by Sherif Awad
I was born in Rome, already many years ago, but to be honest I did risk being born in Ethiopia, Addis Ababa, where my parents were living because of my dad’s job. I spent my first 2 years right there, of course I don’t have any recollections, unfortunately. I was too little. After going back to Rome for a few years, my family and I moved to NY, both New York City and somewhere near Connecticut, for around 1,5 years. My brother who’s 5 years younger was born in Greenwich. At my 6, when back in Rome, I attended the English school until the 4th elementary class. At that point the four of us moved to Milan in the northern part of Italy and those first years had been a nightmare for me. Now I am still living basically in Milan. My parents do not belong to any artistic world, unluckily, and never really supported me, instead my grand ma’s cousin was a very famous director, actor, screenwriter, presenter called Luciano Salce, whom I asked some help with my acting career when I was 9, but my family stopped me (and him!). After some years he tragically left this world. My passion for acting started at 7, I started studying at 14 and my first movie was a short-film when I was 19 or 20. My studying and working experiences went on, including 2 intensive periods in NYC and some small roles in TV fictions and indie films in the English language. I do act in Italian but also in English. My first play on stage took place when I was 18, my first play not only acted but also co-produced took place in 2010 in American slang and, through my small company, in 2013 in my language. My latest stage work is dated June 2019, there I produced it, acted it and even directed it: The human voice by Jean Cocteau:
-I was fascinated by Lorella Cuccarini, an Italian dancer, because I used to see a tv program called Fantastico with my great aunt in Rome. Nostalgic recollections. But what I really wished since my 7 years old was acting and no there was no model to be inspired by. But now yes, there’s full of actors I admire and try to take inspiration by. Among them one over all: Meryl Streep. She is unreplaceable.
-Training, Technique, reading and observing excellent actors in movies and on stage, both Italian and English, American, French; doing doing doing. Don’t wait to be picked, pick yourself! Risk all you can (within legal-moral limits of course), try all you can to find your way. You are the only one knowing what your goal is or might be or become if it changes. This is what I tell myself. That’s why I tried other doors to enter the world of theater/cinema: I’ve become an author with a theater adaption and thanks to my cooperation with some magazines and online newspapers where I write of movies, film festivals, cinema people I interview, like Gianmarco Tognazzi whom I interviewed recently:
-I’m satisfied of the professional life I succeeded to create for myself starting and ending from/in my focus no. 1: acting. Actually all my engagements allow me to manage my time especially if needed for a job in theater and/or movies and meanwhile they also interest and entertain me, meaning I am happy of my many jobs, including civil mediation, life coaching, cooperating remotely and part-time with the communication area of a company and similar other things, except the already mentioned writing about films and plays and of course (first of all) acting and realizing plays. So said, I wish I could finally find my Moment, I wish I could act in a costume drama or a thriller movie, I wish going back to stage in an important theater with well known actors. Etc. So yes achieving stardom is still my desire IF that is required to make my passion become a recognized and paid job. :-))
-Regarding gender challenges: Of course, if I was at this point a young male actor that would help, no doubt. I also know actors are better paid than actresses in the same position, but that’s a worldly issue. Above all, there are still more significant roles, leading roles, for a he than for a she. Female roles are often dependent on the main character or other male characters, for instance they are mothers, lovers, fiancée, etc…
-Arts are almost frozen because of the COVID-19 period. Like everywhere I believe. Some people are still working in the field, regarding the film system. But who is really suffering is the actor or any other worker involved in the theater world. Live shows are missed by everyone and still denied. Let’s hope In the next future, let’s hope the vaccine will be enough and fix the situation for everyone and let’s hope the virus meanwhile killed the bad part of the whole show system, let’s hope in good values prevailing.
-Casting is not very useful, to be honest. I don’t want to judge for free. I just wonder if there’s a way to make that business work in a better way for a high number of talents who struggle every day to make it.
-By using the technique I know, reading, analysing, learning by heart, imagining the scene, having my detailed idea of the character and the story, trying to understand the author need and the specific request regarding my casting, etc. I do my best and I do it seriously. Also finding a supporting player.
-I am professional, serious about attitude and engagement, I believe I’m characterized by passion and determination, I hope and believe I am interested in the whole project not only my part, I am a listener and I am fully convinced of the importance and beauty of working together, teamworking. In my life I am direct and never lie: acting is saying the truth, not mine but the character’s, and that comes from a high empathy toward and understanding of him/her and his/her goal. Let’s stop here.
-As I wrote up here, I write about films/plays and film festivals and I interview people from the film industry, I realized some of the plays I acted through a small company I founded with a colleague in 2013, the first play we put on was Closer by Patrick Marber; I am also a civil mediator, I was a life coaching using what I learned both in acting and in the family mediation causes and finally I cooperate remotely part-time with the communication area of a company. I take care of another few things.
-As I said, and I say to myself, just this: PICK YOURSELF, don’t wait to be picked! DO DO DO! Never stop. Find other ways, if the classical one, if what everyone does for your same goal, is neither enough nor working for you. Plus, you never know which doors will open for you and what other values and abilities you have and will be recognized for. The only thing you are to avoid is staying still and going blue because of general facts or bad results, and pls deny any negativity. You are you.
-I try and make it clear: my professional life is also my passion and heart. I don’t want my satisfaction and happiness to depend on other people lives and decisions, on the contrary I wish they too had a life that works well: two people together will be in a good balance if they count one on the other but do not depending one from the other, if they are adults who esteem themselves and the partner, if the love in between them is real and solid and not simply exposed in some social network in order to compensate what’s missing with a formal fake declaration of joy which matters to no one. Talking of myself only, well I built my life in a way that my time is mostly managed by me, which is great! When I used to work in a company I had to respect the office hours and entering/exit times. I am so glad I changed, many years ago, and made it (it was not easy changing my daily life all of a sudden).
-The future all depends on the COVID-19 situation and on the Theater one particularly. But I want to have faith. Besides, I’m writing a book, as I said, about cinema, specifically about some movies, both Italian and foreign, that were shot in my country, Italy. The editor is quite important. I’m loving this project.