Héctor Echemendia Ruiz de Villa: One of the most exceptional actors

I ask you just begin this dialogue

As a general rule, when you ask an actor, dancer, singer, etc.. They say that since being a child, it has always felt the need to express them in the event you make: that played the piano, played a guitar, singing modern songs, which imitated the actors and dancers. It might think that was always my ambition to be an actor and immediately with the revolutionary victory I was in Camaguey an amateur theater group found a great opportunity to realize my goals in life. Nothing further from the truth, never before discovered that my vocation.

Did you finish your studies?

I reached to Second year of Bachelor I am graduated as operator of electricity commercial plant in 1956 and I finished the 5th-semester of English.

What about dramatic art?

I was drove by the desire to earn my own means of support and not depend on my parents financially that earned modest wages, began to take classes in telegraphy, but it was not good and I liked it. My first leaning was to be a radio announcer. This idea emerged while I was living in the back part of the house (by the way, very big) which occupied CMJW in Avenida de los Martires. It was the first time I spoke into a microphone, as were minor at the time was very professional monitored intrusion in this area. At that time there was an announcer, whose name I do not remember names, dates and telephone numbers, they have never nested in my head, which was devoted to classes of speech, my impression is that it was good as well know everything backwards required the court.

When did you get the test?

No, the test would take place here in Havana. But around the time of it, I had family situations, including economic, that prevented my attendance. Some time later I had the opportunity to present a test that would allow me to get the title of Plant Equipment Operator Commercial Radio. In this case the court would be moved to Camaguey. Consider the theory required, known as much for my previous telegraphy lessons, and practice and dominated by my stay in CMJW where he records and was familiar with the transmitter.

I had my degree but without work, because all the squares were covered, a friend, who was Valdez Jimenez’s nephew the owner of the CMJA that one of the two operators of the station had died and that he could recommend me if I wanted to recommend the square. I was accepted and began to operate the controls of that station, was then 17 years.

At the triumph of the Revolution I created an amateur drama group. My girlfriend is one of the first to start acting the same. The director was Michael Ponce, here in Havana – years after he left the country, the group was developing a large-scale works of riding, like a dove to Graciela, Raul Gonzalez Cascorro. I went with my girlfriend to the tests and sometimes I stayed, others went and came back later to collect it. All this happened without showing me any interest in acting.

But you are one of the main players of the Body Drama. When did you begin?

There comes the call to participate in the First National Festival of Amateur, sponsored by the INRA; competitive festival, which included a large, numbers of events, such as adult and children theater theater, music, dance, suddenly. The group’s director offered me a role in the play Monte Adentro, which was preparing to mount. Needless to say it flatly refused, saying that I honestly believed that he had nothing to do there. Indeed he saw acting as something very distant and extremely complicated. For penalty at the insistence of the director and my girlfriend, I accepted, interpreted a small figure of a sergeant in the rebel army. Despite this, and that had no experience was mentioned favorably by the critics: this was my first performance in the theater.

The group wins the prize of staging and presented at the Havana Theater in a crowded theater Payret along with all other winners then went to a big national tour. To the group, and as this required time for testing and tours of the municipalities, which are beginning to give, as nearly all were employees of different branches, we began to receive a stipend from the then National Theater of Cuba, which compensated for the wage ceased to receive as a result of the activities of the theater. Miguel Ponce returned to Havana and then my wife wanted to come to Havana to work as Ponce had formed a group and was trying to formalize it.

This does not work in the period was expected and had no other places – of course we were completely unknown. Return to Camaguey, in the theater at that time there was no place for me and I started working for an electrician in the Sector of Provincial Culture.

When did you graduate?

At that time was opened Civic s Aviation School of Camagüey, and I entered in the school. Some time later I get a place on the theater group and begin to combine aviation with the performance, lighting and electricity. Designed and pieced together the lights and drove on the blackboard a number of mounts, not just theater for adults. Then I had the opportunity to go to China to train in the Soviet MIG 15, but it was already delivered to the body and soul to the theater.

Camagüey Drama Group become professional in 1961 and our venue we made about 9 plays

Many weekends the presentations at the puppet theater coincide with presentations with the children theater and the drama group. Can you imagine the change of lights? I remember that in his early years as a dramatic set of Camaguey, professionalized, traveled giving functions to virtually every village and farm cooperatives created by the Revolution: Also remember that in the mid-60s working with a group of fellow dramatic and child in a children’s program, he wrote of Raúl González Cascorro, this was recorded at Chain Agramante when the street was located in Avellaneda, was performed on a weekly and then to the twelve o’clock, when finalized programming the station, and thus not cobrábamos salary. The recorder was Benito Gil Lacal, the sound effects and doing all I loved it. Then we were excited about it and recorded in the same way a novel, called Soy Cuba.

