herald

Thursday 14 December 2017

Stand and deliver: Leonor bethencourt

Leonor bethencourt is the talent behind The Legend of Zocorro, a nod to her Spanish roots transplanted here in Dublin.

What's her story? "Zocorro is a Doña Quijote with the impossible dream of being crowned the next Rose of Tralee," explains Bethencourt. "The show is about her quest to make it to the competition." Well, we meant Leonor's story, but that's okay: she lets us in on some background information as well.

What brought you to our shores?

I came to Dublin on my honeymoon and 13 years later, we are still here. We love it.

What's your theatrical background?

I trained to be an actor in Madrid and Dublin, and I formed Reddress Theatre Company in 2003. I have produced theatre projects with large casts and small casts, funded and on a profit-share basis. I turned to comedy because the production demands are much more manageable. At my first stand-up comedy gig I got no laughs.

Is it easier to work in theatre in Ireland than in Spain?

In Spain there are limited opportunities because the theatre is controlled by a long-standing dynasty where the family name is the draw. The audiences in Spain love this kind of safe theatre. In Ireland, the audiences are more willing to take a risk on new talent. There are more opportunities here.

Does your stand-up experience inform yout theatre making?

When stand-up fails, you can only blame yourself; you can't point the finger at the director, the playwright or money. This helps in theatre because you claim ownership of your performance. Most people who do stand-up don't have a background in the performing arts at all. When I write a comedy for the theatre, it helps to have tried and tested the jokes beforehand.

How are you coping in the current climate as regards funding? My fingers are crossed like everyone else's. I have had to creatively rethink my marketing and production strategies. Even when funded, the business of theatre is challenging. So in the current climate I fell -- whoops, Freudian slip! -- feel like fighting harder. I am certainly not surrendering. - SC

The Legend of Zocorro runs in the Mill Theatre in the Dundrum Town Centre from March 11th to 13th at 8pm

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