Díaz seemed like a fascinating man. He had a very Caribbean sense of humor, and the passion with which he described the acting profession was contagious. It was very funny when he made fun of the obsession with musicals in the United States.
I asked Díaz about the changes he had made in his interpretation of Petra von Kant. He talked a lot about communication with the public, and said that for a Cuban it is difficult to be too serious. As a result, in the play the character of Marlene is much more youthful than in the movie, and Karin is also more sensual.
He also talked about how we all pretend to be something we’re not, how we lie to try to create a mask that we present to society. For that reason, Carlos Díaz thinks that the theater gives people a chance to relate to some aspect of the very human situations experienced by the characters. He said that within each man there is a woman, and within each woman there is a man, and that is why he plays with gender in his work. Somehow, it seemed to me that this idea – that we all have a shared base of emotions and human experiences, despite the mask we wear, and despite our gender – could be argued to be quite socialist.
Carlos Díaz clearly enjoys talking to people and teaching. In addition to what he had told me in the interview, he said that in Cuba there is a lot of “amor libre,” or free love – that people enjoy talking without expecting anything back, that they want to help others – but he thinks that now people are becoming more reserved, and there is more transactional love. He quoted someone who said that “el mundo está muy jodido,” or “the world is very screwed,” and he sees Petra as a warning of what will come if people forget how to love freely.
I felt like this might reflect many of my experiences talking with people in Cuba. On the one hand, many people (like Carlos, or the man at CENESEX, or my aunt’s friend), were happy to talk to us simply to share their knowledge, without expecting anything back. But, on the other hand, there were young people at the University who seemed to do the same thing – give us a tour just because they knew a lot and we wanted to learn – but they were also looking for ways to sell us things, so at the end of the day it became transactional as well.