CLACS Lecture: “The Cuban Argument with Itself”

Cuba-ColloquiumAs part of the “What’s Left of Cuba?” Colloquium Series, Cuban-American playwright and director, Jorge Ignacio Cortiñas will present “The Cuban Argument with Itself” on Monday, February 25, 2013, 6:00-8:00pm at the Auditorium of King Juan Carlos I of Spain Center, located at 53 Washington Square South, New York University, New York, NY. This series is organized and sponsored by the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies (CLACS).

Description (from the CLACS homepage): Jorge Ignacio Cortiñas’s highest profile play to date is Blind Mouth Singing, which was translated and produced in Havana, Cuba in 2010. This talk entitled “The Cuban Argument with Itself” is about working hard to get off the island and then working hard to get back to the island. Then the talk will move to cover how to go about returning to the island and then how to get off the island again. And on and on like this for as long as one can. The leaving and the going back. The talk is dedicated to María Irene Fornés.

Jorge Ignacio Cortiñas’ many awards include fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the New York Foundation for the Arts; as well as the Helen Merrill Award; “playwright of the year” in El Nuevo Herald’s 1999 year-end list; a Writers Community Residency from the YMCA National Writer’s Voice; and the Robert Chesley Award, among others. His first play MALETA MULATA was produced by Campo Santo + Intersection for the Arts in San Francisco. His second play SLEEPWALKERS was produced by the Area Stage in 1999, where it was awarded a Carbonell Award for Best New Work given by the South Florida Critics Circle. SLEEPWALKERS was further developed and remounted by the Alliance Theatre in 2002. BLIND MOUTH SINGING completed runs at Chicago’s Teatro Vista, and the New York based National Asian American Theatre Company, productions the Chicago Tribune praised as having “visionary wit” and that the New York Times called “strange and beautiful” and designated a Critic’s Pick. His most recent play BIRD IN THE HAND was also a New York Times Critic’s Pick and will be produced by Miami’s New Theatre in March. His plays have been published by Playscripts and The Drama Review. He is a Usual Suspect at New York Theatre Workshop, an alumnus of New Dramatists and a resident playwright at Fulcrum Theater.

The title for the Spring 2013 Colloquium series is “What’s Left of Cuba? Culture, Politics, and Civil Society”. This Distinguished Speaker series addresses where Cuba is now in the geopolitical imaginary that once heralded Cuba as the exemplar of radical left projects in Latin America. In recent years, Cuban culture has challenged the projects of the revolution and has recast the cold war frames of embargo, exile, and exceptionalism. A new generation of writers, bloggers, visual and performance artists, and political activists and dissidents have insisted on freedom of expression, the rule of law, the politics of remembering, and the notion of civil society. Both on and off the island, many campaign “for an other Cuba” (Por Otra Cuba), reclaiming the nation and challenging the state. From a burgeoning presence in social media to smaller, poignant acts of reclamation such as political tattoos and graffiti, these social actors are creating spaces of expression and action that open fissures and apertures in the discourse of the revolution and the control of the state. Although they vary in political philosophies, these new voices demand both universality and contingency: an agenda that mixes the politics of human rights, Cuban values, and the unfinished projects of both the republic and the revolution.

*Photo ID is required for entry into the building.

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