Monday, February 04, 2008

Why I love being a Journalist/Writer/Actor/Model/Waiter

AOG, Madrid

T0day I started, sort of, a new job (sort of job). I am with a news agency in Spain. Sort of. They don't really know how to take me on, either as an intern, or a freelancer. Or what.

But, to me, that is secondary.

This morning I showed up at work and went to cover the Anne Frank musical. Yes, it is odd for Spain to come up with this, but then, if the British can turn Les Miserables into a musical, then I suppose the Spanish can turn Anne Frank's diary into a musical.
We arrived at the Häagen-Dazs Theater in Madrid (don't ask, I don't know), and the director, or perhaps he was the musical director, was telling off a blond actress of age unknown for being late. She politely, yet defiantly, told him that other people had been late too. So, obviously, the problem was not the actors, it was the call sheet.

The director, or stage hand, or whatever he was, mentioned that that could not be the case. The actors had been late all throughout the rehearsals. And so it went on.
A few minutes later, a local television station was interviewing the blond actress who came down from the stage outraged at the way she had been treated. As soon as the camera went on, she switched on the charm. A true professional, I thought.

We were treated to two scenes from the play.

There I was, witnessing a press conference, thinking how this might be replayed for Tele-K's immigration program, my other (unpaid) job in Madrid. The angle being that the female lead is played by 13 year old Havana-born Cuban American Isabella Castillo, who flew all the way from Miami to play the part. The general consensus was that she was very pretty. Prettier than the real Anne. But then, this was theater, and not without controversy.

There were two, in fact: One, which the journalists were trying to create, concerning the two Anne Frank foundations (Basel and Amsterdam) one of which is not (untrue as it turned out) 100% happy with the musical.

The other, a question from the AP journalist concerning the producer's claims that this was the first musical based on Anne Frank. Incorrect. According to the journalist, and The New York Times, there is at least one other, "Yours, Anne", which was produced off Broadway in 1985. Then the journalist and the producer, Señor Alvero, began to discuss the difference between a musical, and a sung play. In short, the controversy was set.

And there I was. Day one and amazed and grateful for being able to be there, then.

Later in the afternoon, we went to cover the anti FARC demonstration in Plaza Mayor. It was mostly Colombian expats living in Madrid. A few Venezuelans, who were there to offer their support for Uribe, and their distate for Chávez, the odd camera-seeking individual (who, by the way, had me beckoned so as to shoot him and his daughter, which we did), and, most surprisingly, my International Journalism professor, M.A. Bastenier. I wanted to go and say hi, but I was working. So I couldn't. And in any case, he was busy telling the crowd how his heart was Colombian.

One of the participants quoted
García Marquez, "We Colombians are born suspect, and we die guilty". How true of Colombians, unfortunately. Why do some nationalities have such negative connotations?

Half way through, they started singing a popular human rights folk song by Argentina's answer to Bob Dylan, Leon Gieco, "Solo le pido a Dios" (I only ask of God). It was very emotional.

And there I was, in the midst of it all, looking for camera angles, people to interview, story angles.

Then back to the office to edit, cut, write up the story, then go home.

And I so loved every minute of it.

Oh, yes, and I learned something new today.

There is no subway into Georgetown, in Washington D.C., because Jackie Kennedy opposed the idea. Something to do with social class and her finding public transport too low class for Georgetown.

Or so I was informed today by a work colleague who knows D.C. much better than I do.

Truth? Hearsay? Urban myth? Bad propaganda?


bhamgrad said...

Congratulations and well done!! I am so happy you are finally doing what you so love!! You are a brilliant man!

Goriaïnoff said...

Thank you for your kind support, always.