As the founder and chief editor of Status – the only magazine about improv in the world – Feña is usually on the other end of interviews, but because he is our first guest of the new Swaajp Invites season, we were excited to ask him some questions about his improv AND about the show we are performing together on 29 September 2018: Swaajp invites Feña Ortalli. Hope to see you there!
Can you introduce yourself in three sentences?
My name is Feña Ortalli, I was born in Argentina and now I live in Madrid. I’m an impro nerd that loves talking about it with everybody. I love travelling, eating and music (amongst a million other things). Why are you passionate about improv? Because it’s the art form I’ve chosen to express what I want to say. And since I started doing it (15 years ago) I keep discovering new things, tones, layers, tools and concepts that expand the technique. I think it’s unlimited.
Who has had the biggest influence on your improv?
It’s very hard to pick one influence but I always say that the first time I went to Madrid and watched Impromadrid it changed everything. I realized that impro has no limits, that I could do whatever I wanted with it.
Do you have a character you often fall back to? What is he/she like?
I used to play a devilish child character a lot, it’s been I while since I used it. But I would say that high status characters appear more often that I would want to. They are usually very philosophical or political, with a low voice and what we call “pigeon chest” (I don’t know if you can picture the image) hehehe
How did you most recently fail? Was there anything you learnt from this?
Awww failure. I’m not sure I believe in failure. Things can go wrong but the moment you realize you’re failing or about to fail, you can solve it, identify the problem and re-connect. Mistakes? Of course I make a lot of mistakes and I always learn from them. But failure it’s different. You fail when you don’t try.
Which show are you bringing to perform with Swaajp?
I want to share with you a format I created with my friend Gonzalo Rodolico in 2014. It’s called Any Given Day and it’s based on historical events that took place on a certain day throughout history. It’s a very dynamic show where you can play short, stupid, fun scenes but also dark, truthful stories. After all, the history of the world is full of awful things and I think it’s a good opportunity to speak our minds about it.
Why should people come and watch this show?
Because every show is unique! We’re going to celebrate the ephemeral character of impro!