Tania Bruguera Endgame
by Samuel Beckett[Theatre]
An artist, performer or, as she defines herself, an artivist, Tania Bruguera, has taken it upon herself to write her own story of Cuba. She does so in terms that are free and uninhibited. This time around she has chosen the words of Beckett, in an End Game the title of which alone is indicative of a whole programme.
In a country where speaking up is something not to be taken for granted, Tania Bruguera has never stopped searching for different modes of expression. Her aim: to write Cuba’s story in her own terms. Her work is situated at the crossroads between the visual arts and performance. By inviting anonymous individuals to take to the microphone in the emblematic Square of the Revolution, her concern was, and still is, to give others the chance to speak rather than taking it away from them. The Cuban government did not back down, but then neither did Tania Bruguera: in 2015, in La Havana, she founded the Hannah Arendt Institute of Artivism. Its objective was to highlight the need for a “civil literacy campaign” in order to regain a lost freedom of speech. Her decision to bring End Game to the stage reflects a desire to reconnect with words. Words which are also those of tyranny: “I’ll give you just enough to keep you from dying”, as Hamm says to Clov. Around ten years ago, the words of Beckett were the inspiration behind the series of installations she put together under the title of Study for End Game. This time round, the artivist embraces the text body and soul, and gives it a voice. End Game opens with the following programmatic words: “Finished, it’s finished, nearly finished, it must be nearly finished”. Now, it’s over to Tania Bruguera.