Christina Pumariega in Becoming Cuba
Becoming Cuba explores the history of Cuba onstage. But we've also got a talented lineup of actors and designers behind the production that digs deep into the history of the Huntington itself.
As most of you already know, that the play was written by Melinda Lopez, our Playwright-in-Residence, whose play Sonia Flew was the inaugural production at the Calderwood Pavilion. Then there's director M. Bevin O'Gara, who is also our Associate Producer. Bevin began her career here over a decade ago as a student at Boston University. In that time, she's worked dilligently to establish a reputation for herself as a director, and although she has directed several staged readings for us in the past, this marks her first full production at the Huntington. And it is certainly well-earned!
Bevin and Melinda also worked together on a play called Gary at Boston Playwrights Theatre in 2008, and of course, I was able to find this gem on YouTube:
Juan Javier Cardenas (R) with Monica Raymund in Boleros for the Disenchanted (2008). Photo: T. Charles Erickson
With a few exceptions, almost the entire cast of Becoming Cuba are Huntington veterans. Adela, the pharmacist at the center of the play, is played by Christina Pumariega, who previously appeared as Fluminia in The Miracle at Naples in 2009. Juan Javier Cardenas plays her half-brother Manny, a Cuban rebel, and also appeared in Boleros for the Disenchanted in 2008. This family core is rounded out by Rebecca Soler playing Martina. Although Rebecca is a newcomer to to the Huntington, she did grow up in Jamaica Plain and West Roxbury, and her homecoming is enough an occasion that it basically still counts.
To top if off, not only do these three play siblings onstage, but all three of them are actually of Cuban descent as well (there are even several pharmacists in Christina's family history)!
Also returning are Christopher Tarjan (Davis, an embedded American journalist) and Marianna Bassham (Fancy, the wife of a Spanish general / Hautey's Wife), both of whom appeared in Our Town along with playwright Melinda Lopez. Christopher Burns, who played Hans in Captors, returns to play Isidore, another intimidating military figure (only Spanish this time and not Israeli). And last but not least, there are our young Chuchos and Mambis, played by Brandon Barbosa.
We're also excited to welcome our fresh but undeniably talented design team. Scenic Designer Cameron Anderson, Lighting Designer Yi Zhou, Costume Designer Andrea Hood, and Sound Designer / Composer Arshan Gailus are all Huntington first-timers, but we couldn't be happier to add them to our all-star roster.
Here are Artistic Director Peter DuBois, playwright Melinda Lopez, and director M. Bevin O'Gara speaking at the first rehearsal: