Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Diga Olá a Nossos Membros Brasileiros e Português / Say Hello to Our Brazilian and Portuguese Members

The Hispanic Organization of Latin Actors (HOLA) serves many performers of Latino/Hispanic background. But did you know HOLA also serves Brazilian and Portuguese performers as well?

• Hispanic (adjective) - of or relating to ancient Hispania, located in present day Iberian peninsula (Spain and Portugal).
• Latin/Latino/Latina (adjective) - of or relating to people of Latin America (the Americas south of the United States of America).

Get to know some of our members of Brazilian and/or Portuguese heritage, including learning of their respective roads to the United States, what some of their challenges have been in this country and what projects they are working on currently.

Gustavo Pace
Born in Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the law school graduate auditioned for the American Musical and Dramatic Academy (AMDA), where he was accepted and recently graduated. In addition, he studied at Casa de Artes de Laranjeiras in Rio and Movement Theater Studio in New York. The actor-writer says that one of his passions is doing physical comedy. He also advises actors interested in this business to "have the drive and take risks and [to] create your own material if you can't find your type a lot. He most recently performed in his self-penned solo show Naked Brazilian (directed by Lou Liberatore) in New York at both Teatro LATEA (for The ONE Festival) and the Culture Project Theater (for the Planet Connections Festival), respectively. He is currently working on two new projects: one with award-winning writer-performer Slash Coleman and one about living with a serial killer-cum-"Hollywood producer" (somehow based on true events).

Mauricio Pita
Born in Santiago de León de Caracas, Distrito Capital, Venezuela to Portuguese parents born in Funcha, Madeira (a Portuguese archipelago located west of Morocco in northwestern Africa). Completely trilingual, he moved to the U.S.A. at the age of 17 and then graduated from Marymount Manhattan College with a Bachelor in Fine Arts degree in Acting. He opines that while "there are not a lot of opportunities for an actor of Portuguese/Brazilian heritage" [in a English- and Spanish-speaking region such as New York], he does feel that they "bring something to the table. Although we belong to a large community of Latin American people, there is still a difference between us and that makes it exciting in a way." He does admit that knowing Spanish is advantageous to expand career opportunities for the Portuguese speaker. He most recently played Puck in Shakespeare's A Midsummer's Night's Dream and will next appear on stage playing Joe Orton in the Carlos Be two-hander Noel Road 25: A Genius Like Us that will explore the British playwright's tempestuous and fatal relationship with Kenneth Halliwell.

Tom Schubert
Born in Canguçu, Rio Grande do Sul, in the southernmost region of Brazil, the actor-singer began acting when he moved to São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil, thereafter moving to New York City. He credits his being fully trilingual (English. Spanish, Portuguese) to growing up in a region of Brazil that bordered Argentina and Uruguay and interacting with many Argentinians and Uruguayans. He doesn't believe the challenges he faces as a Brazilian actor are any different than those of any other actor born in another country. He does admit that because Portuguese is spoken as an official language in only nine countries around the world (as opposed to Castilian Spanish, which is an official language in 21 countries and is the second most natively spoken language in the world next to Mandarin Chinese), it does keep Brazilians "a little isolated from the rest of the Latino community." The actor of stage and screen most recently did a national SAG-AFTRA commercial (in Spanish) for IKEA.

Mônica Steuer
Born in Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and raised in Mexico, the trilingual actor graduated from the American Academy of Dramatic Arts (AADA), receiving the Charles Jehlinger Award for Best Actress. In addition, she holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from the United States International University where she graduated magna cum laude. She has worked numerous theater companies, for which she has won numerous awards (including four HOLA Awards). In film, Monica has shared the screen with Timothy Dalton, Arnold Schwarzenegger, John Leguizamo, Harvey Keitel and most recently Edward James Olmos and Tony Plana. Her leading role in the award winning comedy Destiny Has No Favorites (directed by Álvaro Velarde), earned her the Golden Paoa Award for Best Actress at the Viña del Mar International Film Festival in Chile. On television, she has guest-starred on "Law & Order: SVU" alongside Mariska Hargitay and Christopher Meloni and was a series regular on the web series "Haute & Bothered" on www.teen.com. In Mexico, she worked on stage with such stars as Jorge Ortiz de Pinedo, Benito Castro, Paco Stanley and Guillermo Mendes. On TV, she worked for Televisa as an actor on soaps and sketch comedy shows and she was the co-host of the successful top-rated sports quiz show “Deportivisimo” alongside Gerardo Liceaga. She also worked as a model doing runway shows, print and commercials. As a very successful voiceover artist, she works in English, Spanish and Brazilian Portuguese, where she has recorded numerous commercials, industrials, audiobooks, educational tapes, as well as having done looping and dubbing for many different types of media. She is currently excited, after several years of working in English and Spanish to be making her stage debut in Portuguese for the Grupo.BR production of Nelson Rodrigues' A Serpente (The Serpent). For more information on her, click here.

Débora Balardini
Born in Curitiba, Paraná, Brazil, the actor-director-teacher-producer lived in Japan for a time before making New York City her home. She has been teaching and performing for the past twenty years in several countries such as Japan, Argentina, France, Chile, the United States and her native Brazil. She is quadrilingual (Portuguese, Spanish, English and French). She has an extensive background in ballet, jazz and tap as well as Hatha yoga. She studied various physical theater techniques (including Grotowski and Suzuki) at the Pantheatre Company in Paris, France. She has also studied at the Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Paraná in Toledo, Paraná, Brazil; the Universidade Federal do Paraná in Curitiba; and the William Esper Studio in New York. She is a workshop leader and co-founder of the Nettles Artists Collective and is a member of East 3rd Productions. She finds that with having her own company, producing her own shows and teaching workshops and offering private coaching, she doesn't face many challenges as an artist. She finds that while being Latina and not having Spanish be her first language may have posed  a challenge in the past, it just motivated her to work doubly hard to get a role. She is currently abuzz with activities with four upcoming projects. Her show Four-Legged Melancholy (ou, Melancolia em Quatro Patas), created and performed with Sandie Luna, premiered in Brazil in March and will have its NYC premiere in October. She is directing another two-person show titled Ob-Sessions. Most recently, she founded the first Brazilian theater company in New York, Grupo.BR. Their maiden production will be A Serpente (The Serpent), written by Nelson Rodrigues (and produced in commemoration of the centennial of the playwright's birth), set to open in July 2012 at Teatro LATEA. Finally, her main project is the co-production she has created with Duke York, their son Gustavo Ulysses York, whom she thinks "is her best production by far!" For more information, click here.

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