Sep 11, 2007


A few days ago we had a very special visit in my course "Telenovelas, Culture and Society": Marisa Román.

A talented Venezuelan actress whose double role as Verónica and María Suspiro in Cosita Rica garnered her the applause and appreciation of both the press and the audience. More recently, Marisa was the protagonist of the highly successful Ciudad Bendita. A telenovela with an unusual twist: The female protagonist, Bendita Sánchez doesn't fall in love with the male protagonist until after episode 70.

In a genre with strict codes, unusual love stories like Bendita's require a particular effort from the actors. In Bendita's case, Marisa Román had to work on her character's transitions: infatuated with the antagonist, being the protagonist's friend, she begins to feel something for him, feels insecure regarding her feelings, and finally, she is absolutely sure that she loves her "Lobito", as she called the protagonist, Juan Lobo, played by Roque Valero.

I had prepared my students for a "phone conversation" with Marisa Román. Therefore, when she arrived in person to my classroom, there was immense surprise and a huge commotion. A wide smile appeared in each of my student's faces and stayed with them throughout the class.

Marisa answered with enthusiasm, honesty and warmth the thoughtful and insightful questions my students posed to her. At the same time she praised her fellow Venezuelan actors and writer Leonardo Padrón (author of both Cosita Rica and Ciudad Bendita).

Time flies when one is having fun. We all learned a great deal.

My students learned some of the things that are generally difficult to grasp by the general public:

- That it's important to distinguish between the actor and his/her characters.
- That actors are smart and sensitive human beings.
- That real actors never trust totally the work they've done, and have embarked in a self-examination and self-awareness journey.
- That a committed actor understands well that fame is only a circumstance that comes and goes. What really matters is their personal and professional growth, and the satisfaction they feel when they do their job well.

For her part, Marisa Román had an enriching experience. She was able to see up close the life of U.S. students, and received and corresponded the warmth that my students gave her with great pleasure and generosity.

I felt the immense satisfaction of seeing both my students and Marisa enjoy a unique learning experience. I also felt the pride of being able to show in the country where I live, the talent and warmth of the country where I was born.

Read more about Marisa's visit to my class

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