Friday, June 3, 2016

Tío Louie Reporta: Mônica Steuer and Her "Master Class" in PROSPECT

HOLA is proud to present Tío Louie Reporta, where filmmaker and Executive Producer of Prime Latino Media, Louis Perego Moreno (also known as Tío Louie) interviews actors and multimedia-makers in the business.
In this edition, Tío Louie interviews actress Mônica Steuer, who is currently receiving rave reviews in the Boundless Theatre Company production of Prospect, currently running at the 64 East 4th Street Theater in New York.

When a theater critic says that watching Mônica Steuer’s performance on stage in the play Prospect was like watching a "master class", it’s not just me being partial to a lady who brought over an Academy Award-winning salad for an Oscar party at my house earlier this year. She’s special and after hearing much about her, I felt it when I first saw her in Raquel Almazán’s production of La Paloma Prisoner.

Yes, she was excited about getting this role. But it was what embodied the experience from when she was first contacted, auditioning, getting the role that allowed her to work with a Latina director (Elena Araoz) and then meeting the Mexican-American playwright (Octavio Solísthat inspired me to sit down with her for an interview to determine who Mônica is and what makes her shine (on stage and off).

Tío Louie: You are of German stock, born in Brazil and raised part of your life in Mexico, performing in New York City and living in New Jersey. How did all these cultural and linguistic exposures shape you into the artist you are today?

Mônica Steuer, at left, in turban,
on stage in Prospect
Mônica Steuer: It has made me expand as a human being to have lived in three different cultures. It has made me grow. I believe it has made me better equipped to be an actor. We are the sum of our experiences.

TL: Being immersed in three different cultures, how do you self-identify at this stage in life?
MS: As a citizen of life... (laughs). As a human being, I’m Latin American with an international flair. “Me siento muy latina [I feel very Latina]”. There’s Latin and there’s American. I feel Latin and American. I have lived in the U.S. for many years now. I have become more American than I would like to admit. I have incorporated this lifestyle into my being. I have incorporated the efficiency of this American lifestyle– things work. You return something that doesn’t work to a shop and they take it back with no questions asked. Yet, I am so Latin in the way I respond. I am very passionate. I am very spontaneous. I am very intense. I have not lost that aspect of who I am. I work in Portuguese, I work in Spanish. My Hispanic community is very much a part of my life here in the United States. Even though I am in the U.S., and of course, I work in English. But I have not lost my latinidad.

Clockwise from above left:
Steuer as young, middle-aged,
and older Berthe in Gardel.
Steuer in La casa
de los espíritus

TL: You are tall [she stands 5’11
”]. How does that give you an edge and how have you used this trait to your advantage as a working actor?  

MS: My height has been a double-edged sword. Sometimes it has been like, 
You’re too tall, because the guy next to you is a shorty. Bottom line is, Embrace yourself and who you are. The fact that I am tall, I am usually cast as a powerful, confident, strong, intelligent and elegant woman– especially in film where I have been cast more as that type. Theater is a different story. I don’t want to be typecast. In film, you are usually cast as a type.

In Gardel, the theatrical production about the famed Argentine tango singer of the 1920s and 1930s, I played his mother Berthe ranging [in age] from my 30s to my 70s. In La casa de los espíritus, I played a character from the age of nine to my late 40s. Theater gives you a theatrical license to play a wider range of characters and ages, as opposed to film. In film
, what you see is what you get.

TL: What was the best $0.10 worth [originally 2¢, but increased by Tío Louie for inflation] of advice you ever received that you have applied throughout your life as an actor?  

MS: It was from my father. He told me very early on, 
Everyone always talks about the know-how, but do not ever disregard the know-who. The know-who will get you in the door and the know-how will keep you there.  

Prospect is playing at the 
64 East 4th Street Theater in Manhattan until Sunday, June 5, 2016. For more information, click here.

Louis E. Perego Moreno (Tío Louie)
Founder & Executive Producer of PRIME LATINO MEDIA, the largest network of Latino multimedia-makers and actors on the East Coast that hosts the PRIME LATINO MEDIA Salón, New York metropolitan area's only network gathering in which over 60 narrative & documentary filmmakers, programmers, casting agents, TV & digital media producers and actors have been interviewed. PRIME LATINO MEDIA is happy to partner with the Hispanic Organization of Latin Actors (HOLA) on events that serve the Latino/Hispanic artistic community. An interactive content producer and educator who for the past 34 years has owned Skyline Features, a bilingual (English- and Spanish-language) multimedia and educational production company developing documentaries, television programming and advertising commercials featuring Latinos, Blacks, Women, Urban Youth and LGBT, he has produced 70 documentary shorts with 1,500 Latino and Black Youth. Producer/Director/Writer of documentary feature, Latina Confessions (2010) and airing on PBS nationally was co-producer on American Dreams Deferred (2012-2014).

Check out Louis E. Perego Moreno (Tío Louie) on Facebook (here and here), TwitterInstagramVimeo, and LinkedIn. To follow PRIME LATINO MEDIA on Facebook, Twitter, and/or Instagram, click on the links in the above paragraph.

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