“Tell me a bit about yourself” is a tricky and cheeky request, which most of us struggle with, particularly in job interviews. António didn’t hesitate: “I’m a Portuguese actor”.
We met at Canela Café, in Covent Garden, where he has been working as a cook, since he moved to London 9 months ago, with fellow actors and friends. He is undisturbed in is purpose: “I want to contribute to my region. I want to promote it. To continue my studies and education. To come here and then return. To live, dream, and believe.”
This region, which he talked about endlessly and passionately, is Trás-os-Montes. Or the “Reino Maravilhoso”, the Wonderful Kingdom, as he dearly refers to it, adopted from the bucolic poet Miguel Torga.
António’s mission is to entertain, whilst also teaching others. In the past 15 years, he has done so as a stand-up comedian, a musical theatre performer, a film director, worked in advertising, in cinema, in schools and, his major passion, in the theatre.
His first gigs were arranged by his Dad, a drinks’ salesman, who also used to sell António’s performances to restaurants and cafés that he stopped by. “I wanted to a policeman, I wanted to be a priest, I wanted to be everything. By being an actor, I can be whoever I want to.”
“My first caché was a sandwich”, he remembers, amused.
He evoked the traditional fairs back in Trás-Os-Montes, which mix religion with superstition and magic, where he has performed, such as Bruxas à Portuguesa (Witches, Portuguese Style) and O Dia do Diabo (The Devil’s Day), where more than a thousand devil masquerades invade the town along with a 7-meter “Death”, with fireworks, music and mysticism.
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