Manuel Romero Gasco: magician, teacher, dreamer

It is said that just by listening to his voice, one can imagine his face. Hearing him speak is a kind of luck. The real reward, however, is to watch their deft hands coax you into tying a tie or pleated paper.

With an honorable career spanning more than half a century on Cuban and foreign stages, Manuel Romero Gasco – The Magician of Gasco as everyone knows him – received in 2022 one of the highest awards given by the National Council for the Performing Arts: the National Circus Award.

Despite the fact that we were on different ends of the island, our WhatsApp conversation was close, warm; real pleasure for me. Although he states that he had his first visual contact with magic at the age of six, he claims that his admission to the provincial school of magical arts in Santiago de Cuba and meeting the teacher Alberto Pujals was what really motivated him to choose it. . way, middle age ago.

“I remember when he introduced me to his friends, he always said: “He is Manolito. He came here one afternoon saying he was 15 when he was actually 12. He wanted to impress me with his magic, like he was the best magician in the world. This dignity, the way they present their games to me as something of great value, is what captivated me. They entered the school only on the 12th. degree. He was seventh. I was fooled, he became the youngest magician in the school. Now I’m happy that he cheated on me.” These words of Pujals I will never forget.

“I studied the four levels they had in mind and then I was a teacher. The magic of the Pujals, Aira and our school was different, characteristic.”

Despite the fact that the artist has won numerous awards both on the national and foreign stages, his surprise at the award stands out: “I was surprised not because I can’t deserve it, but because many people from the circus arts deserve it.” . too much. I have never worked for a reward. My greatest recognition is to meet people every day who tell me: “You worked at my party”, “You were my teacher”, “You played a game in the theater that I could not forget”. However, I receive this distinction with great pleasure and gratitude. I will try to protect him by becoming a better artist and a better teacher.”

His voice is heard with great shock when he says that he dedicates it to his teachers, because for Gasco “many people are always involved in the training of the artist, and each of them deserves the achievements that he receives.”

Graduated from the Faculty of Literature of the National School of Art Instructors. Active poet and storyteller, as well as screenwriter, artistic director, literary consultant and researcher of circus arts. However, “magic was always present in every morning, in every meeting of friends. It was totally related to my studies and always has been. The literature that I studied later helped me create my shows and write scripts. I taught literary workshops, wrote stories, was interested in plastic arts and theater, but magic was always in the first place. He was always present and did not allow me to see further.

– Humor and Gasco: only a professional relationship?

“Although I am a serious person, I am Cuban; and we Cubans are comedians by birth. Coincidentally, he managed to impress the audience when all of a sudden this humorous vein broke through the joke, due to the fact that the series clearly went wrong. In my daily life there is always a joke, a double meaning, and I owe this to my Cuba.

“With great care, I began to explore the humorous possibilities of magic, the details that can be used to make it shine without dampening the power of magical wonder.”

– With the rapid technological development that prevails in the world, it is very difficult to be on a live stage and surprise the audience with magic. What do you think about the development of this art in today’s Cuba and what do Cuban magicians need in order not to die?

– Children are no longer surprised by the appearance of a lion, a spaceship, as it is constantly shown in the media, and the appearance of a handkerchief is a meaningless thing. But fantasy is limitless, and no technical achievement will surpass the possibilities of the imagination of a person and an artist. The more technology advances, the more imagination magicians will have.

“Cuban magicians work hard to create our magic. Firstly, because there was not enough information, and secondly, because we did not have enough resources. Gadgets are usually brought from other countries, although we made our own materials. In Spain, I was able to introduce a game called The Spirit of the Cards, which in its original version required breaking a card at every presentation, and I made an adaptation to only break two or three for the rest of my life. Many magicians perform it these days and are grateful that the idea came to me. The Cuban magician is looking for solutions everywhere.”

Regarding teaching, Raul Gomez Garcia, also a medal winner, said: “Being an art teacher was not easy. But just as my teacher taught me every detail, how to reach out to the audience, how to show better technique, I had to conform to the nascent fans.”

With deep conviction, he assures: “Although there is a lot of advice that I could give to new generations to study technology and improve themselves in each of the specialties, there is one detail that I would like to say first of all, and that is, our magicians need more and more educated people.

— What points of contact do the magician Gasco and Manuel Romero have?

“Manuel Romero is a dreamer, and the Wizard of Gasco is the one who makes his dreams come true.”

This was my last question, and I never thought that such a common question could have such an entertaining and enjoyable answer.

Manuel Romero Gasco received the National Circus Prize 2022. Photo: Yurina Santisteban

Source: Juventud Rebelde


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