Photo by Emilio Madrid Kuser
Maite Uzal graduated from the Musical Theatre Conservatory Program at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy (NYC). Before that, she was a litigator in her native Madrid, Spain, where she appeared in productions of Les Miz (Fantine) and Martin Guerre (Bertrande). NYC credits include Hyppolitus, Death Of A Salesman and Uncle Vanya. Highlights in film include the feature, “Little Galicia” as well as the award winning short “Olvido”. She has originated the role of Semíramis at Repertorio Español, role which she has earned her a Latin ACE Award and an HOLA Award, and has collaborated with The Living Theater. Most recently she has originated the character Maite for the bilingual children’s TV show “Basura Aventura/Trash Bash” and could be seen as Golde in the 1st North American National Tour of Fiddler on the Roof directed by Bartlett Sher.
T2C: How are you dealing with home containment in NY when you were supposed to be in a Spain.? Can you also expound on your home in Spain, how your mom is doing and what it is like over there.
Maite Uzal: I miss performing tremendously and I wish I were in Spain next to my mother and closer to my family and friends. I have savings and plenty of things to keep busy with so I’m grateful for that and I don’t think I can complain. I have a lot of trouble falling asleep, I find myself in this weird state of alert that keeps me up until very late, even if I’m really tired. I talk to my mother every day, many days more than once. When we were sent home from tour my first instinct was to fly to Madrid but she was the one who reminded me that if I did that it was very likely that I wouldn’t be allowed back in the country to work when the tour resumed, and since Fiddler did have (and continues to have) solid plans to be back as soon as possible it was better that I looked out for my career first, given that she was doing perfectly okay health wise. We have been much more in touch now than we would normally, I have been overseeing her grocery shopping, sending her masks, massive batches of vitamin C and other care products. Every day I help her learn a little bit of this a song that has sort of become a hymn during these times called “Resistiré” (literally, I will resist) (Dúo Dinámico). We sing it every day over the phone.
T2C: What would you say is the difference of being in self lockdown between NY and Madrid?
Maite Uzal: The shelter in place in Madrid has been strict and the severe measures adopted have only started to be gradually lifted this past weekend, when people have been allowed to go for a walk distributed in time slots depending on their age. Before that, you couldn’t go out unless you imperatively had to go to work (for which you had to carry an authorized form filled by your employer in case the police stopped you), to do groceries or to get a prescription. The police has been stopping people and escorting them to these places to make sure they were actually abiding by these rules. Here in NY we have always been allowed to go for a walk maintaining the appropriate distances and wearing masks. The Spanish Government has handled this crisis late and poorly, improvising measures and misinforming people. It continues to do so.
T2C: What have you been able to accomplish in this time?
Maite Uzal: A more honest relationship with myself and the ones who I care about, most importantly. And honest, though I believe is beneficial in the long term, doesn’t always mean pleasant. I have finished off many things that I had once started (books, sewing projects, the classic cleaning and rearranging of the apartment). I have started to write several ideas for film that I had been lazy to tackle for the past years. I’m not a great chef but I do prefer cooking and eating at home, so that has been nice. I’ve also had the opportunity to continue to submit auditions weekly and to be a part of my dear friend Shirin Tinati’s photo project “Intimate Distancing Photo Project” (photo outdoors in this feature).
T2C: What has this time stopped you from accomplishing?
Maite Uzal: It has prevented me from working and subsequently getting paid and most importantly it doesn’t allow me to be physically present with my family and friends. We are facing some hardships with our landlord too which is something I didn’t necessarily anticipate. And of course, I’ve put on weight, given that I’m nowhere near as active as I was pre-COVID
T2C: What kind of emotions does this time bringing out of you?
Maite Uzal: Restlessness (is that an emotion?), nostalgia, sadness of course. Also immense gratitude and joy for so, so many things one takes for granted.
T2C: If you were to equate this time to a song or song cycle what would it be?
Maite Uzal: I’ve been listening to Sixto Rodriguez, “Let it Be”, “Landslide”, “The Promise” (Tracy Chapman) and “Blowin’ in the Wind” recently.
T2C: What message would you like to give the world right now?
Maite Uzal: Love! Valor! Compassion!
T2C: What is the first thing you will do when we are no longer self quarantined?
Maite Uzal: See my friends here in the city, go to Bikram Yoga Harlem to take class and immediately after that hop on the next available plane to Spain, if the travel ban has been lifted.
T2C: What are the things that are getting you through this time?
Maite Uzal: Daily conversations with friends and family, coffee, music, Tennessee Williams, patience, and sense of humor. Also the relentless work and support of my Manager Bob Blume at Step Forward Entertainment and my agents at Eris Talent and TTA (UK) who keep in touch constantly and continue to give us guidance via IG talks and manage to provide audition and exposure opportunities even in these very challenging times for the industry (please stay safe!). And Christine Ebersole, always.
T2C: What haven’t we asked you that you would like to say?
Maite Uzal: Simply but wholeheartedly thank you to all essential workers who are in first line of battle and you can never thank people who are being loving and patient with you enough. I also want to specially thank my Fiddler on the Roof family out there: I miss them and they give me something truly beautiful to look forward to come back to. To all of you, thank you and stay safe.