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Cuba Inside Out

Cuba Inside Out

Revolution and Contemporary Theatre

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Yael Prizant


Paperback (Other formats: E-book)
192 pages, 6 x 9, 22 illustrations

Theater in the Americas


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About the Book

The collapse of the Soviet Union in 1989 drastically altered life in Cuba. Theatre artists were faced with new economic and social realities that changed their day-to-day experiences and ways of looking at the world beyond the island. The Cuban Revolution’s resistance to and intersections with globalization, modernity, emigration and privilege are central to the performances examined in this study. The first book-length study in English of Cuban and Cuban American plays, Cuba Inside Out provides a framework for understanding texts and performances that support, challenge, and transgress boundaries of exile and nationalism.  Prizant reveals the intricacies of how revolution is staged theatrically, socially, and politically on the island and in the Cuban diaspora. This close examination of seven plays written since 1985 seeks to alter how U.S. audiences perceive Cuba, its circumstances, and its theatre.


Yael Prizant is a translator, dramaturg, and assistant professor of theatre at the University of Notre Dame.  Her translation of Chamaco by Abel González Melo was published by University of Miami Press.  She has authored many theatre and translation reviews and her essay “Ninety Miles Away: Identity and Exile in Recent Cuban-American Theater,” appears in the collected volume Performance, Exile and ‘America’ (Palgrave Macmillan, 2009).


“A wonderfully succinct and yet profound meditation on the changing meanings of revolution in Cuba and how they have been brought to life on the stage. Truly an engaging and thoughtful book.”—Ruth Behar, Perera Collegiate Professor of Anthropology and editor of Bridges to Cuba/Puentes a Cuba and The Portable Island: Cubans at Home in the World

“Only in the deft hands of Prizant could the history of Cuba’s theatre come so vibrantly to life. In this tour de force journey that begins with the pre-colonial Taino areitos then moves through the ebbs and flows of colonial then post-revolutionary theatre arts production Prizant brilliantly shows the different social and historical contexts that led Cuban playwrights to their delicate dances between form and content to ensure creative innovation and expression. Resting her scholarly wings mostly in a post-1980s theatre scene, Prizant spins her on-the-grounds research (live productions and interviews in Cuba) into a dazzlingly colorful tapestry of how playwrights uphold Trotsky’s dictum: all anarchy in art. Not since the great Mexican playwright and theatre historian, Rodolfo Usigli, have we had such a vital, comprehensive—thrilling even—story of theatrical production in the Americas. Showcasing Cuba’s theatre of resistance from the inside out Prizant gifts us an alert erudite work.”—Frederick Luis Aldama, Arts & Humanities Distinguished Professor of English and author recently of The Routledge Concise History of Latino/a Literature.