Cuba is a country of great artistic and literary joy due to the great number of creators it has from Cabo de San Antonio to Punta de Maisí. One of those great creators is Eugenio Hernández Espinosa, a graduate of the first Seminar of Dramaturgy of the National Council of Culture in the 1960s. From that moment on, the path to glory of this great Cuban playwright began. Many have been the works that Hernández Espinosa has bequeathed to the heritage of Cuban dramatic literature.
His play María Antonio, published in 1964, has become one of the great landmarks of the Cuban scene. This work problematizes the change in cultural patterns that Cuba was experiencing in those early years of the Revolution. The conflict of the same one in spite of the years still continues in force, becoming our true Cuban tragedy. Our tutelary orishas of the Yoruba Pantheon become the hidden protagonists who contribute to the game of the protagonist’s destiny. Death by disobedience is the end because the Yoruba proverb of: “no ear is too big” has to be fulfilled. His obsession for the traditional popular culture of our nation is shown with its lights and the shadows that can always be projected by the worshippers of these manifestations.
With Calixta Comité of 1969, he shook the Cuban scene to the point of generating mixed passions. From this moment on, a young playwright and theater critic like Antón Arrufat, glimpses the capacity and creative greatness contained in Eugenio Hernández. Calixta Comité, is a work that should arrive again to the stage. The dreams and fears that were part of some people who contributed to the construction of that new society, which arose molding “The New Man” is the interest that reflects in each parliament of his three acts. False morals and bureaucracy is another theme very present in this work that some decision makers of that time did not see with good eyes.
Eugenio Hernandez’s theater has transcended the ephemeral of the stage and has moved on to national cinema. My partner Manolo gave rise to the film La vida inútil de mi socio Manolo, directed by Julio García Espinosa, (ICAIC) 1989, while the mythical María Antonia Teatral was the basis for the film of the same name directed by Sergio Giral (ICAIC), I990. He was also co-writer of the films Patakín (1982), Roble de olor (2003), and the film script of El Mayor. This makes him one of the most transcendental figures in the world of film scriptwriting because few screenwriters other than film directors have so many works in the ICAIC panorama.
From his group Teatro Caribeño, he has known how to instill this other identity, which is a little forgotten by Cubans. The Caribbean in Cuba and Cuba in the Caribbean is a duality present in this theater group, of which he has known how to lead with the rigor of a master who always has his vision in the present walking a bridge to the future. Dramaturgy is the art of composing with words on the stage, ideas and feelings that must be channeled from the performances that the actors perform. Because the playwright, before being a man of the scene, is from literature, that friend who only accompanies you in the solitude of creation or reading. With this dedication, the International Book Fair recognizes the quality of his writing and of all his contributions to this often renegade manifestation in the national literary scene. It is an act of cultural and social justice because Eugenio’s characters were not complacent and I don’t think the next ones will be. These characters are those men and women brought from Africa and planted in the new world. From that legacy so present of the black continent in the Caribbean is the language another language masterfully structured by this master. For all this in 2005 he was awarded the National Theater Award, the highest distinction given to that artistic manifestation, those who have given body and soul to the noble craft of tradition represented by comedy and tragedy.
This edition of the International Book Fair is a new space to approach his work and enjoy it with all the greatness that he deserves. It is a new moment for many cultural institutions and the youngest to approach the eternal wisdom of the values of his dramatic literature that celebrates the popular, with a look that evades prejudices and stereotypes, while recreating the mythology of Yoruba origin with its narrative, symbols and deities. Eugenio Hernández Espinosa, is more than a playwright, he is an intellectual who expresses himself through his dramatic writing.