2018 Season

King of Cuba

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written by Cristina García (based on her novel)
directed by Gary Graves
Produced in: 2018

World Premiere #60: from the Central Works Writers Workshop

“It’s delectable to watch machismo get hoisted on its own petard again and again” –SF Chronicle

National Book Award finalist Cristina García, gender-bending comedian Marga Gomez, and Grammy-winning “bongocero” Carlos Caro team up with a full cast of Latinx actors to bring Garcia’s colorful portrait of the Cuban cultural and political landscape to the stage.

Two combative octogenarians: one in Cuba, a ruthless dictator, “El Comandante,” maintains an ineffectual grip on power while pretending that neither his crumbling nation nor his rapidly deteriorating health are headed for disaster. The other, in steamy Miami, irascible exile Goyo Herrera plots revenge, hell-bent on staying alive long enough to see the dictator to his grave. Both are coming to terms with loves lost, people wronged, failing health, and the legacies they’ll soon enough be leaving behind. What will get El Comandante first—old age, or old Goyo?


Theatre Bay Area Awards recommended!

Production Sponsors: The RHE Foundation and Wilder Green Arts Fund

King of Cuba is also made possible with the generous support of the Actors Equity, Kenneth Rainin and Sam Mazza Foundations, and the East Bay Fund for Artists.


Marco Aponte
Leticia Duarte
Elaina Garrity
Ben Ortega
Steve Ortiz
and Marga Gomez as “El Comandante”

Percussive Accompaniment: Carlos Caro (bongocero)

Stage management: Vanessa Ramos
Costume design: Tammy Berlin
Lighting design: Gary Graves
Prop design: Debbie Shelley
Sound design: Gregory Scharpen

King of Cuba was developed in the Central Works Writers Workshop

Locked in a strangle-hold: (l to r) El Comandante  (Marga Gomez) and Goyo (Steve Ortiz) in Cristina García’s world-premiere play, King of Cuba.

Photo by J. Norrena

Angel (Ben Ortega), in Cristina García’s world-premiere play, King of Cuba.

Photo by J. Norrena

Grammy winning bongocero, Carlos Caro, provides percussive ambience in Cristina García’s world-premiere play, King of Cuba.

Photo by J. Norrena

All photos: ACT OUT Photography

Marga Gomez is El Comandante in Cristina García’s world-premiere play, King of Cuba.

Photo by J. Norrena

“Machismo gets hoisted by its own petard again and again … and it’s always a thrill to be in the breath-holding intimacy of Central Works’ tiny space in the Berkeley City Club.” -L. Janiak, SF Chronicle

King of Cuba unfolds with a cartoon-like charm that transfixes us…Garcia’s play fits our terrorized political moment.” -T. Jeffreys, Theatrius

“When [the] actors…cut loose with García’s beautifully composed, riotously funny monologues, magic happens.” -C Kruger, TheatreStorm

King of Cuba Tickles, Triumphs, at Central Works” -M. Volmer, Theatrius

“Cristina García puts the “dic” in dictator in the theatrical adaptation of her own novel” -J. Edalatpour, SF Weekly

“In the intensely intimate space where Central Works stages its productions, director Gary Graves has done marvelous work.” Patrick Thomas, Broadwayworld

Theatre Bay Area Awards Recommended!

Click here to get to the press release!


Listen to Cristina and Marga’s interview on KALW’s Open Air:

Learn more about award-winning novelist and playwright, Cristina García

photo by Anne Whitman

Visit Marga’s website!