December 13, 2013
Claudia Lapacó, actressTuesday, September 24, 2013
‘Insults and drums aren’t for me’
Buenos Aires, June 25, 1940
Training: While she was in high school, she studied with Hedy Crilla. Lots of independent groups such as Los los pies descalzos, El carro verde and El Nuevo teatro. Dramatic Arts Centre in Paris. She worked as extra at The Comédie-Francaise.
Hobbie: none, but she loves nature.
Newspaper: She doesn’t read any.
News programme: Mónica Gutiérrez (Ámérica Noticias) and Claudio Rígoli and Débora Plager (C5N).
An empty hall in the Multiteatro theatre. Claudia Lapacó and her co-star Claudio García Satur in Una vida mejor were seated at the stalls, laughing and joking. A pleasant environment was in the air almost two hours before the show began. The man left the room, while the lady shared her view with The Herald.
What can you tell us about Una Vida Mejor?
I am absolutely delighted to have had the opportunity to read this play by Claudio García Satur — who I knew as an actor but not as an author. I also knew the director Santiago Doria. When I read it, it really touched me, and I was determined that I wanted to do it. The adventure that began in the interior as we had no theatre available in Buenos Aires.
It is a different kind of love story...
It’s not a love story of the typical couple. It is a story of love towards the other, towards humanity. It is a story of lonely souls, that are different in many ways, but end up coming together.
Do you prefer national plays?
It’s great to be able to interpret an Argentine play that portrays us as we are. Lately, I have rejected plays with foreign names and places. Just the other day I heard Canela saying on a TV programme that there were no Argentine plays on the billboard. Well this one certainly is.
There are playwrights who insist on repeating original names even when they are not relevant in the development of the play...
Yes, it depends on the play. I think that it is a terrible mistake and that it distances the public because sometimes you can use similar names.
Would you act in a play in French?
Yes, of course because I would have to study a text. French is my mother tongue and it is maybe what I remember most. I always speak with my sister in French. My parents encouraged us to do so, and they were right because we conserved the language.
Would you do revue again?
No, at this moment in time I’m not up for that. The only time I did it was with Antonio Gasalla in 1979. Then I did coffee concert shows in which I appeared as a showgirl or in Los Circulares with Pipo Mancera where I did musical comedies, and once I had to appear in bikini and sarong, which at that time was not used much. I also worked with Olmedo in El Chupete.
Is there anybody essential in Argentine TV?
That depends on taste. The best TV shows in Argentina were never the ones with the highest ratings and they weren’t forgotten about.
Those that Alejandro Doria did, Nosotros y los miedos, Situación limite and Vulnerables. There are loads. They didn’t have the highest rating but no channel even considered for one minute taking them off the air for more popular programmes. I think it should put something on offer for everyone. Unfortunately this rating thing has got so fierce that that even journalists now fight among themselves. I don’t like that. Most popular shows are the ones I don’t watch.
What TV programmes interest you?
To avoid offending anyone, I can say that I have never seen Big Brother. I do not want to spy on unknown people’s lives, who don’t even study nor are interesting. It’s not even spying, as they know they are being watched and they are being paid for it. There are certain things I refuse to consume.
Is there a place on television for actors?
Sometimes I think that on TV they make fun of us actors. They invite us onto programmes to talk and then they don’t give us a chance to do so. It recently happened to me. I was very happy to talk about the play and they only gave me four minutes because other ladies arrived and they were much more excited by their presence than mine. I felt I was treated badly. As actors we don’t have a place on TV to talk about what we are doing.
Is society polarized?
I have never been a political activist, it’s not my thing. I have always tried to defend with dignity what I do and my lifestyle. There is nothing wrong with thinking differently. The insults and the drums aren’t for me. I think we have a democracy that is so young that a lot of people don’t realize that we all have to pull together. It is wonderful to have the opportunity to vote. If the candidate you voted wins, it’s great but you don’t have to go over the top. But if your candidate doesn’t win, you just have to get on with it and not create problems.
Is this reflected in the artist environment?
Currently, some actors are fighting among themselves. If someone isn’t on your side, he is the enemy. The great thing is that we all have opinions. The wonderful thing is to work towards accepting that we all think differently and that we all have something to contribute. It’s not the end of the world if one wins or loses, like in football when fans get killed. I hope they don’t hit me for what I am saying (laughs).
Is there a politician whom you admire?
Politicians often achieve good things. Nobody is all bad or all good. As it is said about Napoleon. He did too many good things for people to speak badly of him and too may bad things for people to speak well of him. The bad thing about supporting a political party is that if later on you change your mind, and you are entitled to do so, they criticize you for it. I’d rather stay as I am, trying to make a decent living as a person and as an actress. I really hope that our country is one day a better one.
What impression did you have of the rest of the country during the tour?
I do not know if I can talk about what I saw because I have spent very little time in each place. I can tell you that the place where poverty is most evident is in Buenos Aires because you have it in front of you, when you see people sleeping on a mattress outside the theatre. Perhaps in other places where I have been in Argentina I didn’t see it up close. I would have to go a little bit further to see the poverty. Here you see brand-new cars leaving car-parks when families are on the streets. It is very painful to see that.
What are the key aspects that a government must provide?
Education and health are very important. They are fundamental in any country. If a baby is not well- fed until 3 or 4 years of age, their brain doesn’t develop in the right way. It is very difficult for a child of seven that was raised in a shanty-town to escape from this. When I see now that there are so many people are being given subsidies to do nothing, they don’t realize how much wrong they are doing, because these people lose the sense of responsibility and the dignity that a job gives you. So those kids that have seen several generations who don’t work, how they are going to learn the values of work and respect for your job?
How do you turn this around?
(Silence) I don’t know, but that’s what I expect politicians to figure out. They are supposed to have ideas for that, like I have for acting.