Gilda Mercado sat down with us at Blind Cupid to talk about her performance of Sonnet 147 for our February 12th Virtual Valentine's Fundraiser.
Tell us about yourself and your experience with Shakespeare and the Theatre?
Well, I'm an actress and also, I would say, a creator. I have loved Shakespeare since always! I've been so passionate about Shakespeare. And, actually, it was one of the reasons that I became and actress. I grew up in Mexico City and I discovered Shakespeare by reading him in class, though it was written in Spanish. Acting and reading Shakespeare in Spanish is so different than in English because there is no iambic pentameter and I think that, sometimes, the poetry is missed but the content and the amazing quality of work that Shakespeare did certainly translates, no matter what language it is in. So, this made me so passionate about Shakespeare and that is one of the main reasons I became an actress.
What else? I can dance. I can carry a tune. I can defend myself. I've produced some works. Actually, before being an actress I studied Communications and specialised in Theatre Production so I've done a few productions myself. I've also lived in many different places; Mexico City, New York, Glasgow, London and I love that style of living! Being a nomad and getting to know people from different places, different countries, languages, food- challenging myself. So...that's a few things about myself! I also paint and draw!
You're doing Sonnet 147 for our showcase. How would you describe this sonnet? What is it about and what do you enjoy about it?
I love it. It's a sonnet about hunger. Lack and desperation of something. I would say it's about being intoxicated by .... it could be love, it could be drugs, it could be anything. But at the same time you love it. You love the feeling of it being inside of you even though it's destroying you. And what I love about the sonnet is the complexity and all the ways that you can go with it. There's something bitter sweet about it. If you read the whole thing, from Sonnet 146 onwards (or even before that and after that), you'll find it's a continual story. And this is one thing I love about Shakespeare. There's so much detail in it! I was reading the sonnet over and over again and did a bit of research and there are so many theories that even the most little word can mean something! It's exciting; the idea that this little work of Shakespeare was inspired by his life and his own relationships. These are a few things I love about the sonnet. The idea of being hungry for something! Especially for love. Or a warm body.
Can you give us any spoilers or glimpses on how you intend to interpret it performance wise?
I knew that I wanted to go towards the idea of love and hunger and desperation. I don't want to tell too much about the story! It's about...you could say toxic or unrequited love! I wanted to build something more than just saying or expressing the sonnet. I wanted to build a character from it. I don't know if I succeeded but I made a whole story about this girl who works in a record store. She's a rocker girl, a badass, but sensitive at the same time. Like Billy Idol or Jeff Buckley or Led Zeppelin. Being tough but being so sensitive. Having a face of toughness, like an armour against the world. So that's a few things about my character. She's saying these words to her lover/unrequited love. That's a brief story about my character. Her name is Gloria.
What have you found challenging about performing a Sonnet? Especially over zoom.
Oh, so many challenges! I mean, there's a story within the sonnet but creating an arc and putting some imagination in. Thinking; "who would say that?" and "why would they express in that way?" I was thinking; if you think about it, especially in Shakespeare's work there is a lot of poetry but especially in a sonnet. So, why would a character, or a person, talk like that? With rhymes! So, I was trying to think who would do that and that's why I came up with someone who likes music! And is into that kind of thing.
So, that was a really big challenge. Another one for me, because I'm an actress that really feeds from her partner and not having anyone and being by yourself, saying it to screen was very difficult. Because I love connecting to a partner and feeding through that so I had to really use my imagination. And, also, I think that acting on Zoom is hard because it's not theatre and it's not film. So, I can't be as big as I would in theatre but I also can't like it is on film because there's no editing! No different types of camera! So, finding a way to be dynamic, which is needed for zoom, and finding different ways to pursue the character and the arc was hard. And also, I think over zoom we are not only actors but we are also doing our tech- mute, camera of etc. You're doing all that stuff plus managing props. We are doing EVERYTHING over zoom. So, the challenge is being connected and telling a story and being focused plus doing the technical stuff. So, that's been challenging, I won't lie. But I love a challenge! When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. So here I am!
Final question. The theme of our showcase is "love". So I'd like to know; what does love mean to you?
Such a big question, right?! There are lots of kind of love. Relationships, love for my mother, my dogs, the love and passion that I have for acting. So, for me, I think love is everything. If I don't do something that I love then there is no point in doing it. Something that I like to do with my relationship with love is to approach people, relationships, jobs with love. Just, give myself to everything I do. Even spending time with someone, even when it's so difficult to be present, especially nowadays with everything that is happening, I try to be as present as possible and give myself 100% to love. So, maybe that question will change tomorrow and I'll just talk about my dogs? Who knows!
Thank you so much Gilda Mercado! See you on the 12th!