Interview with Catalina Martín: Chilean Playwright and Actress

Interview with Catalina Martín: Chilean Playwright and Actress

The interview is part of the series, Spotlight on Chile, which features articles, interviews, and profiles of theatre makers and companies creating work in Chile today. We thank Catalina Martín for answering our questions.

Catalina Martín is a professional Chilean actress awarded with maximum distinction at Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. On 2005 won a scholarship to assist to the Conservatorio Nacional Superior de Arte Dramático de Paris, Francia (CSAD) as Stagiaire Étranger, condition given to only 4 people around the world every year.Since then she was always linked to performing arts, especially theater. Her first appearance performing was at the age of 9 on a Chilean TV show called Sabado Gigante, and her first tour was in 2002 under Adel Hakim´s direction in France, performing in important places such as Teatro d´Ivry in Paris. Dedicating most of the time to live performances, Catalina has being working in some of the most important contemporary and classical performances realized in Chile such as Las Reinas (Norman Chaurette); Querida Elena (Ludmila Rasumoskaia); Heidi Hoh ya no trabaja aquí (Renée Pollesch) and Electronic City (Falk Richter) among many others. Her TV and movie career highlights in series like Los 80, El hombre de tu vida, Don Amor and La Salamandra. In 2012 Catalina received a government´s found called FONDART to direct and perform Mi vida es mía, her first dramaturgical work. Now she stills performing and writing new material.

What is your first childhood memory of theatre?

I was 3 years old, in the house of my grandparents. After lunch I used to force my grandfather to sit and watch my show, I used a folding screen as a theater curtain. I acted and sang, and Grandpa used to fall asleep. It was his nap time. When I grew up, I realized, I used to wake him up. Poor Grandpa.

A los 3 años, en la casa de mis abuelos. Después de almuerzo obligaba a mi abuelito a sentarse a mirar mi show y yo usaba un biombo como cortina de teatro. Yo actuaba o cantaba y él se quedaba dormido, pues era hora de su siesta. Cuando crecí y me di cuenta, lo despertaba. Pobre abuelito. 

When did you know you wanted to pursue this path?

When I was 9 years old, I made a decision, and told my parents “I’m going to study theater.” I saw an ad on TV asking for children to act, dance or sing for a very famous program called “Great Saturdays.” I was shy, but I told my mom that I wanted to go and to my surprise, she took me there. I auditioned with 900 children and 20 of us were selected to act for a year at the “Children Clan” section. We made sketches of humor. We dressed as adults, and it was all very theatrical, with rehearsals and games. I fell in love with acting.

A los 9 años los decidí y le dije a mis padres “voy a estudiar teatro.” Una vez vi un anuncio en tv que pedían niños que actuaran, bailaran o cantaran para un programa muy famoso, llamado Sabados Gigantes. Yo era tímida, pero le dije a mi mamá y para mi sorpresa me llevó. Audicioné con 900 niños y quedamos 20 para actuar durante un año en la sección Clan Infantil, en que hacíamos sketch de humor. Nos vestían de adultos y todo era muy teatral, con ensayos, juegos. Me enamoré de la actuación.

If you weren’t in this profession, what would you be doing?

Journalist, lawyer, or dancer … but not classic or contemporary, I like the tropical rhythms and energy so I would audition for Daddy Yankee or Chayanne.

Periodista, abogada. O bailarina…pero no clásica ni contemporánea, porque me gustan los ritmos tropicales y energéticos, asi es que audicionaría para de Daddy Yankee o Chayanne.

Who is the person who has most influenced your work?

It’s not just a person. My whole family supports me. But actually, I owe it to my father who, despite having nothing to do with the theater and wanted me to study law, never influenced me, and he even paid my theatrical studies at the University.

No hay una sola persona. Mi familia entera me apoya. Pero en realidad, le debo a mi padre que pese a no tener nada que ver con el teatro y preferir que yo estudiara leyes, nunca me influenció y me pagó la carrera de teatro en la Universidad.

What advice would you give someone just starting out in the business?

That it is very difficult. The main problem, at least in Chile, is that neither the theater nor playwriting will give you enough money to live, even if you are good. So you have to be willing to not only work but to make a living in any possible ways. And do not get mad, just go ahead or change your career.

Que es muy difícil, que el principal problema, por lo menos en Chile, es que ni el teatro ni la dramaturgia dan dinero para vivir, aunque seas bueno. Asi es que hay que estar no sólo dispuesto a trabajar, sino a buscarse la vida de todas las maneras posibles. Y no enojarse, seguir adelante. O cambiar el rumbo.

In three words, describe the theatre scene in your city.

Fruitful, diverse, exuberant.

Fructífera, diversa, exuberante.

If money were no object, what is your dream project?

Write the 5 plays I have in mind, with the titles and all. And as an actress, I will produce and perform in play by a great playwright. I’ll pay the due royalties and hire an excellent team of artists to stage it.

Escribiría las 5 obras que tengo en mente, con título y todo. Y como actriz, una de un gran autor, pagar los derechos y contratar a un excelente equipo de artistas para ponerla en escena.

What is your greatest challenge as an artist?

Two challenges: First, make a living to meet my needs. And secondly, have the money myself or funding to do work that always brings things to the world, that the audience considers them beautiful and with content.

Dos restos: Por un lado, ganarme la vida para poder satisfacer mis necesidades. Y por otro, contar con el dinero personal o por financiamiento de hacer obras que siempre aporten al mundo, que quienes la vean las consideren bellas y con contenido.

How do your parents describe what you do to their friends?

They say I’m an actress, I write, I do my plays … and that I am doing well. They add that it is not easy.

Dicen que soy actriz, que escribo, que hago mis obras…y que me está yendo bien. Y agregan que no es fácil.

If you were to write your own epitaph, what would you say?

She fought for what is beautiful, good and true. As an actress, playwright, and director.

Luchó por lo bello, bueno y verdadero. Como actriz, dramaturga y directora.

Translated by Beariz Cabur


This post was written by the author in their personal capacity. The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not reflect the view of The Theatre Times, their staff or collaborators.

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