Laura’s reality show

Laura de la Uz revives her function.

It is more than confirmed: Laura de la Uz is an actress without borders. For her, there are no limits between genres because she goes from drama to comedy with the same authenticity, she organically and naturally makes incursions into cinema and theatre, and to top it off, now she also dares to write and direct a stage show, where the talent displayed by the actress becomes the great protagonist of her artistic proposal.

This end of the year has been very promising for Laura de la Uz because her name has been repeated in theatre and cinema billboards, even more than once, during the holding in Havana of the 36th New Latin American International Film Festival. Here it was possible to see her in two Cuban films, playing very different and complex roles. One of them in La pared de las palabras, the most recent production of veteran filmmaker Fernando Pérez, and as a transsexual woman in the first feature length of filmmaker Marilyn Solaya, Vestido de novia. In addition, she revived in the Mella Theatre her function of Reality Show, which was premiered last October 18 and was especially conceived to close the second edition in Cuba of the Women Create Festival.

Before then one of her last appearances in theatre had been more than three years ago, in the work by playwright Alberto Pedro, Delirio habanero, in a production by the Teatro de Luna company, under the direction of Raúl Martín. But according to what Laura has repeatedly said, for some time she had had several ideas for the production of an individual presentation. Perhaps this is why when a show producer, Darsy Fernández, proposed that she prepare a work for the closing of the Women Create Festival, the actress did not let that opportunity go by.

It must be said that the Women Create Cuba Festival is the Cuban version of an event held annually in Spain, which is dedicated to highlighting women’s creativity and has been promoted and organised on the island by the Cultural Consultancy Office of the Spanish embassy, the Spanish Agency for Cooperation and Development (AECID)-Cuba, with the collaboration of Cuban institutions. The idea then was to produce a show that somehow would be centred on women. With that point of departure, her second presentation, on December 9 and 10 in the Mella Theatre, was also aimed at backing the World Campaign on No to Violence against Women and Girls.

As the title announces, Reality Show is inspired on that type of TV show so popular in other countries and which gets involved in the privacy of the participants, who are ready to resolve their most personal matters before the cameras. Acting on that premise, Laura takes to the stage part of her family, shows how an ordinary day in her life can be with her worries and daily tasks, and evokes before the audience some of her most memorable experiences, making out of this an attractive and enjoyable material.

For this she has a working team and collaborators in diverse specialities. She had the indispensable backing of the direction of Raúl Martín, Manolo Garriga in charge of the lights and Héctor David Rosales responsible for filming the videos made in real locations to ensure the show, and which had the virtue of efficiently forming part of the stage production, though that meant having to deal with greater technical complexities, while the use of screens was required for their projection on stage.

The music was another of the thematic central points of the show, since Laura not only proposed to honour great Cuban interpreters – like one of her guests, the always exquisite Beatriz Márquez -, but also to uncover for the audience the unknown story of some women who served as inspiration for unforgettable themes of popular songs.

Who was Marilú, the young woman who was the origin of the popular theme by Juan Formell in the 1970s? What is the story of Yolanda, the hidden young woman behind the unforgettable song by Pablo Milanés? The mystery is revealed by some of the guests, like Lynn Milanés and Telmary Díaz, who sing and pay tribute to their own mothers together with their host. And though everything seems easy on stage, or Laura makes it look easy, the truth is that to find those stories that would later be put together in the show it was necessary to carry out a previous investigation.

And here it is necessary to call attention about the work, the hours of rehearsal and of investigation that are hidden behind each interpretation of an actress or actor. In one of the most moving moments of the work – that uses humour as a resource but has also known how to appeal to emotions -, Laura makes reference to the unforgettable character she had to play in Delirio habanero. The actress confesses that until then she barely knew Celia Cruz, the great Cuban singer considered by many as Cuba’s main guarachera and who died in exile. It was then necessary – Laura confesses during the show -, not only to listen to her music to try to reinterpret her style but also to investigate the most outstanding aspects of her life and her personality to be able to take to the stage an image whose aim was that it be the most authentic as possible. That research on the artist and the person that Celia Cruz was not only allowed the actress a deeper preparation to do her work, but also an understanding of the human being behind the myth and a recognition of her place in Cuban culture.

Laura was also accompanied in the rerun of Reality Show by other guests who should not be left out, like the “muse” that served as inspiration for deceased singer-songwriter Santiago Feliú’s song “Para Bárbara”, later interpreted by the Sine Nomine vocal group, and especially actor Luis Alberto García, who plays the role of a fumigator who also “resolves” construction materials “under the counter”, a typical image of daily ups and downs.

And as a coda and happy ending to her reality show, Laura also gets her song, a gift by Frank Delgado which the actress more than deserves for her proven talent and artistic maturity, achieved throughout a career full of correct moves and memorable characters. (2014)

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