Ray Cruz: "There’s a Fatima on Every Corner"

Ray Cruz: "There’s a Fatima on Every Corner"
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Manolito is Fátima, a woman trapped in the body of a man who only wants to be precisely that: a woman and live life!

But nobody said it would be easy. She will have to face a macho society, full of prejudices in which criticizing the construction of other people's happiness is an everyday task.

Fatima is that and it’s also the resilience of a country made woman.

Cuban actor Ray Cruz is in charge of telling this story during these weeks of August with the staging of “Fátima y el Parque de la Fraternidad”, where in addition to playing the leading role, he faces the challenge of directing it together with Claudia Zaldívar.

The piece is inspired by the homonymous story written by writer and ethnologist Miguel Barnet, winner of the Juan Rulfo Award in 2006, which premiered in Cuban theaters in 2015 under the direction of Jorge Perugorría and with a special performance by Carlos Enrique Almirante.

Cruz, in conversation with the Cuban News Agency, alleged that although it presents similar characteristics, the work becomes different from the deliveries mentioned above.

- What characteristics does this version of Fátima or Parque de La Fraternidad present that make it a renewed and different setting?

"The script addresses the conflicts of Fátima, an artistic pseudonym used by young Manuel (nicknamed Manolito), who arrives in Havana from the rural zone of Cuba and enters the world of entertainment and prostitution.

“However, he focuses on his inner struggles as a human being and even, emphasizing values related to Cuban identity.

“It’s no less true that in recent times, Cuba is a reflection of the detachment generated by emigration and other phenomena; therefore, we were had to try to rescue the love for the Homeland and its people.

"I greatly admire the work of Carlos Enrique Almirante in the feature film, but this theatrical construction started from my experiences and inner conflicts where I give each character within the work different features."

- What did Fatima bring to your personal life?

“First of all, Fátima is a cute figure but now it’s approached even more from the dramatic point of view and that leads to inner reflection as the main objective of the work.

“Before studying the character, I looked at it with pity, among many things, for facing social prejudices that attack people for having a different sexual orientation or characteristics different from the rest.

“She turns out to be a woman with a hueg trauma and on top of all problems she always looks for alternatives to look life in the eyeand move on.

“Fatima could be a sister, an aunt or a cousin; on every corner and in every neighborhood there’s a Fatima.

“I’ve learned to love the character, identify with it and reflect on what’s good and what’s not.

- Which elements of the work do you consider important to highlight?

"Besides the social message, of course, it’s necessary to highlight the music, composed in an unprecedented way for this version by Carlos Ernesto Varona.

“On the other hand, the makeup, by Claudia Zaldívar, who also faces her first challenge as a theater director.

"You have to recognize teamwork where everyone's area was always respected," Cruz said.

- Had you previously played a role related to cross-dressing?

“I have played certain transsexual characters but not drag queens; and it's complicated, because of the trauma that comes from being a woman trapped in a man's body."

- Why is Fátima or Parque de La Fraternidad a work that the public cannot stop watching?

"The work is presented in a context of many social changes in the country such as massive emigration and even so,  new laws after the most recent Family Code, approved in a popular referendum in 2022.

“Fatima comes to rescue certain values that seemed lost and to give voice to a minority and excluded sector; hence the importance”.

Ray Cruz has come, with this play, to ratify what his creator left well written in the final lines of the play: "Fatima does not give up, Fatima is immortal."

This young Cuban actor is remembered for his leading role as Professor Manuel in the Cuban soap opera "Entrega" and as part of the cast of "El derecho de nacer", whose character becomes controversial.

Among other projects, he highlighted the premiere of the second season of the humor program "Al habla con los muertos", together with  actress Yaremis Pérez and will be part of the third season of the popular youth series "Calendario".

Due to his incursion into genres such as television, cinema, theater, and music, he is considered one of the most versatile faces of acting nationwide.

Translated by Amilkal Labañino / CubaSí Translation Staff

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