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Echoes of Broadway in Havana? The so-called Calle Línea Circuit

Lately, people have been talking concerning the so-called Calle Línea Theater Circuit when referring to the facilities which are present in that centrally situated Havana street and its surroundings. The theater facilities situated on Línea are the Mella Theater (former Rodi Cinema), the Trianón Theater (also a previous movie show) and the Raquel Revuelta Theater (called the Cultural Complex) within the space previously occupied by the Olimpic movie show.

In adjoining areas, resembling Calzada between A and B, are situated the Hubert de Blanck Theater Hall; on eleventh Street between D and E, at the tip of the well-known Casona de Línea, the Adolfo Llauradó theater was inaugurated in 2003; on the corner of fifth and D streets, the headquarters of El Ciervo Encantado was situated for years; on thirteenth Street between J and I, occupying a part of the Hebrew Community constructing, is the Bertolt Brecht Cultural Center, with two official spaces for presentations: the Café Teatro, the Sótano, and the Tito Junco Room on the primary floor, since 2008. El Ciervo Encantado has its current headquarters on 18th Street between Línea and 11.

Bertolt Brecht Cultural Center.

On occasion someone talks concerning the Calle Línea circuit with a view to establishing a hierarchy within the presentation of shows; hierarchy that in the long run nobody takes care of constructing a reality; meanwhile, those in control of the problem of investments in maintenance and development of the facilities also state the circuit in query once they wish to justify the usage of a budget or the delay in a piece. There could well be, as a substitute of a single circuit to take into consideration, several and diverse circuits for the circulation and distribution of the shows, the identical at the extent of the capital, in addition to the fundamental population settlements of the country; a well thought-out and arranged programming structure for the dissemination and consumption of the theater product that, after all, also functions as a platform for the presentation of assorted musical formats and genres.

But, if what is inspired in the thought of ​​the so-called Calle Línea Circuit are the experiences of Broadway, in New York, or Corrientes Street, in Buenos Aires, it’ll be obligatory to work on such a project with systemic pondering that features certain problems with the infrastructure and operation of town. These matters undergo the terrestrial communication networks that ought to be established from various points of the capital with that area of ​​El Vedado in query, the range and variety of gastronomic offer (tending to zero in the world that concerns us), along with examining the state of public lighting that, along this street, leaves much to be desired.

Línea Street, El Vedado, Havana. EFE/Yander Zamora
Línea Street, El Vedado, Havana. EFE/Yander Zamora

The thought of ​​a first-level circuit for the presentation of the shows would should be analyzed in light of the present cultural policy, since one among the elemental principles that I recognize in it’s free and large access to culture, including artistic culture, which in past many years encouraged the diversification of cultural facilities in the most important variety of territories, along with some specific cultural projects and actions resembling, in the sphere of theater specialty, support for the Escambray Theater Group, from its emergence in 1968 and, later, for the remaining of the groups that classified throughout the so-called New Theater Movement (the Santiago Theater Council, the Teatrova, the Guantánamo Theater Council, the Cubana de Acero Theater Group, the Teatro Teatro Juvenil Pinos Nuevos, the Participación Popular Group).

After the creation of the Ministry of Culture in 1976, with Dr. Armando Hart as its head, new facilities were opened for theater presentations on the island. That is the case of the Antonio Maceo Theater, in the previous Normal School of Teachers of Havana, within the Cerro municipality; the Casa de Comedias, in Callejón de Justiz, in Old Havana, with its Salón Ensayo (for experimental theater) and its Patio de Comedias, for outdoor performances; the Teatro Musical de La Habana, on the corner of Consulado and Virtudes, Centro Habana, which had three different stages of life from the Sixties until well into the Nineteen Nineties; very close by, in the previous Verdún movie show, the renowned playwright Eugenio Hernández led a gaggle and, later, on Diez de Octubre, the Gilda Hernández room was opened.

Within the theater for kids, the room of the National Puppet Theater, situated within the basement of the FOCSA Constructing, on M Street between 17 and 19, in El Vedado, which opened its doors in 1963, was joined by the Teatro Estany Santander, headquarters of the El Galpón group, within the park between San Indalecio, Zapote and Santa Emilia streets, within the Santos Suárez neighborhood; the Sierra Maestra movie show, with theater performances, where the Ismaelillo Group performed, in Boyeros; while, near the previous Liga contra la Ceguera, today the Pando Ferrer Hospital, La Casona de Marianao stood and the restless Bebo Ruiz performed in it and within the premises of the Municipal Library. At the moment, and I’d say that until recently, each space conquered for stage presentations meant a victory, an advance in a crusade to spread theater art all over the place, especially because based on the new system of scenic administrative organization in Cuba, which emerged in 1989, human resources far exceed the true possibilities of infrastructure.

Perhaps it was precisely a cut in material resources that gave rise to the Calle Línea Circuit, this attempt at a theater showcase in a certain area of ​​El Vedado, who knows? For now, it’s a problem not talked much about, not subject to any judgment or discussion, which appears like some others, on occasion, in an environment where transparency and debate are scarce.

Esther Suárez Durán

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