The Lady Behind Alfonsina – By Zatasha Kiran

Andrea Ariel is an Argentinian theatre actress best known for her role in Alfonsina which explores the challenges of immigration and cross cultural exchange in a comic setting. Directed by Unitec lecturer Pedro Ilgenfritz, the play was a hit at the Dunedin Fringe festival in Auckland, New Zealand in 2010 where it completely sold out. Andrea also led the theatre production company in New Zealand called Lab: Theatre that produced the play Alfonsina . She’s currently working on a masters in theatre studies and is living in Spain. Andrea talks to us about her road to success and how to keep positive.


Q: We would love to hear a little about your childhood, what was it like for you growing up and who was your biggest motivator?
A: I grew up in Argentina with my parents and older brother, who I’m very close to, until I was 18. Nobody in my family was into arts in any sort of way so it was a struggle to get them to accept the idea at first. My biggest motivator was probably one of my high school teachers who introduced me to the world of acting, people like Brecht, Grotowski and others. She gave me that push I needed.

Q: When did you decide you wanted to go into acting?
A: I’ve always loved acting, for me it is a passion rather than a hobby, and ever since I can remember it’s all I wanted to do. It’s the only thing I feel I know how to do – and I love it.

Q: What has been your favourite part of acting?
A: The best thing about acting is that connection you make with the audience, the magic that’s made in that creative process has to be one of my favourite experiences.

Q: What has been your hardest obstacle in attaining success?
A: Success is a constant battle of will. I’ve had very difficult moments, like in New Zealand when my theatre company dissolved. But it’s all a big adventure, I take it in my stride.

Q: Everybody goes through times where they feel like they are ready to give up, what gives you the boost to lift your spirits?
A: There are two things that keep me going – I think to myself on one hand, if I’m not able to lift myself up and motivate myself then how can I rely on anybody else to do it? And on the other hand, it’s all about perspective, not seeing something as an end, but seeing it as a new beginning. I always remind myself to keep moving forward, there may be times when you feel stuck but you have to keep going.

Q: A famous inspirational quote that I like to go by is ” Don’t wait for opportunity. Create it.” Is there a particular inspirational quote that you live by?
A: Ghandi has a very nice saying, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” I like to reflect on this and let it guide me. Another one is something a close friend always says to me “This, too, shall pass.” That always sticks with me and it’s something I like to remind myself of often.


Q: You’ve lived in Turkey and traveled to India as well as many other places, what keeps you grounded whilst dealing with an intense lifestyle like that?
A: Being constantly honest with myself, if there’s something I don’t want to do I don’t and also if there’s something I know I should do I push myself towards that. Keeping and honest balance is what helps me stay grounded.

Q: I understand you suffered with health problems in the past, did this hinder your ability to pursue your goals in any way or do you feel this has given you extra motivation?
A: It definitely gave me the motivation to get back up and continue pursuing my dreams. It also taught me many other things, I learnt to listen to my body, when I needed a rest I took one, I learnt that it’s ok to go at my own pace.

Q: What advice would you give to people to help keep driven?
A: I would say to just remember that bad times pass and it gets better, you just have to ride it through the difficult waters a look for that silver lining.


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