Every year, the dead have been commemorated in Portland’s longest-running Día de los muertos celebration. This year's production is called Raíz, which means "root" in Spanish, and this play will go to the root of the holiday, the root of humanity, the root of life as a cabal of Aztec gods, having fallen out of favor in the modern world, seek to revive their relevance by reuniting a young clown with his departed partner, Augustina. Are we but dreaming and awake only when we die? Through music, dance and movement, we explore that thin veil that separates our world from the realm of our indigenous ancestors.
In this article, marketing assistant Stefanus Gunawan brings the microphone to director Arturo Martinini to get a closer look into his passion, art, experience. Arturo has always been in the cinema and theater community, he is excited about presenting his first U.S. play. He hopes everyone follows their dream as he has.
Raíz runs October 18 through November 11, 2012 at the Milagro Theatre (525 SE Stark St., Portland). Performances are Thursdays at 7:30 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., and Sunday afternoons at 2 p.m. Tickets begin at $15 for the preview (first Thursday performance) and may be purchased online at www.milagro.org (see link in right-hand sidebar); by calling 503-236-7253 or by visiting the theatre offices at 425 SE Sixth Ave., weekdays 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m.
* * *
Arturo, can you tell us how your directing career began?
Since I can recall, I have had the passion for cinema and theater. I was introduced to the stage as a child, by my parents, who are both classical musicians. I was sixteen years old when I had the wonderful opportunity to collaborate as assistant director for Daniele Nuccetelli, my first theater teacher, an Italian actor and director who had trained in Moscow under the Stanislavski method.
I read that this is your first time working in the U.S. Congratulations. How different and similar has it been working in the U.S. compared to Italy?
Among artists there and here, I have been able to find working situations in which the participants carry a true quality of intention and determination, so any other distinctions aren't relevant.
When you direct a play, what is it that you look for in terms of creativity, essence, and overall feeling for the audience?
It is my intention to restore a cosmology of the mis-en-scene*, in which symbols and gestures can be integrated into the narrative line. In my case, this always begins from the consideration of the space, in order to expand the creative process into the realm of our public. We want to allow the experience to be fully shared, so that there is a unifying sense between the audience and the stage.
*Mise-en-scène (French "placing on stage") is an expression used to describe the design aspects of a theatre or film production, which essentially means "visual theme" or "telling a story"—both in visually artful ways through storyboarding, cinematography and stage design, and in poetically artful ways through direction. Mise-en-scène has been called film criticism's "grand undefined term". When applied to the cinema, mise-en-scène refers to everything that appears before the camera and its arrangement—composition, sets, props, actors, costumes, and lighting. Mise-en-scène also includes the positioning and movement of actors on the set, which is called blocking. These are all the areas overseen by the director, and thus, in French film credits, the director's title is metteur en scène, "placer on scene." — Bordwell, David and Thompson, Kristin. " Film Art: An Introduction year." (Wikipedia)What kind of style would you say that you have?
I feel it is too early for me to speak about style. I don't have an established career that allows me to say “my style is...,” but I have a direction that I'm very determined to stick with; it is to always find a way to incorporate the audience in the reality of the play.
Who has been your influence in your acting and your directing career?
In terms of acting, primarily the work of Carmelo Bene and Pina Bausch. In directing, I currently draw strongly on the influences of Antonin Artaud and Pier Paolo Pasolini.