Later, you were part of the Drama Group. Why?

All this time of systematic  and  total work was cut short in 1969 when it raised the profile group that had a middle-class and that would leave the quality to quantity, and this is to make quick small fragmented assembly. The group breaks up and delivery in Santiago de Cuba: it gave us all a place that we went there. At the beginning of a systematic work on the station CMKC dramatized. The most significant step was the assembly with actors and director of the play the Camagüey Cuenteros, based on the technique of Wrotosky, then the staging, based on the drama of relationships, how’s work laid the Apostle Santiago Feet On Earth, where did the character of Santiago, this project undertook a tour of two months followed by all the former province the Eastern part of the country, not to return during this time to Santiago de Cuba, was the great success of the group in the 70 , changing the name  of the group set by the Drama of the East Hall Theater from Santiago. In total I worked at 7 works at this stage of my life.

When did you return to Camaguey?

In 1975 I came back to Camaguey. During my stay in Santiago in Santiago de Cuba I created Dramatic Group of Cadena Agramonte. Most of those who had gone to Santiago later,  were part of the Camaguey Drama Group for many reasons had to return. In my visits to Cadena Agramonte tuned and I was surprised that the high quality in a short time the group reached. As I had always liked the radio and knowing the crisis drama, decided to try his luck in it. I am taking the appropriate steps, but it began to expand the collection of places for me and my current wife.

I remember that Néstor Rodríguez Artola and Miriam returned almost immediately to Santiago de Cuba and incorporated as a main character in our group. Then I tell responsible among other novel or any other program.

Then talk to me fellow theater offering job immediately. And the set had no headquarters Tassende and rehearsed in a swing in Independencia Street and Parque Agramante. Then it was moved to the outskirts of Camaguey, on the road route to Central East. A place with a big but very poor condition, and this coupled with the remote provided not work. Tell us that in a short time the group would get its first new venue: Tassende. I suggest the general direction and I accept it. It was decided to mount the Bufos’s trilogy those comprising the works Medico improvised Pachencho and The Wake of Mephistopheles, as a strategy to come back to Tassende these public works. The Tassende for more than a decade was almost completely lacking in theatrical activity. In the 3 years I spent as director general, was to culture every morning and at 12 or 1 PM for the seat was tested and came back to my house about 7pm. Culture is not provided lunch and given the remoteness and economic problem, the staff what could be brought from home to eat something.

What about the promised venue?

Tassende headquarters did not appear, the alleged Villa Teatral continued to deteriorate, there were virtually no resources to mount the third play of the trilogy, and I started to feel ill health. So I decide to go back to the radio in 1984 and were lucky my wife and I, that had seats on the station. I stayed there until 1992. Manuel Villabella use to do vernacular theater with the members of the cast of radio and participating in several of these productions. Too much work doing the Galician along the brunette and the Negrito, in cabarets and nightclubs such as The Caribbean, The Volante, Camaguey Hotel and The Colonial. In the 88 recorded in Camaguey adventure Brothers. The manager offered me a role of 18 chapters: I get the script, I study, and just started recording, I have to do a character in 6 chapters, as he was vital in the adventure and that various problems can not had any actors to do in Havana.

But you are venturing into television with a total success. The years pass and the cry of LORENNNCITOOOO………….. will be remembered by children and adolescents of the nineties and reset if the TV adventure Brothers.

Andres Iznaga this character was my first foray into TV. To my surprise I appeared in the credits as a special performance. Another surprise was seeing my character in cut scenes in the presentation of the adventure.

Silence in my work … we speak, I express what I said the screenwriter and director Eduardo Macias, referring to the quality of acting Echemendía Hector and the penalty for not being able to use it more ..

In cinema you have an extensive covering twenty-one works between long, medium and short films, among them The Brigade, a woman, a man, a city, Vertical Love, Beauty of the Alhambra..

After Hermanos, was my participation in the film La Bella de la Alhambra. I was informed that Enrique Pineda Barnet was doing a casting search for the character of the Galician buffo cubano, me, and before I finish my scene was chosen for the same.

Television In addition to theater, storytelling, comedy … Five Adventures, you are participating in nine soap operas.

