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The Leningrad Siege

Two Sisters and A Piano

Ay, Carmela!

In Development

Two Sisters
Sponsored by

By Nilo Cruz

"...someone out there is sketching new maps of the world..." - Sofia

On 15th November, 1990, Maria Elena Cruz Varela, a Cuban poet sent Fidel Castro a "declaration of principles", stating in clear terms that she did not agree with anything that was happening in Cuba. Shortly afterwards she was expelled "dishonourably" from the Union of Cuban Writers and Artists. In June 1991, a group of Cuban intellectuals calling themselves Criterio Alternativo signed "The Letter of the 10", calling for economic and democratic reforms. Pacifist proclamations began to appear in the streets of Havana in support of the Criterio Alternativo. This incensed the regime and on 19th November 1991, agents of the state security, posing as civilians, forced themselves into her house and, in front of her daughter, beat her and her friends and dragged them out into the street. In the street, "divine mobs" - paramilitary cadres organised by the government- were gathered.

In her own words: " They let loose base passions against someone they did not even know. "Make her mouth bleed! Make it bleed, Make her swallow her writings!" She did not. In May 1993 she was released from a two-year prison sentence and a year later was allowed to leave Cuba. She now lives in Spain. TWO SISTERS AND A PIANO was inspired by this story.

Winner of the Kennedy Center Prize for New American Plays Award, Nilo Cruz's hauntingly atmospheric and profoundly moving play evokes the Cuban spirit at a time of change. Directed by Paola Dionisotti, one of the country's most respected actresses, making her directorial debut, this tender, funny and wise play is an unforgettable tale of love, memory and the inextinguishable power of art.