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With an already long background in some of Romania’s most important theatrical venues, Miriam Rizea is no doubt one of the most promising young actresses in Eastern Europe. Also keeping several film credits in her pocket (including an Academy Award-nominated project), Rizea is now starring in the upcoming independent film A Muse, which explores the making of art from different creative points of view. Join us in this new interview, as we discuss her performing techniques, latest projects and the contrast between film and theatre from an actor’s perspective. 

How did you find you wanted to be a professional actor?

I think I wasn’t truly aware of it until high school. Then some important experiences made me discover that acting was the only thing I was interested in. Performing as an actress for the first time in front of an audience, a great meeting with a wonderful teacher, those rehearsals I was in love with… I went with the flow.

Most of your career has taken place at Bucharest’s National Theatre, how did you get the chance to start in such a prestigious venue?

It was indeed an important moment for my career, I had an audition for a small role in a big production at Bucharest’s National Theatre and because of that I began working with Metropolis Theatre, Foarte Mic Theatre, Nottara Theatre… My Bucharest debut was at the Odeon Theatre, before finishing drama school.

However, you’re no stranger to the screen. As an actress, what is the biggest difference you find between performing onstage and in front of the camera?

First I would say the physicality, someone in front of a big screen may have the feeling that he stays next to the actor… so your movements and facial expressions can not be the ones used on stage. On the other hand you have to “dance” with the camera, like a choreography, there are technical steps you have to follow. And above all there is a non-chronological shooting schedule. You have to imagine your acting for the entire film, without ruining your moments of freshness and surprise.

Art has its own universe. That’s magical about it

In your latest film,  A Muse, you portray an aspiring filmmaker obsessed with capturing the reality of others. Can fiction bring out truth more than reality itself?

I think it can, I think through film everything is possible, it depends a lot on the imagination of the director. And it might have better reactions because of the artistic language.

What should art be: an imitation of life or a escape from reality?

Art has its own universe, it involves reality as well as non-reality. First you have a story, or a feeling, or an idea you want to share, or a paranormal subject. And it is definitely not your day by day reality. That’s magical about it!

The most striking aspect of this film is the naturalness of the performances, which take place in very intimate and even harsh situations. As a performer, how did you prepare to achieve this result?

I am happy that you are saying this… I tried to be like her, the way I was imagining her being…I was always thinking about her choices, about her actions or non-actions. And I was thinking about the people that I met having the same job, I noticed there is a similar behavior. To me it’s very important to be natural, believable, to make you think  “Oh, I met someone like her”.

Have you ever faced a similar challenge in the theatre?

Bianca is one of the dearest characters I’ve played but the truth is I love each character I get close to, each one is different. I have always in my mind unique details, things known only by me probably, and these aspects make me feel really close to them. I treat new experiences as new challenges, and I try to let myself discover the character, without having many opinions. And yes, at night I still dream about some of them and I still have lines I can’t forget.

Is there anything both your character and you share in common?

I think it’s curiosity – always wanting to know more about people.

If there was a lesson to be learnt from this film, what would that be for you?

Choose what’s best for you! My favourite.

When will see you treading the boards again?

All the rehearsals are postponed for the moment, hopefully these difficult times will end up soon and we will have the permission to go back to the theatres. I am optimistic!

By Guillermo Názara