Infinite faces – the construction of the actor

Marcelo Guimarães Lima, SYMPLOKE, digital drawing, 2023
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By EDUARDO SINKEVISQUE*

Commentary on the book by Thalma Bertozzi and Roberto Cordovani

Anyone who has watched Roberto Cordovani's theater shows already knows that, in addition to acting, he writes and directs many, if not most, of his works.

During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Roberto Cordovani was interviewed by Thalma Bertozzi and they prepared the book Infinite faces – the construction of the actor, a kind of biography, and an artistic biography mixed with some advice for actors, whether beginners or seasoned.

In Roberto Cordovani's book, there are also hooks, left-wing, in which the interviewer (and editor of the final text) weaves parallels between Cordovani's artistic life and her own. That is, there is a text as a second voice, a song parallel to the main song, the song of the artist in question. I do not focus on this second voice, but it should be noted that the language that Thalma Bertozzi prints in the book is of great fluidity and clarity (stylistic quality), leaving nothing ambiguous or difficult to understand.

I appreciate a sentence that Roberto told me that his mother uttered to the President of Portugal, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, as a response if she was proud of her award-winning son.

Roberto told me that his mother replied: “yes, but always in a skirt”. The tone of speech was that of a sort of do what? A kind of resignation.

Roberto Cordovani is not always on the scene in a skirt. He did and still does several shows in which he acts giving life to the persona feminine, incredible women, strong, striking, important, like the housekeeper in to love intransitive verb (which he adapted and also directed for the theater), Greta Garbo, Eva Perón (plays he wrote and also directed) etc.

But, persona masculine as in the ice club (which he also directed) or in the most recent death in venice, who signs, in partnership with Vinícius Coimbra, the adaptation for the theatre. In this show, he plays the role of a vacationing writer who falls in love with a handsome young man. That, not to forget the villain of the six o'clock soap opera, on Rede Globo de Televisão, Sebastião Quirino.

Not always in a skirt, Roberto shows in his book the versatility he lives on stage and off as a producer, author, director, etc.

It is also evident in Infinite faces – the construction of the actor that observation and self-observation are more than productive attitudes for Cordovani's art, they are postulates of life and profession, being the greatest treasure that the book's account can leave its readers along with “listening to the other”.

More than a working method, observation is Roberto's way of life. Hence I highlight this as a condensation of virtues.

Em Infinite faces – the construction of the actor one finds narratives of family circumstances, as in any biography. Reports of Roberto's early life, the beginning of works in art, particularly performing arts, stories and supposed reasons that led Cordovani to become an actor, as well as the rise of his career, his transfer to Europe, his return to Brazil, his partnerships, collaborators .

Another typical aspect of biographies is the exemplary character of the narrative. In this sense, Cordovani's book, his voice emanating from the book, can serve as an example for other professionals, amateurs, or just interested parties.

Perhaps the main advice in (and in the book) is what Roberto gives about actors learning to be a theatrical producer, being a director and enabler of their work, not waiting for invitations to act.

In Roberto Cordovani's book, we see a different boy, a different adult, a singular actor, a rare mature being. Versatile? I think that the adjective versatile does not account for the complexity and completeness of the person and artist Roberto Cordovani.

He is in infinite faces like an actor more than an actor. A complete artist, a complete artist, populated by great artists, great texts, great works, not always wearing a skirt, always immersed in his soul and that of people.

*Eduardo Sinkevisque is a postdoctoral fellow in literary theory at the Institute of Language Studies (IEL) at the State University of Campinas (Unicamp).

Reference

Roberto Cordovani and Thalma Bertozzi. Infinite faces – the construction of the actor. São Paulo, Magis, 2021.

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