What is behind a puppet?


An interview with the puppet artist Ana Maria Cucuta


When you work long while with children, sometimes one of them wants to take you home. Ana-Maria Cucuta says that several times she was the one who wanted to take them home. "They have such a way to be, they anoint my soul, and give so much to me!" Exclaims Ana-Maria.I am grateful to meet them every day. I am very grateful to do this job every day. "

She is a puppet artist at the Theater of Târgovişte since 2014. How did she discover the passion for dolls, what projects she was involved in and what it means for her to interact with the little ones find out in the following:

Since 2014 you are an actress at the Theater of Târgovişte. How would you describe the city in a few words?

I have to be honest and say it was hard for me to receive it in my soul. That's because the first two years I was very much divided between Bucharest and Targoviste, I think I did not give it time to really see it. But for some while I enjoy it: is both quiet and restless city as I need . Feeling the fresh air that comes up from the mountain, and because I love the mountain, makes me adore more.

But the theater audience (for children), how is it?

It is pure, it is naive, it is the child's soul. Like me. Because I like to think it did not disappear that "child’s play" from me. It is an audience that cannot wait to receive, thirsty of all is new and unknown. At each show I have some surprises. I think that's why I do this job.

Since when and where does the doll's passion come from?

Initially, and I'm not embarrassed to admit, I just wanted acting and that’s it. But because of my physiognomy and voice, I was directed to the doll section. The first year was pretty confusing for me. I found myself in a new place with new people, and I couldn’t find my place. But I also remember the first puppet exam, the reaction of some children (because it was an audience examination). And then, slowly, I discovered the wonder that now means the animation theater.

Does your audience react differently to the classical audience?

Yeees, a great yes. Children are uncensored, unalterable. What they feel and what they think do not pass through the filter, they just manifest. And that's why I love them. They do not seek confirmations or be accepted by others, most enjoy the present and show you this. It often happens that at the beginning of the show to be agitation and noise (they are glad that they’ve come and also anxious), but as I make them partners in my world they are turning. And I think this is about theater, catharsis (purifying the spirit through art by intense participation in the artistic phenomenon) - that's what the little ones do. They live intensely every experience and take part in everything that happens in front of them.

How much do children attach to a play character?

There is no child who does not indulge characters known for an hour in the limelight. And this is not by accident, the theater, the light, the music, the text, and especially the puppets, are present for them, and they make everything more important and more authentic. And they find themselves in the characters they see, recognize people in their lives, and sometimes, if not often, these characters become heroes for them, models of life.

The pass from the puppets handling to the one-woman show - a challenge?

Besides handling puppets, Ana-Maria has started a soul project, a difficult and perhaps provocative project: the show WHY ME (one-woman show), adaptation after the novel-poem "Why boils the baby in the polenta" by Aglaja Veteranyi.

Why ... you? Why this show?

The "Why boils the baby in the polenta” text came into my hands at wrong time when I did not know what I wanted and what I could do. In 2009 I was student at master, I was preparing for the dissertation and it came to me. I read, I fell in love and, little by little, I started composing what was going to be today the show "Why me". Random? I don’t think so.

What is the story about?

The story is of her, Aglaja. Walk through the world, abandoned, exploited. She goes with the circus family through the world and has very hard moments for a child. A hard-to-digest text, but necessary, I think, because life is not just pink, and I want to see reality as it is. Because Aglaja had a brilliant mind and a child's soul, she managed to turn the whole drama into a poem. One that seems to be easier to assimilate and sometimes you do not realize it was bitter. It surprises you and envelops you. The other characters, being puppets, make the story even more enjoyable.

How was your show received by the public?

It is a very good show for adolescents, opens the mind and soul of those who want to know what's beyond the flesh and bone. Those who came to see him confessed a little of what they felt. We had open talks with those who chose to stay after the show. And I was very happy to find out, that in each happened even more than I expected.

Few people imagine how hard it is to run a one-woman show. How intensive do you live in each show?

I realized it when I got to the premiere day (after 4 years), that I'm other girl from the one who started the creation process. And at each show I am different person. I bring what I have gathered to myself and I offer everything, with no trace of restraint. Because the watchman sees everything. You're like a radiograph. Transparent and empty. You can not lie or believe. For me this show is therapy. I hope it is also for those who are my partners in the process that means "Why me?".

What are you planning for the next period? Creative work never ends ...

No, it doesn’t end. The mind is in a continuous search and creation. I plan a lot, and I am glad to see that beautiful projects come to me, along beloved people. At the theater in Târgovişte I'm working on a quartet animation show, "The Dreams" - directed by Mr. M.C. Ranin. In Bucharest, as soon as possible we begin the rehearsals of a new puppet project where we see the life of a man, our authentic peasant and his simple life. It's a beautiful comedy. Unfortunately, I can’t say too much, because I don’t want to reveal too many details.

But until these premiere, Ana-Maria Cucuta can be seen in the show "Golden Apple" (a show inspired by the "Golden Apple Tree" fairytale), where our actress plays no less than ... six roles. "It was a resistance exercise. Only me and my dolls are in the scene. The little ones look at me while I play. They're with me, and they do not leave me for a moment. I love this show, "concludes Ana-Maria.

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Interview by Alexandra Damian, City Best