After two years without setting foot on a Miami stage, Cuban actor Albertico Pujol will join the cast of Necesito un part-time (I need a part-time), a comedy written by Edgar Cueto and directed by Lilo Vilaplana.
Fellow Cuban actress Sandra Perez will join Pujol in the Spanish-language play, which runs through Feb. 4 as part of the Circo Cabare season at the Microtheater at the Spanish Cultural Center in downtown Miami. Admission is $5.
The 57-year-old Pujol plays the role of the manager of a toothpick recycling plant who refuses a job to a cabaret performer because of her dubious morality. But the woman lures him to her world, turning him into the master of ceremonies of a cabaret show that goes against all his principles.
“The man is a victim of his own limitations. In fact, he thinks that all actors are gay,” said Pujol, who described the play as a “funny toy about misogyny and people's prejudices about certain professions.
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“I had never played such a role, so I had to try harder. But it was worth it to get to act for the first time in Microtheater, a kind of gymnasium that allows you to perfect your work during six sessions per night.” He has not performed before a live audience in Miami since the comedy Oficialmente Gay (Officially Gay).
Pujol lived in Colombia four years and came to Miami in 2015. He also appeared in Los Ponedores — The Egg Layers — a short film directed by Vilaplana that will be shown at several international film festivals, and Leyendas del Exilio — Legends of Exile — an AmericaTeVe series about exiles who fought the Castro government.
He also worked on the music for some of the Legends programs and said he feels “very comfortable” doing that. Some of his songs were recorded by Cuban singers like Issac Delgado, Mirtha Medina and Alfredito Rodriguez during the 1980s.
Pujol also has acted in sketches in AmericaTeVe's humor programs, TN3 and The Happy Hour, and exhibited his paintings as part of group shows at the Milander Center in Hialeah.
What drove him to abandon Colombia, where he was making a good living by acting, to start again from zero in Miami?
“I knew what I would have to face in Miami, but that was the price I had to pay to live in freedom with my wife and my four children,” said the actor, who worked at several jobs before becoming the regular image of an insurance company's advertisements.
Pujol left Cuba for Colombia in 2011 and worked there in 15 soap operas and 14 TV series, including El Capo, La Traicionera, Rafael Orozco El Idolo and Celia, a program in which he played the role of Rogelio Martinez, director of Cuba's famed Sonora Matancera band.
“Colombia was the place that allowed me to compare my work with the work of actors from other countries,” he said. “It was a period that prepared me to understand the rules of the capitalist game, and I don't deny that I had a good run.”
“But I knew my destiny was Miami, especially after I realized that the negotiations taking place in Cuba between the Santos government and Colombian guerrillas could change things in a short time and complicate the lives of Cubans in Colombia,” he said. “That's why I decided to leave for the United States, the country where I always wanted to live.”
Pujol, the son of famed Cuban singers Nina and Alberto Pujol, started his career on Cuban television when he was eight years old.
“I consider myself a veteran of television. That's where I learned the job, which I then polished at the National School of the Arts — where I enrolled when I realized that I didn't have to study math,” he added with a laugh.
His work in Cuba included acting as master of ceremonies for the TV program Para Bailar, the movies Los pajaros tirándole a la escopeta (1984) and Casa vieja (2010) and the TV serial Dia y Noche (1989-1992) where he played the popular role undercover policeman El Tabo.
“Cuba remains the base of everything that came later. I can't deny it. I was privileged to work with Reinaldo Miravalles, Rosita Fornes, Consuelito Vidal, Mario Balmaseda and other actors,” he said. “But the most important thing was that I received the recognition of the people, something that no everyone gets.
Pujol said he now wants to host a musical program.
If you go
What: Necesito un part-time.
Where: Microtheater at the Spanish Cultural Center, 1490 Biscayne Blvd.
When: At 8 p.m. every Thursday through Feb. 4
Info: For more information, visit www.microtheatermiami.com. Instagram: @microtheatermiami, Facebook: microtheater miami