Beto (a.k.a. Alberto Ruiz Lopez) was a 2008 graduate of Intercultural Theatre Institute (ITI), then known as Theatre Training and Research Programme (TTRP). Prior to his training here, Beto had earned a Bachelors of Performing Arts from the University of Guadalajara, Mexico.
A theatre practitioner who has directed and acted, he was also a former Director of the Company of Theatre from Jalisco. Beto has performed in productions such as The Divine Wind And Tears Lost In The Rain, Attempts On Her Life and Kuo Pao Kun’s The Spirits Play. In 2015, Beto performed in R vs J, a solo piece in Mexico.
As a director, he has helmed operas – Verdi’s La Traviata and Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas – and plays such as Dario Fo’s Un Dia Cualquiera and Alfred Jarry’s King Ubu. His work extends beyond his home country of Mexico to Poland; Texas, USA; and Colombia.
This year, the ITI alumnus returns full circle as an Acting and Movement teacher to the institute.
Q: After earning your Professional Diploma here at ITI (TTRP then) in 2008, what did you think were your next steps from there?
Beto: The feeling was that I was fully equipped with training and information, but had not really had the time to digest all the experiences. So, I was happy, but at the same time I felt I needed to take time to really go deep into the whole training to appreciate it slowly on my own. My plans were to travel to Poland to join more workshops at The Grotowski Institute and to create a play with Polish actress, Justyna Tomczak, in Poznań, a small city in West Poland.
Q: Which aspects of training at ITI/TTRP were the most indelible?
Beto: I think the four traditional forms of training and my learnings under [Israeli Acting teacher] David Zinder were the most memorable. Together, they helped me understand how to create and imagine possible new worlds on the stage.
Q: How do traditional performance forms have relevance in this day and age?
Beto: There are many kinds of theatre – some actors just want to use their speech, words and not the body, others want to move and not use words, and yet others want to use their own bio-drama to create stories … so it depends on what kind of actor he or she is. But there are actors like me who want to create a bridge from the past to present, so I find that in traditional art, there are some really strong seeds that can still bring flowers. To me, [such traditional training] is relevant but for those who seek the avant-garde with no relation to the past, perhaps not so much. But I do think there are a lot of people like me who appreciate the traditional mixed with the modern approaches to acting. For those who still appreciate the past, this – ITI – is the place to learn.
There are actors like me who want to create a bridge from the past to present, I find that in traditional art, there are some really strong seeds that can still bring flowers.
Q: What knowledge and experience from ITI / TTRP do you still continue to draw on today?
Beto: I’m teaching actors and dancers these days. For actors, we focus on acting and movement, while for dancers, I work with them on how to use movement to characterise, as well as to create new styles. It is in particular with dancers that I can apply and further my ITI training because dancers are highly conscious about the body; to me, that is a very interesting area.
Q: What’s your challenge to ITI’s present and future students?
Beto: There are two things crucial in the ITI training: one is to be very respectful about the training, but then learn to let it go and try to find the way you are really as an actor; the second is to forget the training then really challenge yourself to find out what is your own theatre.