Few names are more related to theater on our island than Merche Chapí. The Valencian director was the soul of the Amateur Theater Group (GAT) for more than 40 years and also worked as an instructor for actors. Some days ago, Chapí opened the doors of his house to grant us an interview and tell us more about his artistic career.
P: How were your beginnings in the theater of Ibiza?
R: I had just done Greek tragedies at the Teatro Principal in Palma de Mallorca for six years and I started with the GAT in 1975. From that moment I organized classes for actors of the company and later, in 1981, I opened them to people who did not belong to the group. We were so successful that they offered us to tour, but we couldn't because you couldn't hire an amateur association. Actually, what mattered to me was staging plays and the public in Ibiza is the same as in Madrid or Barcelona.
P: What experience did you have with censorship in those years?
R: So we did a lot of political theater, but censorship was always more sexual than political. We once staged a comedy that had quite a few words cut out and, every time we had to say them, we took someone out with a sign that said "Censored" (laughs).
P: Where did you work before Can Ventosa?
R: The first two works were in the house of the Church, which is now the TEF. The archivist priest Juan Cardona gave it to us. Then we went through El Polvorín, L’Hospitalet, la residencia de Cas Serres y ya llegamos a Can Ventosa. Allí empezamos un club de teatro, pero no cuajó.
P: ¿Qué tipo de obras prefieres?
R: He representado alrededor de 200 y normalmente he estado más cómoda con piezas más pequeñas.
P: ¿Cuál ha sido la que te ha dejado mejor sabor?
R: Fue Bodas de sangre porque coordinamos a 35 actores para representarla. También disfruté mucho haciendo obras clásicas para gente joven porque siempre conseguíamos engancharlos.
P: Have you tried other facets of theater such as acting or writing plays??
R: The truth is that I don't like acting that much because you end up locking yourself into a single character and I need to see the whole play., how does a director. Have I ever written my own works?, but I prefer to make adaptations.
P: Did you have any technique to work with the actors?
R: Everything comes from the Stanislavski method, but I think it is not necessary to take the character home or transmit the experiences of the actor. Anyway, I have had a reputation for demanding with others and with myself, but I relaxed over time.
P: how were your lessons?
R: We had three subjects: theatrical technique, history of theater and acting. Theatrical technique was the most followed because many signed up as part of their psychological therapy and others came to overcome shyness. Instead, theater history was the least interesting.
P: Do you know how many students have passed through your classes?
R: it's impossible to know. Every year they enrolled 30 people, but there were many people who repeated, others came and went and some were only in one or two subjects.
P: Is there a student who has been successful after going through your classes?
R: Yes. They are Juanfran Becerra, who is living from the trade in Madrid and the audiovisual producer and director Enrique Villalonga.
P: Some days ago, el ayuntamiento de Ibiza te concedió la medalla de oro de la ciudad por “su trayectoria como directora de teatro, por sus valiosas contribuciones a la renovación de la escena ibicenca y por la labor llevada a cabo como profesora de teatro en la ciudad de Eivissa". ¿Cómo recibes este premio?
R: Yo me enamoré de Ibiza desde que llegué en el año 1966 y es la ciudad en la que he estado viviendo y trabajando desde entonces, así que es el premio que más deseaba. Me ha emocionado incluso más que el Ramon Llull y me parece que es lo más grande.
By Miguel Gonzalez
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Few names are more related to theater on our island than Merche Chapí. The Valencian director was the soul of the Amateur Theater Group (GAT) durante más…