A PUPPETTEER CALLED ARMANDO
He has the name of a romantic heartthrob but he is a Havana minstrel through and through, a crafty jumping jack who had the privilege to have interacted with Camejo y Pepe Carril brothers, as a member of the mythic pack named Guiñol Nacional de Cuba, in the early 60`s. Later on he was witness to the foundation (1963) of Teatro Nacional de Guiñol. Armando Morales Riverón is the second active puppeteer who is bestowed with the Premio Nacional de Teatro, since its creation during the late 90`s; the first one was the Matanzas artistic director, playwright and director René Fernández, in 2007.
Once and again, his name has appeared among the nominees for this theater award in our country. Now that he has received it in 2018, I would like to mention the names of his masters of the tableau who are the masters par excellence of every puppetry fan in our island. I also recall the names of his most outstanding colleagues of those times, Xiomara Palacio and Ulises García, who filled the 20th and 21st centuries with light, until they passed away. In 2016, at the International Workshop of Puppets of Matanzas, the Distinción Honorífica Hermanos Camejo y Pepe Carril and the Premio Maestro de Juventudes awards by Asociación Hermanos Saíz were bestowed on him.
Leading characters in important plays of the Teatro Nacional de Guiñol repertoire such as La loma de Mambiala, Ubú Rey or Ibeyi Añá, acknowledge him as an excellent puppet actor, to which are added his works as a scenographic designer, of puppets or costumes along with master Camejo. Armando became an artistic director and started to write and research until he put together a theoretical corpus about the puppet theater that has already been published in Cuba and abroad. He has collaborated in mise-en-scenes of national and international groups, promoted events, authors, and his histrionic and pedagogic imprint has been acknowledged and acclaimed in different festivals overseas, where he has left the hallmark of a legitimate artist who has inherited the best of the puppet theater in our land.
The artistic interest and the creative risk have marked his professional career along with his love for teaching and a perennial bridge with the youngest members of the national tableaus. He has been running for quite a while the Teatro Nacional de Guiñol, whose foundation he was witness to more than fifty years ago in the crowded hall of the Focsa building in our capital. In that place, so full of glorious moments and compelling reference in the scene of the Cuban stage, he continues to carve out his existence. His most recent performances, either as an artistic director or as an actor, are evidence of his continuance in the infinite path of the stage. All of us who, on this land, work with a puppet in our hands applaud this national award for this unique puppeteer by the name of Armando.