Chicago Shakespeare Theater announces
L is for Libertad: Exploring Cuba’s San Isidro Movement alongside Measure for Measure
Post-show Panel Conversation with curator and activist Claudia Genlui Hidalgo, scholar Maria de Los Angeles Torres, and director Henry Godinez
Following Projected Spanish Translation Performance of Measure for Measure November 15, 2022 at 7:30 p.m.
Chicago—November 9, 2022—Chicago Shakespeare Theater announces today a post-show panel conversation titled “L is for Libertad: Exploring Cuba’s San Isidrio Movement alongside Measure for Measure,” following the projected Spanish translation performance of Measure for Measure on Tuesday, November 15, 2022 at 7:30 p.m. The discussion of art and activism will feature curator and human rights activist Claudia Genlui Hidalgo, one of the founders of the San Isidro Movement, with scholar and production dramaturg Maria de Los Angeles Torres and director Henry Godinez. A Cuba native, Godinez was inspired in part by the San Isidro artists to set Shakespeare’s searing examination of corruption and hypocrisy in Havana in 1959, just before Fidel Castro seizes power. The critically acclaimed production is now playing in the Courtyard Theater through November 27, 2022.
The San Isidro Movement—known in Spanish as Movement San Isidro (MSI)—is a collective of Cuban artists, activists, academics, and journalists fighting for their right to the freedom of expression. The group was formed in 2018 in response to the enactment of Decree 349, which requires artists to obtain advance permission for public and private performances and exhibitions. The group’s members have vocally criticized the Cuban regime’s censorship by staging protests and performances, and have been met with retaliatory threats, surveillance, and detainments. In a 2021 bipartisan Senate resolution expressing U.S. solidarity with the movement, Illinois Senator Dick Durbin said, “The repression of the country’s artistic community, continued jailing of Jose Daniel Ferrer, and failure to hold anyone accountable for the death of Oswaldo Paya all demand continued international attention.”
Book tickets for the 7:30 p.m. performance at www.chicagoshakes.com/measure. Use promo code SPANISH to access seats in the best locations to view the screen featuring the Spanish supertitles with pay-what-you-can ticket prices beginning at $35. Projected Spanish translation provided by c2.
The free event is presented by Chicago Shakespeare Theater in partnership with University of Illinois Chicago’s Latin American and Latino Studies Program and the Rafael Cintron Ortiz Latino Cultural Center, as well as The School of Communication and The Department of Theatre at Northwestern University.
About the “L is for Libertad” panel participants
- Claudia Genlui Hidalgo is an art curator and human rights activist, and one of the founders of the San Isidro Movement, an organization of Cuban artists and intellectuals who defend civil rights and has been their art consultant since 2019. She received her BA in Art History from the University of Havana in 2016. From 2017 to 2019 she was director of the Contemporary Art Gallery at the Havana Factoria. She is also a member of the 27 of November movement founded in 2020. She has been involved in artistic collaborations with Luis Manuel Otero Alcantara and is presently his art representative and director of his studio. In 2022 she was guest curator at Espacio 23, Miami, Florida, and has curated multiple art shows in Cuba and in the US, including "#LaBanderaEsDeTodos" (La Habana, 2019) a source of inspiration for this adaptation of Measure for Measure.
- Maria de Los Angeles Torres is a distinguished LAS professor of Latin American and Latino Studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She has written extensively on Latinos, Cuba and Cuban exiles’ politics and identity, immigration, culture. She has authored In the Land of Mirrors: The Politics of Cuban Exiles in the United States and The Lost Apple: Operation Pedro Pan, Cuban Children in the US and the Promise of a Better Future; co-authored Citizens in the Present: Civically Engaged Youth in the Americas, edited By Heart/De Memoria: Cuban Women’s Journeys In and Out of Exile; and co-edited Borderless Borders Latinos, Latin American and the Paradoxes of Interdependence and Global Cities and Immigrant: The Case of Chicago and Madrid. She has recently completed a manuscript The Elusive Present: Democracy’s Time in Cuban Thought and is working on a project on the impact of Cuba’s war in Angola on Cubans on the island and abroad.
- Henry Godinez, director of Measure for Measure, is the resident artistic associate at Goodman Theatre, where as the director of the Latino Theatre Festival he curated the presentation of Teatro Buendia of Cuba in 2010, and fostered a collaboration between Goodman Theatre, Sones de Mexico, and Teatro Buendia for the world premiere presentation of Pedro Paramo in 2013. Born in Havana Cuba, Godinez is the co-founder and former artistic director of Teatro Vista and is a professor and chair of theatre at Northwestern University.
About Cuban artist Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara
Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara is a Cuban performance artist and dissident in the San Isidro Movement, known for his public performances that openly criticize the Cuban government and its policies. He is presently serving five years in a maximum-security Guanajay prison in Cuba for the crime of “insulting national symbols” for his performances with the Cuban flag, titled “La Bandera es de Todos (The flag belongs to all of us).” His friend Maykel “Osorbo” Castillo, one of the composers of the opposition anthem “Patria y Vida” that won the Latin Grammy in 2021 for Song of the Year, received the same sentence.
Otero Alcántara, a self-taught artist, lives in the El Cerro neighborhood of Havana. Since 2018, he has been arrested dozens of times for his performances in violation of Decree 349, a Cuban law requiring artists to obtain advance permission for public and private exhibitions and performances.
In the summer of 2021, thousands of Cubans took to the streets to protest government repression and poverty. Over 900 people were arrested. Otero Alcántara was one of them and has been in jail ever since. In May 2022, he was brought to trial for charges that included defamation of public institutions and national symbols, disrespecting authorities, public disorder, and inciting to commit a crime for encouraging people to join a protest via Facebook. Representatives from the Havana-based embassies of several countries, as well as the international press, were denied entry to the court proceedings.
