[PHOTO BY Michael Wharley]
Actress Victoria Freire
Hi Victoria, you have been really busy lately with a new project, which is a play. Tell us about that and also a little background on how you became an actress:
When did you decide you wanted to get into acting?
Well, acting is something I have always enjoyed since my childhood. I started drama classes at school.
It was when I finished high school that I decided to take up acting professionally. However, I studied Theatre at the same time as my university degree. I graduated in History while studying Acting in Madrid, where I moved from my home city, in south eastern Spain. Evidently, there are more opportunities in the capital in theatre, with producers and auditions. Step by step, I made my way into the professional world.
Who would you say are some of the best actors of today?
I really admire actors like Michael Fassbender, Al Pacino, Javier Bardem, Natalie Portman and Charlize Theron.
They are actors who work from real feelings in the depths of themselves, who are entirely dedicated to their work and hide nothing. They give it their everything. They are monsters of performance.
How do you prepare when getting into a new character?
Depending on the type of character, I work on it one way or another. When it is a real person, I study the circumstances of their life, biography, historical context, their fears, traumas, experiences, needs and childhood. I believe you need to have a great knowledge of them to be able to put yourself in their shoes, and identify with them and completely understand them so as to make them part of you. The research of a fictitious character requires that same dedication, of course, but all based on events which never occurred and demand a higher level of creativity because of existing in the realm of fiction. In both cases, it is fundamental to work together with the director and the team of the film or play to create a character which best suits the context of the script and film or play.
Who came up with the idea for your new play?
I had been thinking for quite some time about doing a show about Camille Claudel. I saw an exhibition about her which caught my attention and I became fascinated in her work. Afterwards, I started to investigate about her and her life.
She was a tormented and misunderstood artist who lived at an extremely complex time for a woman, more so a female artist, at the end of the Nineteenth Century. When I came back to New York, I discussed the project with Susan Batson and she was excited about the idea. I was over the moon because working with her is a privilege and I am truly grateful.
What would you like audiences to take away with them after they see this performance?
For me, Camille encapsulates a love of art and a struggle to follow that passion.
She came against the odds of a world dominated by men, sexist establishments and the barriers of the period she lived in. She died isolated in a mental institution, where her family had imprisoned her for thirty years. She never again saw the world. She died absolutely alone. She was cut off from a society as punishment for having pushed it’s limits.
Camille left nothing by the wayside. She was born a fighter. Her passion for life and art, her bravery and dedication are what inspire me about her. What I hope people who come to the show take away from it is part of that marvellous energy, that dignity and the fighting spirit which this great artist represents, as misunderstood as she was unfortunate.
Is there an idea for the next project you would like to do?
I am open to whatever arises and I have already been in conversation about various new projects.
I am going to work in some plays in Spanish here in New York with AENY (an Association of Spanish Artists
I am really keen on this project and am looking forward to working in my native language again. What is more, it means I can reconnect with the type of work I have been doing over the years in Spain.
I am also getting involved in a short film for this summer, which I am really into. However, it is not definite yet and I am committed to secrecy.
Do you prefer being on screen, on stage or both?
The type of work we do in the theatre and in front of the camera are clearly different. Still, I enjoy both.
I love the theatre, the contact with the audience and the energy which you cannot get at the cinema, where the process is more tedious with repeated takes and where you are more limited by the technical conditions.
Nonetheless, it is true that the camera gives you an intimacy which I have always been able to connect with well. It allows you to give a more private performance. In both cases, the processes are different. The end product in the cinema takes a lot longer to see and you know on many occasions that it does not depend only on you, but various other factors.
When can we expect your new play to be out?
We have a première date for the beginning of September. I have a summer of intensive rehearsals before me. Yet, as I said, I am very excited and emotional about the project.
Actress Victoria Freire talks about her upcoming one woman play under the guidance of Susan Batson
[PHOTO BY Michael Wharley]