We often want to escape reality or inhabit other bodies in order to live sublime experiences, and it is towards these sensations that the performance of Cuban actress Verónica Lynn leads us when she abandons her skin to become art.
By Adis Marlén Morera
Reporter for Prensa Latina’s Culture section
I could appeal to the memory through an authentic Santa Camila from Old Havana or a masterful Doña Teresa in the novel Sol de batey, but just naming her is enough, she is Verónica Lynn, the major face of acting in Cuba.
As a child she was a great film buff, and although she had no knowledge of theatre, her greatest passion was writing her own plays while imitating great artists such as Bette Davis and Betty Harford. Fortunately for many, destiny helped Veronica to become one too.
When I was six years old I was fascinated when I saw a Shirley Temple film and decided I wanted to be like her, from that time on, acting was undoubtedly very important to me,” said the actress in an exclusive interview with Prensa Latina.
At 23 years of age and with a talent that was just beginning to emerge, she won a place in the cast of Teatro Azul, a live programme that at the time was broadcast on Cuban television’s studio four under the direction of Gaspar Pumarejo.
Her performance in that programme served as a showcase for new projects to come into his life, among them the theatre.
The first time I was in front of an audience was with the play Amok; theatre has a special charm, because you are in full view of the spectator, it’s not the same with cinema or television, if you are on stage, it fascinates me,” she said.
Verónica considers herself a faithful disciple of the acting method of the Russian master Konstantin Stanislavski that she learned thanks to Andrés Castro, a technique that in her opinion opened doors for her, as it allowed her to develop her acting abilities even more.
Stanislavski teaches that you must organically process the life and events of the character, through the situations he goes through you get to the no end, it must be a process as surprising as life itself. As an actor you have the tools and you know what that no end is, but you don’t work for it, he said.
With her role in the play Lunes, miércoles y domingos de amor Palmolive, he captivated many television directors, as a result of which he obtained his first contract after the triumph of the Revolution.
ARTIST WITH CAPITAL LETTERS
It is undeniable the capacity of the interpreter to unfold and squander talent in the most varied characters, how she achieves it, nobody knows, it is a special gift that has accompanied her throughout her 92 years, today, Sunday, and that deserves the affection of Cuba for being an artist with capital letters.
With an extensive career in film, theatre, radio and television, Verónica is especially known for playing the role of Santa Camila de La Habana Vieja, a religious mulatto woman without much schooling. According to critics, her performance is now considered unsurpassed.
It was extremely difficult to play her, many actresses have played her well, but my Camila is my Camila. With her I willed myself not to make craft or stereotypes of the solar mulatto, I studied the human being that she represents, she is a beautiful character that I adore because she is a symbol of our idiosyncrasy, she said.
Another one that earned her innumerable expressions of affection was Doña Teresa, the landowner in Sol de batey (1985). To create it, she sought the help of a psychiatrist, who showed her how a woman with an illness that caused her to alter her reality behaved.
The actress is pleased with the roles she has played throughout her career, and although she prefers them all, she is particularly fond of Camila, Luz Marina from Aire Frio, Martha from Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and Fortunata from Fortunata y Jacinta.
Near the no end of the interview, she seems to forget her role as Rachel’s mother, the protagonist of La bella del Alhambra (1989), in her opinion one of the best films made in Cuba, which she thoroughly enjoyed making.
In terms of acting, no one can single anyone out, all the actors were spectacular, as a medium it is a good film, with a first-class production, it reflected an era better than any other film, and the work was politically and environmentally impeccable. If you choose the five best Cuban productions, this is one of them, he said.
Besides acting, teaching is another of her passions. Together with her husband, the late actor Pedro Álvarez, she directed the national movement of amateur theatres for 25 years.
The artist confesses that she is terrified of directing and acting at the same time, and it seems that with her current play Los Frijoles Colorados, she gave way to fear in order to give herself body and soul to the manifestation that captivated her senses from the very first moment.
The play is staged by the Trotamundos company, founded by Verónica and her husband in 1989, and which audiences can enjoy every weekend in May at the El Sótano theatre in the capital.
Among the awards that the actress holds are the distinction for National Culture, the Alejo Carpentier Order, and the National Theatre and Television Awards, in 2003 and 2006 respectively.
One of the awards I love the most is Maestros de Juventudes, which was awarded to me along with Eusebio Leal, I cannot compare myself to this wonderful man,” she emphasised.
The playwright Ramón Silverio, Omara Portuondo and Frank Fernández also received it, but for her, Maestros de Juventudes is Leal. When asked her about what her career represented for her, she replied:
It is one thing to be an actress and another to be an artist, I am proud to say that Verónica Lynn is an artist.
It only remains to congratulate her on her birthday and for giving soul, talent and passion to this expression of art that in Cuba takes shape in her face.