Friday, July 12, 2024
Home Culture María Galiana: “At the Teatro Real I am the queen” | Culture

María Galiana: “At the Teatro Real I am the queen” | Culture

by News Room
0 comment

To the ambigú of the Infanta Isabel theater in Madrid, where it is performed The beauty queen of Leenane, by Martin McDonagh, you climb some very steep and narrow stairs. María Galiana, who plays the tremendous mother of the play, saves them, agile, with more haste than pause, and asks for a softer chair than the pure hard wood of the nightstands to be more comfortable during the talk. She seems very calm. After several days of promotion on radio, television and newspapers, all the questions and all the answers are known. Before we get to work, they offer us a coffee and, one of us, who is frantically looking for an outlet where she can recharge her cell phone and thus be able to record the conversation without any scares, doesn’t even notice. “This is one of those who are nervous,” Galiana says, like that, lying down, and one cannot help but agree. So I go that route.

Do you see people by eye?

Not anything else, but I have always had a lot of intuition when it comes to knowing the people I deal with. Maybe it’s because of so many years with students. I also have the ability to know the tone with which I have to conduct myself depending on who and where I am with. It is not the same to talk to you, for EL PAÍS, as the other day with (David) Broncano, in The resistance. I have had many lives and many times and I have many possibilities. With David I decided to be the girl who climbed on top of the table and did stupid things.

And here, how is it going to be?

Serious and sincere enough. But that’s not difficult for me, because I am more than necessary. That’s why some have thought that I am more conservative and classic than how open, progressive and forward I am. I am left-wing, but so respectful that I can be talking to people who are opposed to me without being noticed. I have an unlimited capacity for understanding. For example, I studied with the nuns, and now that so many say that that education was disastrous, I say that I love them very much and I recognize the amount of things I owe them.

Do you owe them faith? Are you a believer?

I have been a very believer, but I was losing faith. There was no milestone, no before and after, but life has led me to a general agnosticism. I am deeply skeptical and there is a time when I don’t believe anything at all. It is very difficult for me to get excited about something that is not art, literature, music, culture in general.

What are you excited about at 89?

Fundamentally, work, something that sounds very strange, now that many young people say they work as punishment. I have been a great worker, thank God. They have given me many awards, because it was my turn…

Woman, he must have done something.

Well, I’ve been very good, more than I’ve ever done. And those who award me say: I like this woman, she doesn’t bother, she gives thanks very well, her speeches are wonderful and giving her the award makes us look very good. They use me. I’m not talking about the big prizes, which they give to everyone who shines a little, and I’m in that group, but the small prizes, which they use you to reward themselves. But I told you that the only award I truly value is the Labor medal. I told Minister (Jesús) Caldera, when he gave it to me: “I deserve this one.”

Yesterday I was upset to see her at the show, playing a mother who manipulates her daughter to take care of her in old age.

That’s because you are hypersensitive. When we were performing the play in Valencia, a woman approached me to tell me that she was living what we were telling. You and I live in a civilized world. I live alone wonderfully since my husband died 16 years ago and I don’t love anyone. Fortunately, I’m still worth it.

But no one asks that mother how she feels.

She is a domineering woman, as I have ever known, a failed and unhappy woman who has probably had sex three times in her life with her husband, an Irish drunk, to father her three daughters. And, since she has never had an orgasm, she hates sex and denies her daughter the right to enjoy it.

Or has he pretended, as the actress says Lola Herrera, who is more or less his age, 88 years old. Is there something generational about that?

Look, I have lived, and I say this without drama, what it was like to be a repressed woman. I was married to my husband for seven years and I married a virgin, of course. It was when I was 25, but I have not slept with any man other than my husband, neither before nor since. I have seen that, if a woman changed her boyfriend, she was despised. And I have also experienced, and I say this without lyricism, what the emotion and eroticism of doing handyman was like. That thing that you were dying, that it was almost an orgasm inside. I have enjoyed a lot with my husband, now, I have also endured a lot.

He told Broncano that the love of children does not compensate for the absence of the father.

Of course not. Children do not compensate for the complicity and conversation and lovemaking capacity of a husband. I’m not talking about affection. I have wonderful friends. I have groups: the one for drinking coffee, the one for travel, the one for Rocío. Until I get home, and I don’t want anyone there. I don’t like living with anyone. My own children and grandchildren, when they come to see me, I am delighted with them, I work for them, but there are times when I don’t even remember seeing them or I can’t wait for them to leave. And that’s why nothing happens. I am so richly watching a movie, or reading the newspaper, or watching sports, which I love. I prefer a soccer or tennis match to a political debate.

María Galiana, on stage at the Infanta Isabel theater in Madrid, where she performs ‘Lehanne’s Beauty Queen’Bernardo Perez

At 89, is one old, older, elderly?

I don’t mind saying that I’m old. What does bother me is that they call me to celebrate Grandparents’ Day, to give talks and so on. That makes me sick. First, because it makes me nervous that there is a day for everything. Like the Woman’s, as if it weren’t every day. And then, because I have always said, like Picasso, that one is young until he dies. So this is what it is.

But how do you feel?

