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realclearworld

Ricky Martin clarifies his Broadway “Che” role (are we making headway?)

Ricky Martin UPR RTZ
"Look, I'm not playing the guy literally--OK! It's a different character, OK!"

che3U1227536
"Oye pero la verdad que ese Argentino era tremendo come-mierda!"

Last month the head of Mercedes-Benz (whose HUGE volume dealership sits in Miami) issued an apology for using Che Guevara in a Mercedes ad campaign.

Now Ricky Martin (with many fans in South Florida--and poised to play a character named Che on Broadway's Evita)--very carefully clarifies his role:

the Che he will play is not the iconic rebel Che Guevara. “I’m a character called Che, the voice of the people. Che in Argentina can be the taxi driver, the waiter, the bartender. I’m telling the story of Evita Peron. I’m the first person to sing in the musical and I deliver the last words.

Hummmmm?

Unreal

7 comments to Ricky Martin clarifies his Broadway “Che” role (are we making headway?)

  • Rayarena

    OMG! He twisted himself into a pretzel trying to explain himself out of that one and he still feel flat on his face!

  • Honey

    Rayarena,
    No, if you saw Evita you would understand that what he is saying is correct.
    It is unfortunate that the character is named Che in Evita. But it ends there. He is in a Brechtian musical which is trying to distance us from any sympathy for the Perons. Che is a character who is the voice of the victims of the fascism of the Perons. I don't know why the book writer chose to name him Che or if he meant the romanticized version of Guevera, but the musical has nothing to do with Cuba or any other place Che tried to radicalize. The musical is only about the danger of choosing leaders who will be tyrants. Che, the character in this musical, is everyman who tries to speak out against the Perons.

  • It's my understanding that Argentinians use "che" like other places use "dude" or "bloke."

  • Carlos Eire

    Unfortunately, aeons ago, I was dragged to see the original production of Evita on Broadway by friends who had free tickets. Che was played by Mandy Patinkin as OUR Che -- beret, beard, green fatigues, combat boots, the whole nine yards. The character definitely has this history behind it. I never saw the Madonna movie version and don't know how Che was portrayed there – and would prefer to think the movie doesn’t exist -- but Ricky is fooling himself if he thinks he can disassociate himself from the Butcher of La Cabaña and mastermind of the roundup of gays in Cuba.

  • Rayarena

    Honey, I did see the musical on Broadway many years ago and, although the character is not supposed to be Che, the association is inevitable. The playwright obviously wrote the character in since Che Guevara has come to symbolize the altruistic revolutionary saint who gave his life up for the poor and downtrodden.

    If it quacks like a duck and swims like a duck, but YOU PROVIDE A DISCLAIMER, guest what? It's still a duck.

  • asombra

    A musical, like an opera, could be given different spins depending on how it's presented by the person directing it. It is possible that the Che character could be made an anonymous everyman, which would certainly be commendable, but if Ricky comes out decked out like some Korda photo of Guevara, then obviously the audience will read him as that particular Che (as no doubt happened with the Patinkin version mentioned above). Ricky's facial hair in the photo is bound to be something he did for the show, which suggests his statement may well be disingenuous and an attempt to have it both ways.

  • Gallardo

    Oliver Stone co-wrote the '96 film, so that answers that (and a little more). The story goes that the play's creator Tim Rice didn't intent to base "Che" on Ernesto Guevara but later a man involved in the project, named Harold Prince, insisted that Guevara clearly were the role model. Some claim that the character seen in the '96 film and in modern plays is a return to its more anonymous roots; however, it is stated in the various pages that Antonio Banderas was Che Guevara "serving as Eva's conscience and critic" and upon clicking on Bandera's "Che" character on imdb.com one is directed to the that shameless communist propaganda piece of Soderbergh some years ago.

    Conclusion, it's called convenient ambiguity (the type Ricky Martin knows off, may I add).

    What is there to expect from Ricky anyway who in Puerto Rico during the last few years has spoken of nothing else but being gay. That said, I don't think political matters are a major part of him. I also don't think he limps towards the commie side nor that he is a resented buffoon; yet, nor do I believe that he fully believes his words. What I do believe is that the ambiguity serves him practical enough to cash the check in comfort.

    Let's analyze here, an Argentinian nicknamed Che who is anti-dictatorship (right-wing that is), claims to be the voice of the people, and basically all the other shameless rhetoric that communists have attributed to Che in order to create their communist saint, but then when all the atrocities, contradictions, and aberrations of the real scumbag come up, "oh no, that's not our Che" (but let's definitely continue naming him "Che" and not clarify either, eh).

    I am going to make a play with a Cuban character named Fidel who represents the voice of the Cuban people and serves as Batista's voice of consciousness. Then when I get confronted about such leftist garbage I'll say that's not Castro (but I couldn't name him Lazaro).

    Or maybe one with a Korean character named Kim to represent the voice of the Korean people and the voice of consciousness of the Japanese emperor? Ummm, how about one set in the 1910s where a man named Vladimir represents the voice of the Russian people and the voice of consciousness of Nicholas Galitzine. How about a Saudi named Osama as the conscious voice of secular Mubarak. You know, better yet, how about one where a young black guy named Barack represents the American people and the voice of consciousness of George Bush.

    If that character is not your typical leftist sanctimoniousness and masked shamelessness at play then maybe O.J. didn't kill his wife either.