This section wants to be a tribute to all those things and materials that have been part of La Cubana from the start. Things have developed since, but these elements are still useful and it is important for the future Cubans to know and how to handle them.
They are not real curtains: they are cheap cloth pieces, with different colors, properly cut and folded that have been used, and still are, to transform any kind of space. Is an element, that throughout the years, from the stages at the shop windows in “Cubana’s Delikatessen” we have never stopped using them: they have been used to cover theatres, inaugurate buildings, and a long etcetera. In few words, we use them to cover those ugly spaces or the gear growing in the back stage. It is quite strange not to find a piece of curtain in our shows, pinned or stapled. Through the years the cubanos have become curtain specialists: Folded, creased, crinkled, wrinkled, straight, sewed, twigged, Venetian like, Valencian like...
We have big sacks and boxes filled exclusively by curtains in our studio, and we have them from all sizes and colors. Although some are made in cheap fabric, it seems to be lasting long, and it is always recycled. If it has a hole in it, we make it wrinkle, if there are two holes, we just fold it up, if there are three, we just go ahead and cut the curtain a little bit. We only get rid of them when they are seriously damaged.
For the neophytes we call llata to a long rectangular wooden piece, unpolished, which we use to attach the stagecraft to the ground. For La Cubana those have been indispensable elements. When we need to transform a space in the cheapest way, the best thing to do is to set up a skeleton made of llates as if it is a construction game, and we hung the curtains there. Such llates have kept us from many problems and we have built palaces with them.
Adhesive tape in many sizes or colours, four fingers wide. Commonly used for closing boxes, we have also used to substitute pins and screws to sustain structures, we used it to hemming dresses, to hide flaws, and it has even been used as an improvised plaster. Thanks to this tape, we have gained much time. La Cubana wouldn’t have been as we are without this prodigious tape.
A La Cubana’s performance without the stapler in the toolbox is the same as a car with no gasoline. The llates and the tape made the skeleton possible, but the curtains without staples are simple rags. But in La Cubana the simplest rag well stapled, it automatically becomes the highest quality curtain. In a brief: A good cuban becomes nothing without stapler in hand.
Later on we discovered the velcro, we thought that meant the end for the staples, but years have demonstrated otherwise. Now a days, velcro and staples live happily together in the toolbox and they are complement each other at some shows.
With the velcro, the new ages arrived at La Cubana. In 1989 we discovered Velcro through our stage designers Castells-Planas from Cardedeu. We couldn’t believe it, we behaved as children with brand new shoes. Was a great discovery to be able to arrive at the venue with the curtains already folded up, creased and ready to go. It was like having your meal cooked in the lunch box.