Foodie theatre buffs, hie thee to the Hartford Stage, Hartford, CT, before March 28. Cuban-American playwright Eduardo Machado has written a piece now playing there that looks at Cuban life under Castro's regime and America's embargo. The play, in his words, "is about loyalty in the face of disastrous circumstances."
As Hartford Stage puts it, "In The Cook, the tantalizing aromas of a Cuban kitchen permeate this drama about family, duty, and revolution. Gladys is a cook working in a wealthy family's Havana mansion. When Batista flees Cuba and Castro comes into power, the mistress of the house escapes to New York, leaving Gladys behind as the caretaker. As decades pass, the cook and her husband live in the mansion, raising their family. When the owner's daughter finally returns to see her family's old home in 1997, she can barely remember the cook and regards her as an illegitimate usurper. Gladys, caught between two irreconcilable worlds, must decide whether or not she is going to stake her claim to what has become her home."
For three acts, the kitchen is center stage, from luxurious 1958 to the faded days of 1997.
Playwright Machado was put on a plane to the U.S. by his parents in 1962 when he was 9 years old, as they wanted him to grow up Castro-free. Today he is head of Columbia University's graduate playwrighting program.