Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Nilo Cruz has been spending the fall at home in Miami, directing his own Night Train to Bolina and teaching at the University of Miami (where he's currently the Stanford Distinguished Professor of the Humanities), along with watching rehearsals for the upcoming Arsht Center-UM production of Federico Garcia Lorca's The House of Bernarda Alba (Cruz and Karin Coonrod did the translation).
Now he's got another gig translating a classic. The Asolo Repertory Theatre is presenting Hamlet, Prince of Cuba, a Cuba-set version of William Shakespeare's Hamlet, in both its main Sarasota theater (March 23-May 6) and at the new South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center (May 17-20). Asolo artistic director Michael Donald Edwards has already reworked Shakespeare's script in English, and Cruz will translate that version into Spanish. The cast will give performances in both languages.
Originally, another Cuban-American playwright, Eduardo Machado, was going to work with Edwards, but he left the team due to changes in the project as well as his TV writing commitments (he works on HBO's Hung).
Edwards, who directed the world premiere of Cruz's Hurricane at last years Ringling International Arts Festival, says he's "over the moon" about working with the playwright again and that the two are planning a trip to Cuba for research soon.
As for Cruz, he's experiencing excitement and a sense of responsibility.
"I'm just obsessed with it now," he says of crafting Hamlet, Prince of Cuba in Spanish. "This is like diving into heaven. This version is very lean, which is lovely, a good adaptation for a modern audience. I'm trying to keep it modern and respect the musicality and rhythm of the language."