LONDON, Nov 16 — Fidel, a musical about the Cuban revolutionary leader Fidel Castro, is showing in the famous surroundings of Covent Garden, London yesterday.
The play depicts Castro’s life leading up to and during the Cuban revolution of 1953-59 and looks into some of the reasons as to why he rose up against the dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista.
The musical is written by University of Southampton professor Denise Baden, who researches business ethics. Her studies of alternative business models in Cuba led to an increasing fascination with Castro and the Cuban people’s perspective of their now deceased former leader.
Baden said the idea for Fidel came to her during a trip to Havana, Cuba, and claimed the play has similarities to the English tale of Robin Hood taking from the rich and giving to the poor. She also said the ‘charismatic’ and ‘controversial’ historic figure of Fidel Castro was ripe for being portrayed onstage.
Baden, who had no previous background in musical theatre, financed the piece through crowdfunding and also left gaps in the show for songs to be introduced. She opened up the songwriting process to a nationwide competition for schools and colleges, with the chosen music now appearing in the play.
The actors taking part in the play, including Uruguayan actor Guido Garcia Lueches and Mexican actress Gabriela Garcia, said working on new music from a range of writers was a challenging and unique process during the rehearsal period.
Baden hopes the performance of the play at the Actor’s Church in Covent Garden will attract interest from directors and investors who could then provide the resources for bigger set pieces in the play.
Castro, the revolutionary who built a communist state on the doorstep of the United States and for five decades defied US efforts to topple him, died in November 2016. He was 90.
A towering figure of the 20th century and Cold War icon, Castro stuck to his ideology beyond the collapse of Soviet communism and remained widely respected in parts of the world that struggled against colonial rule.
He was demonised by the United States and its allies for his repression of dissent at home and support of rebellion abroad, but admired by many leftists around the world, especially in Latin America and Africa. — Reuters