Monday, October 18, 2010
Manny Interviews René Pedraza del Prado
(para el blog Gaspar, El Lugareño)
When I finally met René Pedraza del Prado in person, I felt like we were family, and simply had not seen each other for a while. I felt comfortable around his gigantic smile, and bearhugs. René came to Miami to participate in the event honoring his mother, cuban poet Pura del Prado. It was a very important night for both of us. René seemed like a child dressed up in adult clothes, for his playfulness is right at his fingertips. At the end of the night, I was left wanting to know more of him, so I asked him to answer the questionnaire.
Here´s a few more pieces of the puzzle...
What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
- Politicians and political extremists of any stripe. I firmly believe that politicians are entirely to blame for the never improving state of our world. Politics is no longer the "art" of the possible, but rather, a disgusting and vulgar machine whose sole purpose is to keep humanity ignorant, enslaved and locked in a state of perpetual war and division. This is how they annihilate progress and hope for humanity and all for the singular ambition of satiating their endless hunger for power and money, whilst they traffic in lies and manipulation destroying all that is truly heroic, noble and transcendent in life in the process. It's why I have stopped watching the "news" or reading the opinion pages of any newspaper.
What is your idea of happiness?
- Being at sea, in the middle of the ocean, gliding in a watery heaven at midnight, gazing up at the vast Milky Way, uninterrupted by the artificial light of cities as my eyes catch all those amazing falling stars as I endless try to find Asteroid B-612, where I am told a rose lives with four useless thorns on a small planet with two volcanoes, one active, one extinct.
Who are your favorite characters in history?
- The Pink Panther and Daffy Duck. Because laughter is the richest possession on Earth and they both amuse me no end.
The quality you most admire in a man?
- His ability to express tenderness and vulnerability without losing his masculinity.
The quality you most admire in a woman?
- Her ability to express "cojones" without losing her femininity or grace.
Your most marked characteristic?
- My wit
What do you most value in your friends?
- A fierce loyalty and fealty. It is what I give to my treasured intimates in return as well.
How would you like to die?
- Embracing my Oscar for Best Anything.
What is your present state of mind?
- Wonder, awe and wanderlust. Pretty much my life condition always.
What is your motto?
- I am what I am, seek not to alter me
René Rokk né René Pedraza del Prado is the son of Pura del Prado one of Cuba’s most illustrious poet laureates. He is a writer, journalist, theatre critic, screenwriter, painter, poet, teacher and actor. In other words a man to match his name: A Renaissance Man. René has worn more hats than those alone.
René Pedraza del Prado is descended on his mother’s side, from the Armand family theatre troupe, who performed throughout France and Spain at the end of the 19th century. His family moved to Los Angeles in 1971 where he acted in various productions at local children’s theater groups. Upon his return to Miami, Florida, answering his ongoing passion for theater and film he majored in Acting at the New World Center for The Arts, under the inspired direction of his professor, Teresa Maria Rojas whose primary focus was Stanislavsky’s "method approach to acting".
René’s first feature film appearance came in Chuck Norris’ Invasion U.S.A. (1985), which led to various ongoing appearances in episodic television of the 1980’s: Miami Vice, Wiseguy, among others.
Working under the direction of Tony Richardson, alongside Jessica Lange and Tommy Lee Jones in 1994’s Bluesky was a watershed experience.
René has performed at the Potomac Theater Co. in Potomac, Maryland (a suburb of Washington, D.C. where he has lived the last fourteen years) most notably as Elyot in Noel Coward ’s Private Lives and also as Tom in their annual original playwright’s festival in a two-character one act, As Is.
René has worked as an actor in the following recent independent films: The Filchaks Take a Gamble (2008), Leap of Faith (2010) and Blinded (2010).
René’s published work includes a translation of Pura ’s poem, La Isla – (The Island), included in Oscar and Lori Hijuelos’ anthology of Cuba’s major poetic voices published by Simon & Schuster in 2006 under the name: Burnt Sugar.
An essay about his childhood experiences as a first- generation American born of Cuban exiles: “Oh, Beautiful” was included in the book “VOICES: In The First Person” Simon and Schuster (2008).
René also composed an essay of memories and vignette’s: “Born of the Tree of Poetry” included in the prologue to La Fronda y El Mar – (The Palm Frond and The Sea), an authoritative anthology of the work of his mother published in Cuba 2010 by Letras Cubanas.
Photo by Rodrigo Dorfman