghosh-Dastidar

Frontier | Vol. 49, No.13-16, Oct 2 – 29, 2016

The Cinematic gaze chases images, and devises ways of seeing the real. Production details aim to explore every gesture of the world around. Visionary pragmatism, perspectives and methods adjust to the demands of each story and theme.

‘‘Arabian Nights, Vol I, II and III’’ (Portugal / France, Portuguese, colour, 381 mins) by Miguel Gomes is shot between 2013 and 2014. Anguish stems from the crumbling Portuguese society, under a heavy austerity burden, imposed by European Financial Institutions. Gomes uses Scheherazade’s ‘‘Thousand and One Nights’’, to weave together several tales. The mechanical oriental prose remains a tapestry to the fiction and non-fiction stories.Read More »

Samar Sen: Poetry and Frontier

By Anirban Biswas

Frontier | Autumn Number, Vol. 48, No. 14 – 17, Oct 11 – Nov 7, 2015


It is true that even after nearly three decades since his death, Samar Sen, the founder-editor of Frontier, is not entirely forgotten, but this gentle colossus is remembered only by a very limited number of people. After his death, he received a good deal of publicity in the press, but the emphasis was much more on his achievements as a poet and a brilliant student of English language and literature than his standing as a radical journalist, although he had bidden farewell to the world of poetry four decades earlier and in his lifetime scarcely wrote anything on English literature. He remarked in his memoir, Babu Brittanta (A Babu’s Tale), that one of the reasons for his reputation as a poet was that he was a good student of English. For the last two decades of his life, he lived in penury, editing Frontier and ruining himself economically. In between the end of his life as a poet and the start of Frontier, there lies a period of twenty-two years. And during those years, there was hardly any remarkable event in his career, except his resignation from the lucrative post of joint editor of the daily Hindustan Standard (later revived as The Telegraph) in protest against what he considered a cunning device employed by the proprietors to foment communal disturbances. Considering the spinelessness of the general run of journalists in this country, it was definitely an act of exemplary courage and committment to secular ideals.Read More »

Havana, Hemingway’s home away from home

Granma | 19 July, 2016

The unique relationship between the two figures has been captured in several emblematic photographs, such as the one depicting the young leader shortly after the triumph of the Revolution, in his olive green uniform, speaking with a 62 year old Hemingway wearing shorts and a t-shirt. Photo: https://www.

Fishing seems to have been one of the main reasons which brought U.S. author Ernest Hemingway to Havana, where he would later reside for over 20 years, until 1959.

In an article written by the Nobel Prize for literature winner in 1949, among his reasons for choosing the Finca Vigía as his permanent residence, included the Gulf Stream located only 45 minutes from his home which had, according to Hemingway, the most abundant and finest fishing conditions he had ever seen.
The U.S. novelist participated in the International Billfishing Tournament bearing his name since the very first edition on May 26, 1950, placing first in competitions held from 1953-1955.Read More »

Why Art Matters, Even in Poverty

by Alison Stine

Common Dreams | 19 April, 2016

(Photo: Penn State/flickr/cc)

In the toy aisle, which is inconveniently next to the bread aisle, I tell my 5-year-old son we are not getting a truck today. I tell him we buy what we need, and not more. I tell him I have enough money for food, but nothing else. I tell him I don’t buy treats for myself.

“You buy art supplies,” my son says. And I’m stumped.

Read More »

The great ballet dancer goes contemporary

Granma | 11 April, 2016

The pas de deux by Carmen (Laura Treto) and Don José (Javier Rojas) was one of the highlights of Carlos Acosta’s version of Carmen. Photo: Yander Zamora

Carlos Acosta, world ballet star, opted for a selection of contemporary pieces for the premiere in Havana (April 8) of his company, Acosta Danza, delighting a full house gathered in the Lorca Hall of the Alicia Alonso Grand Theater of Havana.

It could be said that the new director went for a safe bet as the curtains were drawn back on the first piece, Alrededor no hay nada, choreography, costume and lighting by Goyo Montero of Spain, who received a standing ovation.Read More »