December 10, 2013
Alejandra Radano, actress, singer, all-around performerTuesday, October 15, 2013
‘We have to change things from their very foundations’
September 10, 1968
Studies: drama, singing, dancing
Starred in: Dracula, Cats, Beauty and the Beast, Chicago, Cabaret, The Three-Penny Opera.
Highlights: directed by Alfredo Arias in Concha bonita, Relaciones tropicales, Divino amore, Tatuaje, Cabaret Brecht, Tango Broadway and Tres Tangos. Starred alongside Hanna Schygulla in the chamber opera Tango mon amour.
Currently starring in: Delirio gaucho, with régisseur-performer Fabián Luca.
Lives in: France
Last book read: Carl Jung’s Red Book
Alejandra Radano, actress-singer extraordinaire, steps in the foyer of the newly refurbished Teatro El Picadero with one thought in mind: grabbing a bite. She’s been rehearsing intensely for the second run of her musical Delirio gaucho, and has had no time for a snack. She approaches the bartender but is let down: all they can offer her is a chicken breast sandwich and mineral water. But there she is, ready to answer the Herald’s questions.
You must be running a hectic schedule — rehearsals for Delirio gaucho and your participation in the Festival Internacional de Buenos Aires...
We’re taking the play to Santiago (Chile) as part of Santiago a Mil. It’s the first time a play I do with Fabián Luca (we met on the stage of Dracula and have been working together for ten years now) is invited to this event. It’s interesting because this way the plays gain more visibility. You see, after some time, markets dry out. Like Paul Valéry used to say, you don’t finish a piece, you abandon it.
The theatre scene in Santiago has changed dramatically over the last few years, the quantity and quality has increased. What are your expectations?
I think they’re very interested in Delirio gaucho because it’s a musical, a very unconventional one. As for expectations, I just concentrate on what I have to do and that’s it.
Every time you come back to BA, which are the things and who are the people you come back to?
Well, there’s Fabián, then there’s BA’s landscape, completely different from France. I visit friends and relatives, but it’s a strange notion — coming back, I mean, because I’m finding my way in France and I have friends there and it’s difficult to leave them.
What’s your view of cultural policies at global level? Are there new paradigms?
I think there are many great changes going on, it’s a moment of transition. Certain things have changed, others are outdated. Some structures are no longer useful, certain models are obsolete, and we must learn to think differently. We have to change things from their very foundations.
What’s the message of your new show, of the songs you chose for it?
Delirio gaucho is about things like the landscape, love, loneliness, existential matters. There’s a phrase in the show which I relate to: “The mental landscape is a mental translation of the outer world.” That’s how I go about choosing the songs.
Is there an existential edge to it?
It’s like looking in from the outside, like looking into yourself, like observing things as a bystander. It’s also about machismo, the image of men with regard to women and, conversely, the image of women with regard to men. There are two ways to go about these texts, because they are, essentially, monologues written to be said by a man, but instead it’s me, and there you have a disruption. If I had to define Delirio gaucho, I would refer to a film I saw recently, Paolo Sorrentino’s La grande belleza. There’s a scene in it where a very old man, about 100 years old, says, “Do you know why I eat roots? Because roots are important.” All the songs in Delirio gaucho, I think, point in that direction, finding your roots.
If, instead of a performer, you were a big showbiz entrepreneur, would you stage a big musical, or would you prefer something smaller, a chamber-sized piece, for example?
It’s very personal. Some megashows are fantastic, but some smaller productions are great too. Take, for instance, Bob Wilson and the Berliner Ensemble doing Frank Wedekind’s Lulu, set to music by Lou Reed, as part of the Festival d’Automne à Paris. That’s the kind of show I would stage. If I had to stage a show with big ideas and big names, it would be Delirio gaucho! (Laughs). There’s a lot of interesting stuff out there, things like FIBA is bringing to Buenos Aires. FIBA is fabulous in this regard.
Which shows do you plan to see in this festival?
I would like to see the plays by Jan Fabre, like De Macht Der Theaterlijke Dwaasheden (The Power of Theatrical Madness), or Preparatio Mortis.
What is it like, working in Europe amid the economic crisis?
When you compare the current crisis in Europe with what we had to go through (in 2001) then you go, “Hey, guys, where’s the crisis?” There is a crisis, of course, but it’s global. Thing is, coming from Argentina you are accustomed to the unexpected, and when you go to Europe you see things in a different light, right? I came back in 2001 for an audition, I think, on the day the crisis broke out. I stayed for a while, then I went abroad again. It was a horrendous year.
But there must have been some form of compensation too...
Yes, paradoxically enough, it was the year we premièred the musical Canciones degeneradas. While the country was immersed in chaos, with demonstrations, pickets, pot-banging protests, we rehearsed this play, with songs from the 1930s which spoke, precisely, about the same problems. Those songs, in a way, ratified that everything was the same, that we were concerned about the same things, and that we kept on making the same mistakes. Like we were underlining Argentina’s reality through song.
If not an artist, which profession would you have chosen?
I think I would have been an architect, or I would have chosen literature, painting, something related to the visual arts, it’s something that’s always been around. These are the things I pay attention to. Or I could be a historian, I’m not really sure.
Where were you born and raised?
In Temperley, in the (southern BA) English district. I used to go to BA and to La Plata, I used to take singing lessons there. I’m a girl from the southern suburbs of Buenos Aires.
What’s the most difficult question you were ever asked?
I was once asked a question about the relation between humour and drama. I didn’t know what to say, it was something that I felt could not be explained. But, truth be told, I can’t recall a question that made me think, “Oh, this is so difficult!” I simply had no lucid answer for the person who asked the question.
What play do you dream of performing that you haven’t so far?
I like The Seven Capital Sins, it’s a cherished dream. There’s also a little opera by Leonard Bernstein, Trouble in Tahiti, because I like the writing, the story it tells, its format. Also, because I have already studied the arias, because there’re things I want to say with that material.