E.Todgerel : Completely becoming a character shows an artist’s true skill

Trans. by B.DULGUUN



The State Academic Drama Theater (SADT) is preparing to showcase Mongolia’s third adaptation of “Romeo and Juliet” after 19 years.  Mongolia first staged William Shakespeare’s 1597 tragedy in 1966, and again in 1996. The new adaptation will be performed by new faces at the Mongolian Drama Theater, from November 12 to 22.

Emerging artist E.Todgerel has been chosen for the role of Mercutio, a witty and out of control character in the play who’s one of Romeo’s closest friends. He gave an interview about the new production, his role, and his career during a rehearsal for “Romeo and Juliet”.

E.Todgerel has demonstrated his amazing acting skill by creating various roles in historic, classic, and short comedic plays, with roles in “Hamlet”, “Don Quixote”, “Oedipus the King”, “The Hunchback of Notre Dame”, and “The Open Couple”. He played as the main role in the comedic film, “Bid Gurviin Bolzoo” last summer.


Can you start off by introducing the new production of the SADT?


The SADT will soon launch the timeless creation of William Shakespeare, “Romeo and Juliet”, for the opening of its 85th anniversary. This play is about to be staged in Mongolia, after 19 years.

Mainly young artists are participating in this play, as it portrays the liveliness and love between young lovers. I will play Mercutio, an honest, courageous, and loyal friend of Romeo and cousin of Count Paris.

Rehearsal and preparations have become steady. All that’s left is for us artists to craft and perfect our roles.


According to announcements, some changes were made to the original script? What is special about the third adaptation of “Romeo and Juliet”?


This adaptation is special because it’s been modified to modern times. It’ll be possible to see the current society from our play. Only Romeo and Juliet will remain as humans while others will play beasts. It’ll bring attention to social wrongdoings and the fact that live communication is disappearing further from our interactions. My role will represent the public voice.


How did you research and craft your role? What will you show differently from others who have played Mercutio before?


Of course I researched and compared other people’s portrayal of Mercutio. I’ve watched various theater versions of “Romeo and Juliet” in other countries, as well as its film adaptions. From them, I looked at features and characteristics of the role I’ve been assigned. No matter where or when, Mercutio is an honest and brave character, just like a sharp spear. He is a representation of the most honest and good people in the society.


As an individual, how similar are you to this character in reality?


This role seemed very similar to me. I consider myself a fighter and a very consistent person who finishes what he starts.  Mercutio has some extreme behavior, which can be seen from my interests. Being able to completely become and behave like their character shows the talent of the actor.

You’ve been able to do many productions and gain popularity this year. Didn’t you also receive Gegeen Muza (Sacred Muse) Cup at the International Gegeen Muza Drama Festival?

Even now, I’m unable to shake off all the emotion and happiness I felt while standing on stage after receiving the Gegeen Muza Cup. I had been dreaming of that award since I started attending a drama club at the Mongolian Children’s Palace. I feel wonderful just staring at the award at home.


You took on your first film production last summer, while theater artists were on holiday. Was it difficult to work without a holiday?


This year has been really good for me. I got to play my first leading role in “Bid Gurviin Bolzoo” romantic comedy film. As soon as I received the script, I wanted that role. It was a difficult role for me because it’s very different from me. The protagonist is quite clumsy and shy.

Regrettably, I couldn’t attend the premier of my first film. I was actually on a performance tour with my theater colleagues. I watched the film from a spectator seat after returning from the tour.


You were chosen for the lead of “The Open Couple” play shortly after debuting in the theater world. Was it difficult to play Mambreto, an over 40 year-old man?


Mambreto is a womanizer who desires relationships outside of marriage. Although his sincere heart is for his wife, he enjoys entertainment. He finally persuades his wife to an open relationship, but in the end, he suffers. It’s an interesting role and I really loved it. This role earned me the famous Gegeen Muza Cup.

There are many men like Mamreto in society today. Even some of my friends are like him. More than men, women who’ve watched our play seem to blush and exit the theater with great pride and delight. I’ve seen some women nudge their husbands during the play. It was quite hard to get in character. After first receiving the script, I used to read and rehearse everywhere I went. As “The Open Couple” has only two characters, me and actress Ts.Bayasgalan, who played as Meambreto’s wife, we could rehearse anywhere.

At first, I was quite worried that I might look younger than Ts.Bayasgalan and seem inexperienced. Every time I seemed discouraged, she encouraged and helped me improve. I didn’t have any right to act poorly as only the two of us would perform.

The person who helped me understand this role the most was, indeed, director Ch.Naidandorj. He knows this play like the back of his hand. He finally fulfilled his prolonged desire to stage “The Open Couple”. The director demanded me to perform like his imagination of Mambreto. I worked extremely hard to accomplish that. Performing this play has become a huge experience and a great help for my future.


Would you suggest becoming an open couple to your wife or girlfriend?


I would probably get killed if I asked that. The mentality and culture of European and Asian people are different. “The Open Couple” is an Italian play. Italian hot-blooded men might be able to bring up courage and say these kind of things. I wouldn’t deny that their wives might even openly accept the idea. However, it’s different in Mongolia.

I wouldn’t dare to say to my wife, “I love you and my heart will forever be with you, but I want to be in relationships with other people”.


Are you receiving many offers?


I am getting offers. I’ve accepted an offer to join a new production next year. After “Bid Gurviin Bolzoo”, I’ve been receiving offers for similar films. One was a role of another very clumsy guy.


What kind of problems do you face when combining film and theater arts? How are they different?


I consider performing arts to be the most lively art. That’s why I will belong only to the SADT and carry the title of an actor. Anyone who fit a certain role can work for films and dramas if their appearance is suitable for a role. It doesn’t matter if you’re a model or just an ordinary person walking on the street. But those people cannot event breathe on this stage, which has a history of 85 years.

An artist, on the other hand, can work for both theater and film productions. They only need to keep developing themselves and gain experience.


Your sole partner in “The Open Couple” is a professional monodrama performer. Will you challenge yourself in this type of play?


I do want to try it out once “Romeo and Juliet” is finished. I will try to challenge myself in this category for the next spring’s International Gegeen Muza Drama Festival. Just recently, International Undefeatable Victor’s Monodrama Festival was hosted in Mongolia. I started to feel jealous while watching it. I found that monodrama scripts are rare. I will perform a new and unique monodrama.


You will have to sing and dance at the upcoming “Romeo and Juliet”. Did the fact that you graduated from a musical class impact your acceptance of the role?


I graduated from the musical class of Citi Institute in 2012, under the guidance of professor Ts.Batnairamdal. There’s a part where I have to dance and sing in “Romeo and Juliet”. I’m delighted to have gotten the opportunity to show my skills and talents.


Mongolian artists face language difficulties when they try to perform overseas. How are you developing yourself for this?


That’s true. We’re setting the start of a new generation of artists. We have to keep up with foreign artists. I previously had to drop out from an international competition due to language difficulties even though I’d been selected for the role.

At the time, I regretted not learning a foreign language. Now, I’m working hard so that I don’t have to drop out from projects I want to do in the future because of this type of reason. Without hesitation, I’m sure that Mongolian artists will be able to sing and act in foreign language in just a few years.


Source: Unuudur


Short URL: http://ubpost.mongolnews.mn/?p=16624

Posted by on Oct 27 2015. Filed under Prime Interview. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

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