"I have not finished it but my next work will be historical, about the Liberator Simón Bolívar", announces the playwright Román Chalbaud.
For this theatrical piece, the teacher points out that he has seven names in mind: “I had the subject about three years ago, but the pandemic accelerated the creative process. Of course, the character of (Francisco de Paula) Santander will not be missing (laughs) ”.
Although he does not want to reveal so much information about it, Chalbaud affirms that it will only have 18 characters and will be written in a single act.
Given this, he estimates that when he takes it to the tables it will last an hour and a half. "I am dedicated to that," he stressed.
My works are my children
When asked which of his 22 theatrical pieces he would like to see again staged, he does not hesitate to say that all of them: “Of the productions that I have seen of my works, some I liked, others I did not. Sometimes they approach what I propose or find another essence with points of view that I had not seen as an author ”.
Since his first piece, Los Adolescentes (1951), “you are always present as an individual and you take things from your experiences. A play or movie is like giving birth to a child. You don't know how it's going to turn out. And many times you are surprised by what you do. My works are my children. There are no bastards. They are all legal (laughs) ”.
Hence, of the plays he has written, “almost all have autobiographical details. One is always present. Also from each work that you put together, at the same time that you do it, you are learning from the process, even now that I am going to be 90 years old ”.
Not everything has been directing his works, he has also had to direct pieces by other authors such as García Lorca, Arthur Miller, José Ignacio Cabrujas and Isaac Chocrón. The latter two “always liked the assemblies I made of their pieces. We were on the same page ”.
Chalbaud states that all his works have a bit of rebellion and that Los angeles terribles (1967) was the one that took him the longest to write.
He does not consider himself a tyrant director: “I listen to suggestions, of course. If they are good I accept them. I am very broad and collaborative. Teamwork".
Both on stage and in the movies, he says that when he takes someone else's text or script, he puts a lot of it into it: "You put a lot of your imagination so that what you're putting together can be seen, have your personality."
The fish that smokes (1977) is the work that most people ask him to mount in Venezuela and abroad, not only on stage, but in the cinema, “but in this case I almost always say no because I have already filmed it. They always ask me for my classics. However, I am not denied that someone mount a work of mine in cinema or theater; but if I take a good look at who wants to mount it, to be able to say yes ”.
Nor is he refused to write or direct monologues: "The important thing is that I like what I write or direct."
Of course, he stressed that “more playwrights are needed. Many like Gustavo Ott and Elio Palencia, to name two recent ones, have done very worthy work, but in this millennium there is a need for a replacement generation ”.
“The training is basic, but sometimes there are people who come out very talented, who go out and do a very good job. You think these people can't do such a good job, but they do it, and we must admit it. However, you must study a lot about theater and cinema, to obtain good achievements ”, reflects this Meridian who will reach nine decades of existence on October 10.
That need to constantly learn was lived in his own flesh, when he was assistant director of the Mexican Víctor Urruchúa in the 50s: "It opened my eyes to many things and it nurtured me a lot."
Chalbaud is clear that you must “see good theater, good cinema. And dedicate oneself with love and true hunger and desire to do artistic work ”.
He does not hesitate to clarify that “my thing is not to act, although I have. My thing is directing and writing. If I did some roles and I feel that comedy was more to me ”.