In 1989 Mirtha Gonzalez calls me to interpret the character in the soap opera Onesimo When water returns to Earth, which was filmed in the Cienaga de Zapata. In late 1991 I came to work in the soap opera Passion and Prejudice, also Macias and my opposite was the excellent actress Veronica Lynn, and a large number of prominent actors and actresses.

And when did you finally decide to come to the capital if you are already a winner in the theater, radio, television and film?

My daughter was studying here and ill health could not continue in the scholarship and I was in the dilemma of leaving the race or we moved us here. I had never thought about this possibility. Since 1969 I had the opportunity to come to study theater and preferred to go to Santiago de Cuba, Havana in Exchange for the worst possible time: full time special. I go to my documents to the contracting company, I accepted, but no salary guarantee. Fortunately Brothers had been transmitted in the air and Pasióny Prejuicio.

According to me I know the character of Andrew Iznaga had caused in the middle a big impression, the same was happening with Don Ramón of Pasión  and Prejuicio, I think everything would have been very different if not. Maybe my life in Havana had passed through other work, the theater, cabaret, or perhaps with more security over the radio, because the first time I went to the company Vervisky Paul gave me a character in a novel that was radial start to directing, which I could not accept because Passion and Prejudice is still recording, Being on the screen to my arrival in Havana, I had no difficulty in continuing to receive job offers on TV.

Because of the time I can not talk about all the soa operas I participated but I can mention some of them: La Huerfanas  de la  Obrapia, Entre mamparas, El Eco de las Piedras, Amigas, Violetas de agua, Si me pudieras querer, Tierra Brava…

Can you tell us about your work in the theater in the capital city?

I love the theater, but not in the current working conditions. In Havana alone, I have worked in 4 works by specific circumstances. In the late Roberto Blanco and Nelson Door, as prominent figures in theater, and Pedro Navaja The dog in the manger, after Amado del Pino, who had done his service in Camaguey, asked me to do one of two main characters in The Dirty his shoes and said he had written for me and lastly El Diario de Ana Frank.

Why such a prominent career, as his name does not appear to be among the winners of the competitions?

I must say that neither in theater, radio or TV work I have entered competitions in performance by not like the method set up a few years ago to present-very good work-personal view.

How I got the awards on my resume?

Camaguey Theater Group as the festival competition, these automatically into the contest. The mention of the Festival de la Radio, because the recordings were sent by my wife, I was in the marsh. The Caricato, because it was registered the TV play by Carlos Padrón. Should lead the recording, which had not, but this was by another actress who is up.

I understand that quality is appointed by judges to evaluate players.

This is very nice. Something I think is noteworthy: the theater was assessed in Camaguey in 1980. I was part of the court of national assessment to evaluate and went to other provinces. The court evaluated the Body Drama, I proposed the first level. The members of the national court had to ratify it, but I knew some years ago and did not know my work and decided they should see me act. To this end, a back piece in Home Theater. Well, nobody came not from this court. In 1991 he performed the second evaluation of Drama on the radio, I was into the swamp and let the recordings for the hearing, and it was then that…. I got on the radio the first level.

Besides, what makes an actor right now?

I worked and I continue to work on graduation thesis students in the ISA and the International Film School of San Antonio de los Baños. I have integrated the jury of several fan festivals. Caricato of UNEAC Award for radio and television, etc.
I have worked as a volunteer instructor at the Neighborhood Transformation Workshop, culture, community council Prince since 1996, writing and the theater group of the same child. I am the representative of the UNEAC.

MAIN AWARDS:
Distinction for National Culture
Raúl Gómez Garcia Distinction
Nicolás Guillén Distinction of UNEAC
Recognition of the Minister of Culture Abel Prieto
Prize secondary actor  in Camaguey Theater Festival
Commemorative plaque in honor of Chief General Máximo Gómez, granted  by Commander Juan Almeida
UNEAC mention performance at the Radio Festival
Elegía Camagueyana given by the University of Camaguey
Distinction Hijo Distinuido de Camaguey
Espejo de Paciencia Recognition granted in Camaguey
Gertrudis Gómez de Avellaneda plaque , given in Camaguey
Gitana Tropical Distinction given in Havana
Caricato Award, Action TV 2003
Only Recognition, La radio sentido de una Vida on the 80th anniversary of Radio Cadena Agramante, Camaguey
Award  La vida es sueño, Holguin
Hallmark  85 Aniversario de la Radio Cubana

References:

Interview by the author for the third volume of Otros Rostros que se escuchan by Letras Cubanas publishing house.

 

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