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Post-Cuban Cabaret with Omar Pérez at the Loisaida Center
October 13 @ 9:00 am - 9:00 pm
Cuban artist Omar Pérez, visiting from Havana, invites performers and community members to join him in the creation of the Post-Cuban Cabaret, an intensive workshop culminating in an evening performance. Workshop participants will do theatre exercises, explore themes in multiple forms (music, poetry, dance), and go through improvisational situations. Omar Pérez envisions the manifestation of different cultural traditions and some focus on themes related to “island” – sea, water, Cuba, Latin and Caribbean culture, clichés, neighborhoods, etc. In the evening, the workshop participants perform material that has emerged during the day. All the arts and skills of the troupe members are integrated into the performance, which continues to be based on improvisational principles.
Workshop: 9:30 am to 7:00 pm
Perfomance: 8:00 pm
Omar Pérez: “The Cabaret was created in Havana more than 10 years ago by contemporary dancer and choreographer Sandra Ramy and myself in order to facilitate improvisation and interaction between “artists” of various kinds: dancers, of course, actors, poets and musicians but also designers, painters, rappers, amateurs…whoever was willing to go through the experience of an ad hoc workshop in order to build a one-night show, a one timer”.
BIO: The son of revolutionary Ernesto “Che” Guevara, poet, editor, and translator Omar Pérez was born and raised in Havana. He earned a degree in English at the University of Havana and studied Italian at the Universitá per Straniere di Siena. He has worked as a journalist for El Caimán Barbudo, and as an editor for the magazine La naranja dulce. A former member of the Cuban intellectual group Paideia, he edited the poetry magazine Mantisfrom 1994 to 1996.
Ordained as a Zen Buddhist monk, Pérez composes poems that engage languages, Zen, and political and cultural transcendence. His poetry collections include Lingua Franca (2010), Oíste hablar del gato de pelea?(1999, translated as Did You Hear about the Fighting Cat? by Kristin Dykstra, 2010), and Algo de lo Sagrado (1996, translated as Something of the Sacred by Kristin Dykstra and Robert Tejada, 2007). His translations include Italian-Cuban novelist Alba de Céspedes’s Nadie vuelve atrás(2003) and Shakespeare’s As You Like It (as Como Les Guste, 2000).
Intensely interested in the ways in which poetry overlays experience, Perez noted in an interview with Jacket magazine that “the verse, the poem, even the rhyme, the melody of poetry are the tip of the iceberg, they are just one familiar aspect of a huge reality which we call consciousness […] Poetry is a natural function, like god, or DNA, or rain. The fact that we can give notice of it does not mean that we make it.”
He received Cuba’s Nicolás Guillén Prize for Poetry for Crítica de la Razón Puta (2009) as well as its National Critics’ Prize for his essay collection La perseverancia de un hombre oscuro (2000). His work has also been featured in the anthology The Whole Island: Six Decades of Cuban Poetry, A Bilingual Anthology (2009). He lives in Havana.