Acting the Private, Intimate, and Public Body of Cuba. Review of Bretton White’s Staging Discomfort: Performance and Queerness in Contemporary Cuba


  • Diona Espinosa University of Miami



This study offers an alternative viewpoint for understanding contemporary Cuba after the 2000s from a performance studies perspective. Staging Discomfort: Performance and Queerness in Contemporary Cuba by Bretton White discusses how performing queerness in contemporary Cuban theater can also promote a counternarrative that criticizes the state’s failing rhetoric about socialism and revolution in Cuba. She concentrates on queer bodies to examine key concepts like race, sex, marginalization, citizenship, and the state. The book considers five plays by Cuban playwrights that have been judged subversive, or have been censored or met with minimal official recognition from state cultural institutions. From the title one can already appreciate the questioning of the official Cuban cultural archive and political agenda. This selection brings to light an absent and urgent topic in current Cuban performance studies. In addition, it evokes a practice of resistance through artistic expression, as theater-makers and even audiences refuse to be silenced, reprimanded, or forgotten from their right to live in an inclusive and democratic country.

Keywords: performance; queerness; theatre; Cuban theater; identity; counternarrative






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