FRANCISCO REYES is Helmut Ronen in RONENSBOURGH

 

Francisco is a graduate of Madrid’s Royal Academy of Drama (RESAD). In 2004, he moved to New York to study Film, and has lived and worked in the city since then. His US theater credits, as an actor and producer, include Spanish classic and contemporary plays such as Life is a Dream, El Quijote, Zanahorias and ¡Ay, Carmela! In 2009 he played the Commandant in the US and NYC premieres of New York Times’ Critics Pick Way To Heaven (Himmelweg), by Juan Mayorga. He has received the HOLA Award for Best Actor in 2010 and 2011. Credits in Madrid include Roberto Zucco, singer of Madrid’s 2012 Olympic Hymn, and most recently La Abducción de Luis Guzmán, by Pablo Remón. His most recent film project is Circus, also written and directed by Remón.

Tell us about what you are up to in New York, how you got here and your experience.

I arrived in 2004, with a grant to study cinema and I decided to settle down. Since then, I have been working mainly in the theatre, in classic plays and contemporary ones by Spanish playwrights. For a long time, I have also been working in Madrid, developing projects there.

How are the rehearsals going?

It is a very open play, which gives us a great deal of freedom while also making the process more difficult. The playwright often suggests what happens in the scenes, rather than giving a steadfast description of the script and plot. So, we are investigating how to interpret those suggestions.

What do you think about the play you are preparing?

I loved the script when I read it, not just as a play but as a literary work. Its structure encourages the imagination of the reader, which also happens to us as the actors.

Tell us about your character and his role in the development of the story.

He is Helmut Ronen, one of the creators of Ronensbourgh, an ideal city that the protagonists move to. Many would say that it is a dystopia rather than a utopia. My aim in the rehearsals is not to judge it, to understand what Ronensbourgh is, and why it could be appealing.

What do you think organizations like AENY offer Spanish artists in a city like New York?

The chance to produce theatre, in general, is praiseworthy. Producing it in New York and in Spanish is the icing on the cake. Therefore, I admire the work of AENY and I heartily appreciate participating in it.

Finally, what thoughts and impressions do you hope the audience will take away from the performance?

The play concerns a society in which things do not work out while offering an ‘ideal’ system. This is the perennial theme as a society: The search for balance and for perfection, despite the dark side of people getting in the way of these searches. Is it possible to finish with these dark sides?

Interview: Victoria Freire