Like many great artists, Cuban playwright Virgilio Pinera had the misfortune of creating art that was long ahead of his time and far removed from his place. Shunned by Fidel Castro, Che Guevara, and virtually the entire Spanish-American literary establishment, Pinera’s radical writings reflected on natural and cultural identity, not to mention his own homosexuality and the possibilities of theater itself. For the past quarter-century, critics, artistic directors, and academics — including Miami’s Teatro Avante, the Hispanic heritage nonprofit that was founded in 1979, the year of Pinera’s death — have been properly reassessing this master’s work. Last summer, Teatro Avante closed the 27th annual Hispanic Theatre Festival of Miami with a production of Pinera’s El No at the Arsht Center. This week, the show gets an encore, with the same cast, from Thursday through Sunday at the Miami-Dade County Auditorium (2901 W. Flagler St., Miami).
Augmented by a set design of stunning textiles dangling from the ceiling, the symbolic and seriocomic play presents a clash of generations, focusing on an obstinate couple who refuse to get married, much to their parents’ chagrin. This version has been pared down, to say the least, by Gilda Santana, who slashed Pinera’s five-act play into a single, 90-minute act.
Jan. 24-26, 8:30 p.m.; Sun., Jan. 27, 5 p.m., 2013