Adriana Ozores

A Very Classic Rebel

07/03/2019 · By Fruela Zubizarreta
adriana ozores almagro
Adriana Ozores, a 60-year-old woman in her prime. © Diego Martínez

If there is one prestigious award in Spanish theatre, it’s the Almagro International Classical Theatre Festival’s 'Corral de Comedias'. The upcoming winner, Adriana Ozores, is thankful and over the moon. For the heiress of the great clan of Spanish comedians, the eighties and nineties were years of growth and successes with the National Company of Classical Theatre. Today, at 60 and with a portfolio including a large number of films and TV series, she talks to us about talent and dedication.

Adriana Ozores (Madrid, 1959) is always working. This fall, the actress will start in Invisibles, by Gracia Querejeta, but before that she’ll have to climb on the Almagro stage to receive her Corral de Comedias Award. The actress is happy and radiant.

What does this award mean to you?
It’s as if a bolt of lightning went right through me and left me overwhelmed by a stream of very fond memories. My years doing classical theatre was one of the most important episodes in my life. They were many years – I spent nine in Almagro, imagine that. And for each festival we’d do a play, sometimes even two. It was an exceptional period, dedicating every day, every hour, every second to theatre. We even planned our holidays around it. We had a fixed salary and we worked full-time. It was total commitment.

What did you learn in the National Classical Theatre Company?
A lot. It was the best possible school, with the most open spirit and international outlook. We were very pro-European, and what we were doing was not small or provincial – we made culture with capital letters and you could perceive it in everything: the assemblies, the ambition that each of us put in every project, the atmosphere ...

What does Adolfo Marsillach mean to you?
Adolfo was very ambitious. He wanted to give shape to great products, but also to bring about a radical change in the concept of classical theatre in this country. He taught us to work the characters with the depth and qualities that each one needed and, above all, to recite in verse with mastery. And believe me, that’s the hardest thing there is: you’re reciting verse five, but you don’t understand anything until verse ten. It took hours and hours of study to fully understand the psychology of the characters.

Marsillach had a reputation for being tough ...
Yes, he was, but he loved and respected me a lot. We used to have lengthy conversations that turned out crucial for me. I remember we were rehearsing Fuenteovejuna, and I was pregnant without knowing it. It was a very physical representation in which I had to throw myself to the ground and jump from two meters high – something almost acrobatic. When I found out I was pregnant, I spoke to Adolfo and I was a bit scared because, of course, I had to tell him I would be going away for a long time. But it was wonderful because, with a smile, he told me: “First of all, have your son, we’ll talk later.”

When you immerse yourself in a character, where is Adriana: watching from a corner or taking a few hours off?
No, it’s a duo. Character and actor should be like a marriage or, rather, like twin siblings. The ideal is to let yourself be flooded by the character, but you as a person can’t disappear. I have to contribute so many things to the character, there’s no other way; I give it my body, my thoughts, my emotions, my way of understanding life ... It’s a two-way street.

You belong to one of the greatest clans of comedians in Spain. Did you turn towards classical theatre because you needed to find your own way, your own voice?
Absolutely, it was a part of my DNA that needed to be vindicated. For some reason, out of everyone in my family, it was up to me to do so. I looked for it, I followed it and I fought for it. But yes, that’s how it was, I did the opposite of what everyone expected from me.

What were these family encounters in the Ozores’ house like?
Unfortunately I only enjoyed my father’s presence for a short period [he passed away when Adriana was 9], but my uncles were hilarious; especially Antonio, who was as funny at home as he was on stage. The overall memory I have of everyone is the constant, enormous creativity: they were taking pictures all day, painting, creating and recording stories on cassette tapes. Everybody was just creating all day, every day. It was impossible to get bored!

Theatre is much more difficult than any other discipline, mainly because you become extremely vulnerable – you expose yourself to the maximum

You performed in over 40 films, about 15 TV series, and countless plays. Where do you feel most at ease?
Theatre is much more difficult than any other discipline, mainly because you become extremely vulnerable – you expose yourself to the maximum. In cinema you establish an intimate relationship with the camera, it’s something much more private. I have to say I don’t agree with whoever says that if you don’t do theatre, you’re not a good actor – that’s silly. But theatre is a great school, no doubt.

What do you think of the new generations of actors?
On the one hand, I see some people who seem somewhat unfocused, and on the other, some who are very committed. People who take things very seriously, who are totally dedicated and who love this job, which can be very hard and ungrateful. The media only show the tip of the iceberg, because this work demands a high personal commitment.

Your versatility as an actress is impressive. How have you managed to never be typecast?
Funnily enough, just now, when I was posing for your photos, I thought I must be good at this whole acting thing (laughs), because in each photo, and you have taken a lot, I did a different posture. I’m easily bored, so I’m always inventing something different.

Had you not been an actress, what would you have dedicated yourself to?
Many things. With all the creativity of my ancestors as baggage, I suppose I could have chosen many different paths. Painting fascinates me, all visual arts intrigue me greatly. As an actress, I’ve also been teaching interpretation for a few years to help people who need to know themselves better.

This award comes to you at a very round and very beautiful age: 60. How do you feel about the life you’ve lived?
I haven’t had the time to take stock yet. So many beautiful things are happening to me at the same time that I haven’t been able to stop to think about my 60s. But it’s true that right now is a period of important changes in my life, on many levels. What I do know is that, at 60, one hasn’t really overcome anything, until one day you realise that you possess better tools, which help you face the complicated things of life with a lot more serenity. And that, why kid ourselves, is a great relief.

And what are you going to do to say thank you?
Oh God, you’re right! I’ll have to prepare something. This award has been like a perfume from the past that has come back to shroud me completely. Most of all, I have to find the exact words to give thanks for those ten years of such wonderful emotions.

What is talent for you?
Talent is something which you receive and you don’t really know why. And, like everything, the more you cultivate it, the better. Talent is something mysterious and wonderful.