A privileged one. Look, my daughter, three years ago I met the painter Carmen Laffón at the airport, who was a friend and was my age, and we talked about it, about how privileged we were. She died that night. She woke up dead. She didn’t even go to the funeral home. They brought her from her vacation home to a church whose priest she was friends with because she had painted something for him, and from there to the cemetery. A great way to die. I signed.

Do you have a living will, or something in mind about it?

What am I going to think? I have that will before a notary, to distribute my things and my houses, one in the center of Seville, which is a gem, and the apartment in Madrid, which is in a building that the Opus built, don’t miss it, like this that the elevator is always clean and everything in order. I also have a car, and I drive. From Seville to the beach I go in my car, from garage to garage.

Do you renew your license every year?

Officially, yes, but they give me the test, they see that I see well and they renew it for two. If I go to an eye doctor, I’m sure he will tell me that I have cataracts and I have to have surgery, but I’m going to wait.

At 89, what are you waiting for?

Let’s not see, because I can see perfectly, look (takes the cell phone charger that I bought on the go). “Recharge to 100 in one hour.”

Do you handle technology well? Is it the biggest change you’ve seen in your life?

What technology? I use email and WhatsApp, that’s as far as I get, but nothing more. I’m so rebellious that I don’t want to get hooked on anything. They didn’t even get Catholic Action, and look how they tried. The big change has been seeing democracy arrive. I remember going to a rally by Santiago Carrillo, of the Communist Party in Dos Hermanas. And another from Aldo Moro, in Seville, who was later found dead by the Red Brigades in a trunk. That really made an impact on me. That really made history.

She said she couldn’t play the marchioness. Nobility is not worn?

Look, there is one thing in the upper social class that we say a lot in Andalusia: that they have been eating steaks for centuries, and that shows in their appearance, and I look the way I do. I could play a fat marquise, even a queen, like Elizabeth II, the Flat, because she was fat and flat, but not Mary Stuart.

And nouveau riche?

Perfectly. I heat those up quickly. I have a kind of painter’s vision, I notice the slightest adjustment in the face. That seems outrageous to me for an actress, they destroy expressiveness. I remember an actress who died, Julia Trujillo, who became so many that there came a time when she didn’t work because there were no roles for her age. Now, as an old woman, in theater, there will always be roles, like this one in The Beauty Queen.

Do you consider yourself good at what you do?

Yes. I know I have that gift. I was also a good teacher, my true calling. I know I have those gifts, but I also have a couple of huge drawbacks.

You will say.

Poor girl complex. It all makes me very ashamed, so I don’t do it. I never order breakfast in the room at the hotel, for example. I omit any type of service. I am the denial of nepotism, thank God, but I am also a mema. It’s hard for me to say no. I get nervous if I have to talk to the bank manager. So, everything that being in the world costs me, I make up for with culture.

Has it been your master key?

Completely. I, with culture, go everywhere. I, who told you that I couldn’t play whatever ladies, in the Royal Theater I am the queen, because none of those around understand, and I do. I have boards, not like the ladies in the furs who go to have a champagne in the lobby so that the other ladies who have come can see them.

In other words, she is the queen of Real.

And from the Infanta Isabel, and the auditoriums, and the Caja Mágica, who also invite me to watch tennis, and I thank them very much. But don’t forget that I have another problem.


That I am extremely shy, even if you don’t believe it. I launch myself outwards, towards the public, but swimming and putting away my clothes. I finish the theater, take a taxi and go home. I really never tell anything about myself.

So he didn’t tell me anything in this interview.

Nothing major, but trust me. It’s all true, but I have the soul in my closet.

I would be chatting with you all afternoon.

Yes, but we’re leaving now, right? Come on, Bernardo (turns to the photographer), take the photos, I’m going home.


María Galiana (Seville, 89 years old) says she has lived many lives in one in her almost nine decades of existence. Graduated in Geography and History at a time when women did not usually study at the University, she dedicated herself to teaching Art History in various Andalusian institutes until, in 2000, coinciding with her retirement from the classroom, she dedicated herself to completely devoted to his other passion, acting, which he had combined with teaching until then. Her husband, the architect and professor of Aesthetics, Rafael González, who died in 2008, was her “pygmalion.” “He told me to give myself to what I liked, but with ambition, not to just focus on a local actress,” she remembers today. By faith she got it. After winning the Goya for best supporting actress with her role in ‘Solas’ in the same year 2000, with her role as grandmother Herminia in Tell me how it happened, the legendary series that portrays Spain so well and in which it has remained during its 22 years on the air, has become recognized even in “the Vatican itself.” “I was traveling with friends when I heard my name called ‘Herrminiaaa!’ loudly in the middle of the Sistine Chapel,” she says, amused: “it was a Colombian who recognized a Spanish actress in Italy, look if I have crossed the local scene,” she boasts. . After the end of the series, Galiana, a widow and mother of five children, has embarked on several theater projects. Now she represents The beauty queen of Leenane at the Infanta Isabel theater in Madrid, together with the actress Lucía Quintana, who plays her daughter, and directed by her son in fiction, the actor Juan Echanove. Next May it begins its ninth decade and, who knows, a new life.

Subscribe to continue reading

Read without limits


Leave a Comment