There is a common trap that all too often ensnares those who are about to watch a play by Federico García Lorca. They walk in expecting to see the dark Andalusian home of Bernarda Alba, women with peinetas and mantillas neurotically fanning themselves with elaborate abanicos as they fight against Iberian machismo. Perhaps in the background a soft flamenco plays, Lorca ever mindful of the folk culture of the gitanos (Roma) that surrounded him. For many, this is García Lorca’s world – 1930s southern Spain and, in many aspects, it was.
With Andrés Zambrano’s production of García Lorca’s poetic comedy, “La zapatera prodigiosa” there will be neither peinetas nor mantillas. Flamenco will be traded for songs like “Júrame,” “Perdón” and “Piensa en mi,” all performed live. Premiering February 7th, “La zapatera prodigiosa” will be a sharp departure from the stereotypically romanticized world of García Lorca. Rather, Zambrano’s production will shed this nostalgic air, leaving the playwright’s message naked and unshielded from the eyes of the viewers to chew and digest.
Adding to this dynamic is a hallmark of Repertorio’s stage – the inclusion of accomplished actors from across the world. Check out just a few of the amazing actors who will be taking roles in this highly anticipated play, actors who hail from a variety of countries including Cuba, Puerto Rico, and Argentina, among others.
Zulema Clares is one of Repertorio’s most acclaimed actresses, currently in other popular shows like Cita a ciegas, El amor en los tiempos de cólera and En el tiempo de las mariposas.
Born in Cuba, Clares holds a degree in Theater Techniques and Choral Direction from Cuba’s National Arts School. One of the original co-founders of the Argos Theater of Cuba, she rapidly became one of the biggest and most acclaimed names of the Cuban stage for her broad range of works. While teaching at Cuba’s National Arts School, she made her debut as a theatrical director in 2001 with her production “Thanks Grandma,” which she also wrote. Clares’ talents are not limited to the stage, however. Her extensive film credits including leading roles in “The Nights of Constantinople,” “Three Times Two,” and “Long Distance.”
Clares is currently one of the most acclaimed actresses of the Latino stage here in the United States. Aside from winning the Best Actress Award at the 2001 Camaguey Theater Festival in Cuba, she has consecutively swept the HOLA Awards since 2009.
Gerardo Gudiño is one of Repertorio’s most recognizable faces, playing the prolific role of Don Quijote in Jorge Alí Triana’s El Quijote as well as numerous other roles in some of Repertorio’s bestselling productions.
Gudiño holds a degree in theater studies from the National University of Córdoba, Argentina as well as a Masters in Neurolinguistic Programming, having studied under several of the most prestigious and recognized acting professors in both Argentina and France. His theatrical skills are broad and include semiotics, direction, clowning, anthropological theater and dance theater. Other training includes extensive direction of productions and an intense 22 month training period at the Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute in New York.
Gudiño first arrived to Repertorio in 2000 as Assistant Director for the renowned Artistic Director of the theater, René Buch, eventually going on to become part of Repertorio’s company of actors.
Mario Mattei is a native of Puerto Rico and a graduate of the University of Puerto Rico, having studied drama there. As a student, he came into contact with director Dean Zayas, a pioneer and instrumental figure in the theatrical movement in Puerto Rico. A master of both the stage and the screen, Mattei openly prefers theater and considers it to be a demanding and challenging, though rewarding, vehicle for dramatic expression.
Mattei is a hallmark of Repertorio’s company of actors, holding roles in productions like “El Quijote” and “Crónica de una muerte anunciada,” both directed by Jorge Alí Triana, “La fiesta del chivo” and Carmen Rivera’s groundbreaking play “La gringa” which still continues to sell out theaters to this day.
Mariana Buoninconti is one of the most accomplished actresses in Repertorio’s company of actors, having started acting in Buenos Aires at the age of 15. Since then, she has studied with some of the most renowned names of the Argentine and Latino stages, including Leondro Rosati, Alicia Bruzzo, Eduardo Pardo and Elena Duarte
Having started acting at such a young age, she was part of the cast of the Narizopas Theater which performed musical comedies for children, as well as the Puppet Theatre in Buenos Aires and across the entirety of Argentina. She also performed in the musical comedy “Waku Waku” at the prestigious Metropolitan Theater in Buenos Aires, going on to tour most of the northern half of the South American country.
Her past stage credits are broad and include “The Glass Menagerie” by Tennessee Williams, “Fear and Misery in the Third Reich” by Bertolt Brech and “A View from the Bridge” by Arthur Miller. In the United States, she has been no stranger to some of the biggest productions of both the American and Hispanic-American stages, including “The Adventures of Don Quixote” in Miami, “The Wizard of Oz,” “The Imaginary Invalid,” “Positive Woman,” and “Soufflé de Rosas” in New York, among countless Repertorio productions.
Another graduate of the University of Puerto Rico, Jerry Soto is a true galán of Repertorio. Soto has had extensive artistic experience across the globe – not just in New York and Puerto Rico but also in Ecuador as parto of the Malayerba Theatre Group and in Peru as part of the Yuyachkani Theater Group. A regular in the New York Latino theater scene, he has performed in many of the theaters that make up said community, including the Teatro Círculo.
He is also a regular of the big and small screen, having participated in the mock TV news program “Noticreo” which won the 2008 Latin Emmy for Best Magazine, the film “The Argentine” by Steven Soderbergh and is also a regular host of the weekly TV show “WWE Experience.”
Edna Lee Figueroa has two decades of life on the stage under her belt, associated with some of the most recognizable stages of Latino theater, including Teatro Círculo and Boundless Theater Company. The ACE award actress is a graduate of the University of Puerto Rico, as well as having received a masters in Arts Administration from Turabo University, also in Puerto Rico.
Edna Lee currently resides in New York, but has travelled the world with her art including Puerto Rico and Bogotá, Colombia. She has built an impressive career, is a member of both SAG and HOLA, spent two years at the Burning Coal Theatre Company of North Carolina and has been credited in over 40 productions on stage, film, television and radio. She had a performing role in the film “Maldeamores” produced by Benicio Del Toro, which in turn was premiered in the TriBeCa Film Festival.
You can read more about Edna Lee at her website, http://www.ednaleefigueroa.com
*Not listed, Pietro González
“La zapatera prodigiosa” will premiere at Repertorio Español on Friday, February 7th at 8pm.
SCHEDULE, TICKETS AND INFORMATION: http://www.repertorio.org/zapatera or call 1-212-225-9999