In a statement sent from the maximum-security prison of Guanajay, Cuba on May 17, 2022, Otero Alcántara asked the public, “to support free art, and to support my art, wherever I am. Do not leave me alone. Let us not leave the course of Cuba in the hands of a dictator or the course of destiny.” He added, “I am an artist and a human being struggling to get out of this unjust prison, but every day my love of free and honest art grows firmer.”
About Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s Measure for Measure
“Some rise by sin, and some by virtue fall.” Celebrated director Henry Godinez brings Shakespeare’s searing play to vivid life amidst the glamour, music, and sensuality of 1950s Cuba, just before Fidel Castro seizes power. Havana is the carefree playground of the rich, the famous—and the corrupt—while a revolution brews. As the city sinks into moral disrepair, the Duke hands power to Angelo, who zealously enforces an archaic statute of chastity. When Isabel comes to plead for mercy for her condemned brother Claudio, the depths of raw power’s depravity are shockingly revealed. Arrive early to immerse yourself in the sultry world of the play, as the Courtyard Theater transforms into a dazzling Havana nightclub. Enjoy performances of mambo, bolero, and Afro-Cuban jazz in a mood-setting prologue to the production.
The Measure for Measure company features Cruz Gonzalez-Cadel (Isabel), Kevin Gudahl (Duke), Adam Poss (Angelo), Andrés Enriquez (Claudio), Alejandra Escalante (Mariana), Gregory Linington (Lucio), Lanise Antoine Shelley (Escalus), Ana Santos (Mistress Overdone), Elizabeth Ledo (Pompey), Joe Foust (Elbow), Robert Schleifer (Provost), Debo Balogun (Barnadine), Kierra Bunch (Francesca), Kidany Camilo (Espuma), Sándor Menéndez (Abhorson), and Felicia Oduh (Julietta). Understudies include Ajax Dontavius, Tina El Gamal, Dani Goldberg, Sonia Goldberg, Jalbelly Guzmán, Joseph Aaron Johnson, Michael Joseph Mitchell, Jeff Parker, Laila Rodriques, and Arik Vega.
The production features music co-arranged, co-composed, and directed by Orbert Davis. An Emmy Award winner, Davis is the co-founder, conductor, and Artistic Director of the Chicago Jazz Philharmonic. Joining Godinez and Davis on the creative team are Jeff Award-winning Scenic and Projections Designer Rasean Davonté Johnson, Costume Designer Raquel Adorno, Lighting Designer María-Cristina Fusté, Jeff Award-winning Sound Designer André Pluess, Wig & Make-up Designer Richard Jarvie, Co-Arranger and Co-Composer Jorge Amado Molina, Movement Designer Melissa Blanco Borelli, Verse Coach Lia Mortensen, Intimacy Director Sarah Scanlon, Fight Choreographer Maya Vinice Prentiss, Dramaturg Maria de Los Angeles Torres, Assistant Director Hamid Dehghani, Access Coordinator Aly Easton, Associate Scenic Designer Alyssa Mohn, Associate Projection Designer Michael Commendatore, Associate Sound Designer Joseph E. Disbrow, Assistant Lighting Designer Meike Schmidt, Projection Programmer Parker Langvardt, Production Stage Manager Jinni Pike, and Assistant Stage Managers Shannon Golden-Starr and Elisabeth Schapmann.
Chicago Shakespeare makes its facility and performances accessible to all patrons through its Access Shakespeare programs. Accessible performances for Measure for Measure include:
- Open-captioned Performance – Wednesday, November 16, 2022, at 1:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
A text display of the words and sounds heard during a play, synced live with the action onstage.
- ASL Duo-interpreted Performance – Friday, November 18, 2022, at 7:30 p.m.
All dialogue and lyrics are translated into American Sign Language by two certified interpreters.
- Audio-described Performance – Sunday, November 20, 2022, at 2:00 p.m.
A program that provides spoken narration of a play’s key visual elements for patrons who are blind or have low vision.
More information at www.chicagoshakes.com/measure or on social media @chicagoshakes or #cstMeasure.
Measure for Measure is now playing through November 27, 2022, in Chicago Shakespeare’s Courtyard Theater. Single tickets ($49–$92) are on sale now. Special discounts are available for groups of 10 or more. For more information or to purchase tickets, contact the Box Office at 312.595.5600 or visit the Theater’s website at www.chicagoshakes.com. Chicago Shakespeare’s most up-to-date health protocols can be found at www.chicagoshakes.com/health.
About Chicago Shakespeare Theater
Regional Tony Award-recipient Chicago Shakespeare Theater produces a bold and innovative year-round season—plays, musicals, world premieres, family productions, and theatrical presentations from around the globe—alongside nationally recognized education programming serving tens of thousands of students, teachers, and lifelong learners each year. Founded in 1986, the Theater’s onstage work has expanded to as many as twenty productions and 650 performances annually. Chicago Shakespeare is dedicated to welcoming the next generation of theatergoers; one in four of its audience members is under the age of eighteen. As a nonprofit organization, the Theater works to embrace diversity, prioritize inclusion, provide equitable opportunities, and offer an accessible experience for all. On the Theater’s three stages at its home on Navy Pier, in classrooms and neighborhoods across the city, and in venues around the world, Chicago Shakespeare is a multifaceted cultural hub—inviting audiences, artists, and community members to share powerful stories that connect and inspire. www.chicagoshakes.com
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