January 23, 2018

Mercedes Carreras, actress

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

‘We mustn’t be obsessed with crime but we should be cautious’

By Luciana Ekdesman
Herald Staff

Pergamino, Buenos Aires province, September 22, 1940
Studies: Secondary School in Carlos Paz, declamation, Spanish dances and ballet: ‘It was what girls could study in those days.’
Media: flicking through radio shows, news programmes on night TV, Film&Arts and Tinelli’s Showmatch: ‘Sometimes I talk to the jury from my seat at home.’
Social networks: Facebook

Dressed in a red wine robe, with a big smile on her face, Mercedes Carreras welcomes the Herald at the Picadilly Theatre. Her day was long; she had another interview in the afternoon and in a few hours she will turn into Estelita in Mujeres de ceniza. Her name is synonymous with cinema. The first time she shot a scene was at the age of 17, with popular actor Alberto Castillo. She has also acted in many plays in Mar del Plata. In recent years, she went backstage to write and direct. But, some weeks ago, she made her comeback onstage in Buenos Aires along with Nora Cárpena, Zulma Faiad and Silvia Montanari, directed by Roberto Antier.

Why did you decide to return to stage?

Because I was offered a chance to perform in Mujeres de ceniza, a solid play, with humour and intrigue. The proposal was very interesting, especially my character who has everything: she makes people laugh and I also have strong moments. I am very happy.

How do you get on with your colleagues, who are also well-known actresses?

Great! (laughs). We are all beyond right and wrong. We are all adults who have their personal history in our private and artistic lives. We are united because we love this project; we defend it and want to do a great job. This play allows each of us to shine. There isn’t a leading role, we are all protagonists. That is good, everything is balanced.

Two weeks ago, you received the Cóndor de Plata award for your outstanding career in national cinema. Did you expect it?

Absolutely not! I didn’t expect it. It was a nice surprise because, well, I made a career in cinema, but that’s in the past, many years ago. It touched my heart. One can live without recognition but when somebody pays you tribute, it is gratifying. It comes also at a very special moment in my life. I am back onstage and also have been doing a show at the Café de los Angelitos on Sundays for a year and a half. This experience is a big challenge because we present a different show every evening.

The Cóndor’s ceremony was very special for your family. Your daughter Victoria Carreras also won a prize as Best Supporting Actress for La puerta de Hierro, el exilio de Perón. How do you feel when she is recognized as a professional?

I was very happy because the award was well-deserved. Two years ago, Victoria faced two hard acting challenges. One was to embody Eva Perón in theatre. Analyzing her work — not as her mother but as an actress — she did a fantastic job. It is very difficult to play Eva Perón. In those days, Víctor Laplace called her to play Isabel Perón, the antagonist. It is incredible that she had the chance to do both characters. One may study a lot but not many people have the chance to play such important roles. Victoria studies a lot. I shared that moment with her. In the case of Eva, I was her coach. In the other project, I gave her a book about Isabel as a present. There isn’t much material available. I also told her about my experience because I was in Spain when Perón arrived with Isabel.

What did you tell her?

I remember that in the newspapers, as they weren’t married, it said: “Former Argentine president Juan Domingo Perón arrives with his secretary.”

Do you like today’s comedies?

I love humour. There’s not a lot of comedy on Argentine television. Guillermo Francella rules! There are humourous programmes, but comedy we have Casados con hijos — the local version of Married With Children — which is repeated and I have a lot of fun with it. Graduados perhaps… Guapas isn’t a comedy, it is something else. The team at Sony Entertainment is magical when doing comedy. If you analyze the sitcoms, they are all based on a single situation and have great dialogues. There are big teams. Julio Porter, César Tiempo, Norberto Aroldi and Abel Santacruz were great comedy writers.

Do you like to watch your previous works?

Some of them yes, and others no. Of course, aesthetics have changed; the ways of acting as well. When time goes by, you learn a lot. I watch some films with a lot of love and I have fun, but with others I say: “Oh! Why did I do that scene that way?” Styles and tastes change with the years. I also like to watch pictures of those times.

Your character in Mujeres de ceniza talks about the fear of rising crime. It is a very present topic in our society today. Was this included in the text on purpose?

The character talks about it, but it was not intentional. It was in the text, in the original play. We cannot deny that there is rising crime, just like we cannot deny other things. This show has an advantage. It is scheduled early, at 8.30pm. One mustn’t be obsessed with crime as Estelita is, but we should be cautious. You should take some money when you go out and if somebody asks for it, just hand over your bag. Perhaps, if you don’t have any money, the thieves might get angry (laughs).

Would you like to return to television?

I worked a lot on television in the times of Don Alejandro Romay, many years ago, in his marvellous Channel 9. Television isn’t the place were I could express myself the most. I did a lot in cinema and in theatre. The small screen is great because you can reach the masses easily. A single programme is a complete theatre season.

Are you open to proposals?

I am open to everything I like. In television, for example, soap operas aren’t written from the beginning. You know the plot and the first episodes. Later, the story changes according to the ratings and what the audience likes. I would like to work in short films. Soap opera is also a genre I respect a lot, but you must know how to do it.

If Marcelo Tinelli invites you to work on Showmatch, would you accept?

Why would he call me? He cannot call me — not now! Some years ago, I would have been brave enough to dance. Not now, my dear. (laughs).


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