El Caballero de Paris
In November 2009, Cuban psychiatric patients took part on an unusual play “El Caballero de Paris"directed by French actor and director Serge Sandor in what he hopes will be a new and creative way to improve the self-esteem of the actors.
The play is based on the life of Spanish emigrant Jose Maria Lopez Lledin so called “El Caballero de Paris". El Caballero de Paris was a real homeless person who roamed the streets of Havana during the 40's and 50's. He always dressed in black, covered with a black cloak, even in the summer heat. He always carried a portfolio with papers and a bag where he carried his belongings.
He was a gentle man who would appear in the most unlikely places at the most unpredictable times, although he visited many places on a regular schedule. He would walk the streets and ride the buses in Habana greeting everyone and discussing his philosophy of life, religion, politics and current events with everyone that crossed his path.
He was a fluent and educated talker. Many still remember the times when they used to chat with him. He never begged or used bad language. He only accepted money from people he knew, who in turn would be given a gift, which could be a postcard colored by him, a pen or pencil decorated with strings of various colors, a pencil sharpener, or similar object. He often would give change to those who gave him money. Although children were initially scared by his appearance, they soon lost their fright and chatted with him. Everyone, adults and children, spoke to him with utmost respect.
Photos © Tatiana Batir