Adalett Perez Pupo: Spreading Love Where It’s Most Needed

Adalett Perez Pupo

By Maya Quiroga

HAVANA TIMES — In one of Havana’s poor neighborhoods, where a bit of spiritual uplifting is most needed, puppeteer Adalett Perez Pupo (Holguin, Cuba, 1947), continues to do his missionary work. Honesty and generosity are the two qualities he’s developed since becoming devoted to this art.

El jardín de la alegria (“The Garden of Joy”) is the name of the community project he organizes at his home, located on 212th Street, between 97 and 101 Streets, in the district of Novoa, Alturas de La Lisa, Havana.

With his community project, which does not receive any kind of institutional support, he has set out to spread positive values, at a place not far from where several people passed away after ingesting a methanol mix sold to them as rum.

This is the reason the community is so grateful for the artist’s initiative, which brings joy to the hearts of children, in a neighborhood where entertainment options are few and far between.

The Adalett Community Project

El Leon y el raton (“The Lion and the Mouse”), a children’s play by Mexican artist Mireya Cueto (1922-2013) is the piece he staged most recently. Among other things, the play speaks of the importance of helping others.

“My home’s patio is the best place to work in. Community work is very important, because we have many children here who want to be puppeteers or magicians. It’s beautiful seeing such innocent children come into contact with nature.”

“I’ve been organizing this community project for seven years. I stage performances the first and last Sunday of every month. I’ve invited many groups, such as Teatro La Proa or La Compañia de Marionetas Hilos Magicos (“The Magic Strings Puppet Company”), the disciple of puppet maestros Pedro Valdes Piña and Julio Cordero tells us.

It comes as no surprise that Adalett should keep a small museum of puppets and marionettes in his only bedroom, hoping he will one day be able to put them on display at a more appropriate place.

Like a good puppeteers, he made these characters with his own hands. Some are made of plasticine, others with branches and maracas taken from a guira tree.

His inseparable adventure companion, the parrot Alegria (born in 1973), is to be found among these. Adalett affectionately refers to her as “a Cuban vedette. She’s a star like Rosita Fornes, Celina Gonzalez or Celia Cruz, a true queen of the stage.”

This 2015, Adalett celebrates 45 years of artistic work. It all began some decades ago, when he was an amateur working with the Abdala group. He then joined Ismaelillo, based in Havana’s munipality of Boyeros.

Adalett withTeresita Fernández

In his travels through Cuba and the world, this Cuban entertainer came into contact with folk musician Teresita Fernandez, who invited him to participate in the Las musas traviesas (“The Mischevious Muses”) cultural get-together she organized at Havana’s Parque Lenin.

Perez Pupo has performed in poor communities in Ecuador, Mexico, Colombia, Spain and even Guatemala, at the foot of volcanoes. For Adalett, “the best acknowledgement I get is the applause of children and the public.”

His current plans are to continue working non-stop. He is already preparing a play titled El Tesoro del Labrador (“The Miser and His Gold”), an adaptation of Aesop’s fable by maestro Julio Cordero.


4 thoughts on “Adalett Perez Pupo: Spreading Love Where It’s Most Needed

  • Not that I have seen Moses. There is a wide variety of transport – from converted trucks of various types and sizes to cars. Upon reaching the street, there is a sort of Major-Domo who asks where you want to go and instructs everybody creating the passenger loads – the drivers pay him. Obviously taking a car costs more than a place in a “bus”. I can remember a few years ago hiring a guy with a tiny Fiat – engine at the rear – for the day. He drove us to our home city and then waited all day to take us back to La Lisa. – cost 20CUC. The Fiat broke down on the Autopista, but he dug around and found another fan belt and eventually off we went. In the meantime we entertained ourselves by watching a mother hen with 5 chicks shepherding them on and off the autopista wih great traffic awareness. What we could not ascertain was how many chicks she had started with.
    I am quite serious in saying that those tourists wanting to experience Cuba proper should visit Marianoa and La Lisa to observe true Havana. The usual route out by 5th Avenue and Mirimar being quite unrepresentative. The living standards they would see are closer to those of the rest of Cuba – apart from the resorts. Much though I like our January week in Trinidad for the Semana del Cultura and the odd visit to Vinales, they are far more prosperous communities than the norm.
    We do not live anywhere near the sea (and playas) and in consequence don’t see tourists and my view is that Cuba should not be judged by Havana. The media that have been permitted to visit Cuba have largely been to Havana and that is reflected in their reports. I would love to see some of the Castro regime supporters who bleat here regularly, experience the life of the average Cuban family for 10 days. Hence the reason why I refer to “the reality” of life for Cubans.

  • Do they still use the Camelot trucks as public transportation in LaLisa? I didn’t not see them during my last two trips but I only went as far as Marianao.

  • I almost did a dissertation on photo’s whether they be children showing trauma or adults showing anxiety. I dropped out of psych but I still feel that a photo can speak volumes. I never met Adalett
    Perez Pupo but just by this item in Havana Times I would wager he is one fine specimen of a good human being. Oh, and creative as well. A gift to mankind! Thanks!!!

  • La Lisa is true Havana, not that which is shown to the tourists. It is there that the taxi particular trucks have their terminus and where Cubans visiting Havana return to get transport home to other communities in Cuba where they live.
    It is wonderful that Adelett Perez Pupo is bringing some entertainment into the lives of children there and momentarily giving them respite from their normal day to day existence.

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