Actors Studio member Jeneffa Soldatic talks about her experience at the Venezuelan Art Festival NYC 2010 & 2011.
HOW WAS YOUR EXPERIENCE WORKING WITH VENEZUELAN DIRECTOR AND PLAYWRIGHT, LUPE GEHRENBECK?
Each time that I have been fortunate enough to work with Lupe Gehrenbeck, I have had the extraordinary opportunity to work with one of the best playwrights and directors. Lupe has the generosity that only great artist possess, she allows her actors to contribute and together we bring her characters alive. I am also very fortunate to that Lupe writes plays for me. Our strong working relationship has allowed for the role of Artist and Muse to fuse.
WHAT WOULD YOU SAY ABOUT GEHRENBECK’S PLAYS?
Lupe has a wonderful sensitivity to the world around her, which is reflected in all of her work. Her plays deal with our current social issues, yet she only subtlety reveals these issues by theatrical conventions and rich characterizations. Her constant reflection on the beauty and power of our need for love transcends the daily and pedestrian plays that so many lesser playwrights create. She has a flair for the illusion of theatre that is always grounded in the upmost truth of humanity. She is a marvelous story teller who has continued to, not only entertain theatre goers all over the world, but she also demands that they reflect and question their own existence, longings and actions. These are the questions that I, as her actor, must ask myself during each rehearsal, not only for the characters but also for myself.
HOW WAS NEW YORK’S PUBLIC REACTION TO THE WORK?
NYC is an exciting and brutally honest city; there is no other city in the world like it. Like Frank Sinatra says,“if you can make it there you can make it anywhere”, and of course he sang those words as he knew that the city makes no concession for bad or lesser quality work. Therefore it is every actors dream city to work in, yet your greatest fear, incase their honesty doesn’t favor you. Due to Lupe’s work to showcase my talent, the shows that we did in NYC for the Venezuelan’s in NYC Festival were extremely well received. Each evening many of the audience members continued to stay back after each show to tell us both how much the work touched them and how impressed they were by the quality of the work. And by the time I was home each evening, there would be at least one post on a social network site like twitter etc., about how much they enjoyed the show and encouraging other people/friends to see it.
HOW WAS IT WORKING IN THE VENEZUELANS IN NYC FESTIVAL?
The festival is extremely supportive to us, and our needs. As we volunteer our time and skills for the festival, I feel that the organizers understood that we have used our own funds to travel and be available to show the work as part of this invited event, and therefore did their upmost to help the work. The organizers respect and are aware of the high quality of the invited international artists.
WOULD YOU PARTICIPATE IN THE FESTIVAL AGAIN?
Yes I would. For an artist it is rewarding to work in International Festivals, as they are the grounds were the extraordinary talented international artist are invited to just work, without the stress of box office. One is just hired for their talent, an unusual event in the area of “Show business”. It also means that I get to work with the wonderful Lupe Gehrenbeck. I also love that the festival is here to promote the artistic expression of the small cultural community of Venezuelan’s in NYC. Together as a community you are allowing there to be a growth in the arts, giving a platform to not only the artistic expression of your country, but it also allows non Venezuelan’s to be included and informed of a culture that they might not be intimate with. Plus working with the festival means that I also get to work with the multi-talented Alfonso Rey, a true artist.
New York, 2012