By Alicia Jrapko
Photos: Bill Hackwell
La Colmenita‘s first performance in Washington DC was extraordinary. The audience began arriving at the Kay Chapel at American University at 5:30 p.m. even though the performance was not to begin until 7. People of all ages arrived along with plenty of children. The chapel filled up. Two young parents with their small children came from New Jersey, driving four hours to attend the event because they’d been unable to see the troupe when it was in New York.
Afterwards, La Colmenita received a standing ovation as a measure of the audience’s appreciation for such a beautiful performance. There were also plenty of tears in the eyes of the audience as the story of the Cuban Five and the injustice of their case was told.
Upon leaving, many people approached the information table asking, “But who are the Cuban Five?” taken totally by surprise after seeing a play about some heroes, without knowing who they were or having ever heard of them.
The evening ended with another surprise, a phone call from Rene González, that lasted almost an hour, and where he was able to talk with each of the children from La Colmenita as well as with the adults. The children passed the telephone to each other and if that were not excitement enough, they performed “El Mayor” [by Cuban songwriter Silvio Rodríguez] for René, accompanied by a guitar played by one of the troupe members.
Today the children spent their free time as tourists in Washington, visiting museums, playing, enjoying themselves. On Monday they will visit a school and on Wednesday they will perform at the Duke Ellington school, in Washington. The tour goes on…