In Ribadavia, her “adopted homeland”, the same place that saw her born as an actress, Rosa Álvarez will receive the 2023 Galician Academy of Theater award next July 21, which was granted to her after the board meeting of the Galician Academy of Theater at Pazo de Mariñán last May. This award distinguishes her “long career, always in search of artistic excellence, and her commitment to the fight for the dignity of the theater profession, namely for the visibility and promotion of the role of women in Galician theater”.
-What does this award given to you by the Galician Theater Academy mean to you?
– This is an award given to me for my fight for the theatre, for my work to make women visible in the theatre, which is why I have always fought so much. I have the honor of being a co-founder of all the associations in Galicia, because I thought that only in this way could things move forward. As an adult, I am also very proud to have co-founded the first women’s company in Galicia – the Teatro do Malbarate company, together with Mabel Rivera and Marisa Soto – and I am very excited about that. I’m no longer old enough to be modest, and I’m excited for both things: for my professional career and also for my fight for what I love so much called theater.
-And how do you see the current situation of women within the Galician theater fabric?
-The other day I went to a theater meeting in Mariñán to catch up and see how things were going. At first I was devastated, because the truth is that the theater is shaking, but then I was very encouraged because the Theater Academy has a plan to take the bull by the horns, as they say. It’s a fantastic plan, but it’s going to take a lot of work, but you know that I, even though I retired as an actress last year, I didn’t retire from the fight. I am 72 years old and I remember all my life fighting to achieve better conditions for the theater and there is no way. I think we spend more time in our lives in offices than doing theater, which is what we want to do. As for women, it wasn’t a topic that was discussed at the meeting, but I know there are a lot of women in the theater right now, very young and they have a lot of companies, but they have a role. Do you think that if you have a function a year you can do something? I think not.
-What are the urgent matters that need to be addressed to improve the situation?
– There is one thing that I am clear about: we are a profession in which there has never been machismo, there has always been respect between actors and actresses, directors and directors. The fights now are no longer like the ones we used to do before, to demonstrate, to put on special shows, because the issue is always about money. It’s that clear. And right now it’s also about the stability of the companies. There are so many theaters in Galicia that are empty most of the time, and the companies have to be rehearsing in venues that are not suitable…
-The Galician Theater Academy says that it has always been “in search of artistic excellence”. Is that your signature as an actress?
– I am happy because everything I did I did it with great enthusiasm and willingly, working hard. I’m also an actress with a lot of character, but I’m toning it down now. I am very happy with all the shows I have done. There would only be one, which I won’t say, which gave me a lot of suffering to do; for the rest I am very happy, especially to have created Malbarate and also the Lagarta Lagarta company with my partner Ernesto Chao, where I was able to start directing as well and I was very happy with that experience.
–Could you choose between acting and directing?
-The performance. I loved directing, especially because it was a challenge for me, because I wasn’t clear if I was going to be able to do it or not and then I saw that yes, I could do it; we did three great shows, but what can I say about acting, about something you love so much, which is this profession. It’s something we don’t even do for money. We do it because it’s our life. Me, who is heartbroken right now, more than a little part is always there pulling me around the theater. My order is: theatre, film and television.
-Botao in fault?
– We are lucky to love this profession, that’s why we fight so much for it. I guess there are people who work but don’t like their profession, but for us it’s our life. Sometimes yes, of course I miss him. When I left last year I promised that I would always be in the patio. I promised and I will keep it.
-When did you discover your vocation?
-I started in Ribadavia, in the Abrente Cultural Group, then, on a crazy plan, we went to Vigo, where, with the professionalization underway, we got into Artello Ernesto [Chao] plus me That’s where our story began. But from the age of 16 or 17 he was already in amateur theatre. We were also, together with everyone from Abrente, the founders of the first Galician theater shows in Ribadavia.
– How did you discover that this was your passion?
– I don’t know. When I started doing those first amateur theater plays, I told my parents that I wanted to go to Madrid to study theater; and of course, they sent me to the room. When you went around and said you were an actress, they looked at you with a face like you were an alien.
-Do you hold a special affection for any character?
-The first character that I have the most in my heart, for which I was given a prize, was in Woyceck’s play, from the Galician Drama Center. Then I also look forward to a show we did with Artello, which was a hit in Galicia, called “Celtas sin filtro”. I love all my characters, but those two in particular marked a before and an after in my career. Also the one I made with Chano Piñeiro. I had never made a film and there I felt like an actress.
-He created a valuable legacy.
-I hope that the new ones know where they come from, from those who made the paths by breaking our backs.
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