Did you know there was a 16th Century Amerindian warrior hero who once fought fiercely against Spanish Conquistadors in Cuba?
Get ready for Hatuey. It’s a play coming to the Central Bank Auditorium from tomorrow, Wednesday 7th that tells his story. It’s written by one of the country’s most prolific journalists and playwrights, the late Raoul Pantin. Hatuey is being produced by the Lloyd Best Institute of the West Indies and is being Directed by Rawle Gibbons. Managing Director of the institute, Sunity Maharaj, told Triniscene.com that the story of Hatuey was one to be told.
“It represented an individual who made his mark, changing and defining Caribbean history. Too many times we see the beginning of Caribbean history as after Columbus landed, but the indigenous people put up the fight of their lives,” she said. “We don’t even know their names, but this play brings forward the story of one of them.”
Hatuey warned the Cuban Amerindians about the destruction the Spanish had done on the island of Hispaniola. He organised a resistance against the colonisers, utilising guerrilla tactics in his fight against them. These attacks were successful in keeping the Spanish at bay for a time and showcased the defiance of the Amerindian War Chief. A quality that stayed with him to the very end.
Spanish priest Bartolome de las Casas recorded that, upon Hatuey’s capture he was asked if would convert to Christianity so that he would enter heaven when he died. Hatuey asked if heaven was where the Spanish went as well. When the priest said yes, Hatuey refused, saying that he’d rather go to hell than be surrounded by such cruel people as the Spanish
The launch of the play tomorrow, also coincides with the beginning of First Peoples Heritage Week. A celebration that recognizes the contributions of the Amerindian population in Trinidad and Tobago. Maharaj said that the play should also allow for us as a nation to appreciate our own indigenous heroes, such as Hyarima. A war chief that fought against the Spanish here in Trinidad, with many successful revolts. There is a statue of him that stands to this day at the heart of Arima at Hollis Avenue.
Hatuey opens with a Matinee on October 7th at 10:30 a.m. for students as a special production. The play will then open to the public on the 8th with a procession- led by the cast, starting at 6:30 p.m. from the Red House to the Central Bank Auditorium. Hatuey runs until Sunday 11th. Its second run starts again on the 15th to the 18th.
Cast members include Martin Daly, Ché Rodriguez and Francesca Hawkins. For tickets contact 663 5463 or the Central Bank Auditorium at 623-0845.