mario gonzález He is an actor, director and educator. He was born in Guatemala and, at a very young age, had a prolific self-taught career in theater and television. At the age of 25 he moved to Paris, with the excuse of studying French and returning to his land. But the passion for acting was already flowing in his veins and for a decade he was a member of the famous theater of the sununder the direction of Ariane Mnouchkine.
When he left the company, he entered the Paris Conservatoire, where he devoted himself to teaching for more than 30 years. There he had students like Juliette Binochone of many actresses who would distinguish themselves in the profession.
At the age of 80 he visited Buenos Aires and continued to transmit his knowledge with intact enthusiasm. The same frenzy that once led him to become a teacher of the remembered group El Clú de Claun, formed by Sweet Potato Barea, Hernán Gené and Gabriel Chamé Buendía, among other members. This group, in the mid-eighties, made its mark with outstanding performances at the Centro Cultural Rojas and the famous Parakultural, hotbed of innumerable artists of Buenos Aires’ underground.
This time, under the auspices of the French Embassy and the Argentine Aphasia Foundation, he will hold a seminar called From the neutral mask to the clown, on May 15 and 17, at the Colombres 229 headquarters. “I want to give something very deep and intimate to another human being who has difficulty expressing himself”, he clarifies. Furthermore, he will repeat the experience from the 22nd to the 26th with a workshop for actors and entertainment professionals.
Very prepared for the interview, he is warm, talkative and appreciates the punctuality of the reporter. He expresses himself in a Spanish that denotes, in his accent, the years spent in Europe.
-I see him enthusiastic, doesn’t age matter to him?
-There is no way! Every year is earned and every day is the last. Who tells me if I’ll be alive tomorrow? Nobody. Here I am still, very active. Now that I’m gone, three comedies await me as a director: fractionsShakespearean, The processby Kafka, e Antigonefrom Sophocles. Tremendous obrotas. We always rewrite the lyrics, modesty aside, with humor, in everything I do.
-Did your family encourage you to devote yourself to theater?
-NO! My father was an actor, bassist, singer and ventriloquist. He knew the difficulties of the job and wanted me to have a normal profession because we were very poor. I told him: Dad, we don’t eat well, but we are happy.
I loved it and, out of respect, I studied architecture for three and a half years. But at the same time, I ran away to see rehearsals, until the 1st National Theater Company hired me. I worked in every theater in my country until I got into television where I played a little clown who sang the same songs as him.
Is it true you used a pseudonym?
-Yes, I was Alberto Vidal, because I didn’t want my father to see me in any photos. That made me the costume specialist. Thanks to him I was able to train as a mask actor. They called me “The man with a thousand faces”, because with each work I changed my appearance. You already know; in the land of the blind, the one-eyed is king (laughs).
-And did you go to France to study the language?
-That’s right, I went for a while and came back. She had never left Guatemala. I was really boring at the Sorbonne. In that same building was the Institute of Theater Studies and I was tempted to enroll. Gradually I started integrating myself into the business in Paris. At a conference, I met two actors who were making their debut A summer night’s dream. I went to see them and was dazzled by what I saw. To give you an idea, the elves and fairies were dancers in the company of Maurice Bejart. It was to die for!
With Ariane Mnouchkine
What happened at the party after the premiere?
-A lady sat next to me, asked my name and age. When I told her 25 years old, she didn’t believe me and she wanted me to show her my passport. She told me: “I saw you and you have something different. I’m starting work on a play about clowns. If you want to come, come, otherwise I don’t care”, was Ariane Mnouchkine. I, innocent, didn’t understand the name and he had to write it to me (laughs).
Did you sense anything?
-All! If I had known who she was, I would not have been encouraged. I entered without audition. She told me something important: “If you see the exercises we are doing and you understand them, do them. If you know what to say, you speak, otherwise you shut up. You leave when you want or I take you out when I want,” that’s how it all started. She was very strict. with the company we did The clowns, The kitchen, 1789 AND The golden age.
-Besides talent and training, what should an artist have?
-Passion, perseverance, tenacity, humor and, above all, a lot of humility.
Charles Hurd is an entertainment journalist for News Rebeat. He brings a fresh and engaging voice to the world of pop culture, covering the latest developments in film, television, music, and more.