The Huge Teaching of Corina Mestre

The Huge Teaching of Corina Mestre
Fecha de publicación: 
8 June 2024
Imagen principal: 

Corina Mestre was an actress of extraordinary talent, demonstrated time and again in theater, film and television. But her first passion, confessed several times, was teaching. For her, her passion also implied commitment. She didn't know, she couldn't, she didn't want to stay with her arms crossed. She fought difficult battles with an enthusiasm that was contagious. At the National Theater School and at the Cuban Writers and Artists Assossiation she took on responsibilities based on consecration, courage, ethics and capacity. The training of new generations was her priority.

Corina Mestre did not like to give personal interviews, but in 2022, when she received the National Theater Award, she agreed to talk to this editor.

«I´m convinced that we are going to have a better world. And the better we train professionals today, the better that future will be. I may not live long enough to see it, but I have to do my part here and now.

«I always evoke the parable of the nightingale who tries to put out a big fire by carrying water in his beak. One of the forest animals tells him that this is too little water to solve the problem and the nightingale responds: I'm doing my part!

«I believe in the need for a better theater, one that thinks about others more than the satisfaction of egos. I believe in the professional who, more than the desire for recognition, strives for what he can contribute to the community, to the public. Some people tell me that it’s a utopia to think that everyone will understand that, but for me it’s enough that some, among all of them, understand it and accept it.

Corina believed in the mobilizing capacity of example.

«My first calling is that of the teaching profession, which is a vocation for justice. Because you are a teacher, more than to teach technique (which of course is important), to instill values.

«I confess to you that this vocation has caused me some pain. When I was young and strong, I didn't care. But now continuing on the path, reaching the last corner of the country trying to ensure that no talent for art is lost, hurts me a lot physically. But I can't stop, because at the same time it stimulates me, it fills me spiritually. As long as I have the strength I will do it.

«Some people say this very lightly, and that’s why I do not repeat it much: I am a woman from Martí. And with José Martí I understood that it was very necessary to go out and look for people who wanted to learn. "I am doing so and will be for good."

Many people, more than through theater, knew her and admired her for her work on television. But for her the scene was sacred.

«I always say that I honor two primary areas of creation. First poetry, and then theater. I have a lot to thank for. There are the essences of my professional practice. That unique and direct exchange with the spectator, that energy between the one who sits down to watch a show and the one who is watching it on stage, necessarily has to be stronger than what is achieved through a screen.

«It may seem harsh for me to say this, but on television there’s a certain showbiz zone, a certain cult of the person, more than the character.

«That doesn't happen in theater. In theater people connect much more with the character that you are at that moment. On stage I’m not Corina, I’m someone else. And that’s one of the main functions of theater: to create another reality. I have tons of memories in this regard, and I get goosebumps when I remember them. Well, I always get goosebumps when I talk about theater.

Her greatest excitement, however, was seeing her students doing theater.

«I can't help but weep when I see them. It's a tickle in my stomach. A jolt. It's like when you fall in love for the first time. When I see my students on stage I’m no longer the teacher: I’m the mother.

Now, when she has departed, hundreds of her disciples will guarantee her permanence.

Translated by Amilkal Labañino / CubaSí Translation Staff

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