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latinx theatre, latinx plays, latinx Shakespeares, cuban shakespeare, Cuban theatre, bilingual theatre

 

The Island in Winter, or La Isla en Iniverno

By: Carlos-Zenen Trujillo

Directed by: Scott Palmer

Bag & Baggage (Hillsboro, OR) - 2019

 

 

The Island in Winter, or La Isla en Iniverno

 

 

The Island in Winter, or La Isla en Invierno was the first play commissioned by Bag & Baggage Productions as part of their Problem Play Project, in which they commissioned adaptations of Shakespeare’s “problem plays” by Oregon-based playwrights of color. It was performed at the Vault Theater in Hillsboro, seventeen miles west of Portland.

 

Trujillo transposes Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale to mid-twentieth century Cuba in the first half of the play, and later to Miami. The major plot points remain, but the setting and staging is entirely Cuban. Leonte accuses Hermione of having an affair with his friend Polisteno, and when she is convicted (without evidence), she turns to stone. Years later, her lost daughter, Perdida, is love with Florizel, and they leave Villa Bohemia, Florida, for Santa Cecilia, Cuba. All the characters are reunited as per Shakespeare’s play, but with different tone and resolution befitting a post-Cuban Revolution ending.

 

The play integrates contemporary Spanish, contemporary English, and the Yoruba language of Lucumí. Most of the script is Trujillo’s original writing, with an ample amount of poetry by Cuban poet-activist, José Martí. Afro-Cuban culture, Shakespeare’s verse, and poetry from across time periods intersect. The character of Time at enters at the outset of Shakespeare’s Act 4 here is a Babalawo who plays a much more integral role throughout.

 

The Island in Winter, or La Isla en Iniverno, is the subject of my essay, “The Epistemic Disobedience of Latinx Shakespeares” that is in part one of the three-volume collection, Latinx Literature in Transition, forthcoming from Cambridge University Press.[1] 

 

CARLA DELLA GATTA

SEPTEMBER 2022

 

Note: The photograph for my essay, “Staging Bilingual Classical Theatre,” in HowlRound (2020) is from this production.

 

 

[1] Carla Della Gatta, “The Epistemic Disobedience of Latinx Shakespeares,” Latinx Literature in the Archive: 1444-1886, edited by Elisa Sampson Vera Tudela and Kenya C. Dworkin y Méndez. Vol. 1 of Cambridge Latinx Literature in Transition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, forthcoming 2023.

Shelley B. Shelley as Hermione and Nicky Nicholson-Klingerman as Perdida in The Island in Winter by Carlos-Zenen Trujillo
Shelley B. Shelley as Hermione and Nicky Nicholson-Klingerman as Perdida
Nicky Nicholson-Klingerman as Perdida and Brandon Vilanova as Florizel in The Winter's Tale by Carlos-Zenen Trujillo
Cuban-Latino The Winter's Tale
Anthony Green as Leonte in The Island in Winter, or La Isla en Iniverno by Carlos-Zenen Trujillo
Nicky Nicholson-Klingerman as Perdida and Brandon Vilanova as Florizel
Anthony Green as Leonte
Images courtesy of Casey Campbell Photography
Marketing poster courtesy of Bag N Baggage
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