Other Free Encyclopedias » Brief Biographies » Biographies: Al Loving Biography - Loved Painting from Early Age to Alice McGill Biography - Personal » Eduardo Machado: 1953—: Playwright Biography - Forced To Leave Parents Behind, Opus Given Development Grant, Saw Parallel In "elián" Saga

Eduardo Machado: 1953—: Playwright - Saw Parallel In "elián" Saga

produced york american cuba

In late 1999 Machado was able to return to Cuba for the first time in 38 years. The journey helped him come to terms with his feelings of living a life in exile, which had been such a pervasive part of his identity. "I felt sometimes at home and sometimes a total alien," he explained to Navarro, describing the experience of being back in Cuba. "I realized I was really American and I couldn't survive there." Based on that experience, Machado wrote Havana Is Waiting, which premiered at the renowned Humana Festival of New American Plays in Louisville.

Havana Is Waiting centers around Federico, who left Cuba and his parents at the age of nine, and is openly gay. A New York writer, Federico accepts an invitation to return to Cuba as a part of a cultural exchange program. He brings his Italian-American photographer friend along, and they discover that Cubans are demonstrating for the return of Elián González, the real-life youngster who became a massive media story and political symbol. In 1999 Elián had survived a disastrous boat trip made by a group of Cubans, including his mother, who navigated treacherous waters between Cuba and Florida in an attempt to enter the United States.

The youngster's relatives in Florida wanted him to stay, but his father in Cuba demanded Elián's return. Federico, witnessing the street demonstrations in support of the father in Havana, thinks out loud: "I wish you would have fought to get me back." The rest of the political frisson in Havana Is Waiting is provided by Ernesto, the taxi driver that Federico hires to take him to visit his family's home. An ardent socialist, Ernesto argues vehemently in support of Castro, but sometimes contradicts himself; indeed, conflicts over political ideologies and even sexual preferences provide the emotional backdrop for the play's action.

Havana Is Waiting went into rehearsals on the same day that the World Trade Center collapsed in September of 2001. There were some sharp anti-American statements in the play, and in the heated atmosphere of the days following the attack, Machado was asked if he had considered excising any of them. He rejected such self-censorship. "The United States has been an imperialist power and I have the right to say that. We can't, at this point, make ourselves victims and blind ourselves," Machado told Navarro. "It's important to see how other people feel about you and try to understand why they feel that way about you."

Selected writings

Rosario and the Gypsies, music by Rick Vartorella, produced in New York, 1982.

Broken Eggs, produced in New York, 1984, published in On New Ground, edited by Betty Osborne, Theatre Communications Group, 1986; revised work produced in New York as Revotillo, 1998.

When It's Over, with Geraldine Sher, produced in New Haven, CT, 1986.

Wishing You Well, produced in New York, 1987.

Why to Refuse, produced in New York, 1987.

A Burning Beach, produced in New York, 1988.

Don Juan in New York City, produced in New York, 1988.

Garded (opera libretto), produced in Philadelphia, PA, 1988.

Once Removed, produced in New Haven, CT, 1992, published in Plays in Process, vol. 9, no. 3, 1988.

The Day You'll Love Me, adaptation of the play by José Ignacio Cabrujas, produced in Los Angeles, 1989; produced in London, 1990.

Cabaret Bambu, produced in New York, 1989.

Related Retreats, also director; produced in New York, 1990.

Pericones, produced in New York, 1990.

Stevie Wants to Play the Blues, music by Fredric Myrow, lyrics by Machado and Myrow, produced in Los Angeles, 1990.

The Floating Island Plays (includes The Modern Ladies of Guanabacoa, Fabiola, Broken Eggs, and In the Eye of the Hurricane), Theatre Communications Group, New York, 1991.

Havana Is Waiting, first produced as When the Sea Drowns in Sand, Actors Theatre of Louisville, 2000, produced in New York, 2001.



Contemporary Dramatists, 6th edition, St. James Press, 1999.


American Theatre, January 1995, pp. 14, 17; January 2001, p. 16.

Back Stage, May 24, 1991, p. 1; September 30, 1994, p. 15; December 31, 1999, p. 4; November 16, 2001, p. 33.

Los Angeles Magazine, December 1994, p. 173.

New York Times, September 7, 1998, p. E2; October 21, 2001, p. 6; October 27, p. A14; November 4, 2001, p. 4.

New York Times Magazine, October 23, 1994, p. 38.

North American Review, March/April 1993, p. 45; September/October 2001, p. 36.

Time, July 11, 1988, p. 82.

Variety, November 5, 2001, p. 33.

—Carol Brennan

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