Jordi Bertran’s character may not have a name, but his latest role has left a lasting impression on and off the stage.
The 14-year-old from Del Mar appears as “A Boy,” a small but important part in a close, five-person ensemble cast. Written by Samuel Beckett, the tragicomedy, “Waiting for Godot,” centers on two characters, Vladimir and Estragon, who wait endlessly for the arrival of someone named Godot.
“It’s hilarious; it’s heartbreaking,” Jordi said. “You really have the most varied array of emotions in this play. It’s such a complex play, and it’s so fun to watch.”
“Waiting for Godot” opens March 25 at White Box Live Arts at NTC at Liberty Station in San Diego.
As the only teen in the show, Jordi said he’s learned a lot from the more established actors on stage.
“It’s been a life-changing experience,” Jordi said. “There’s four other men and they’ve been working in plays for their entire lives. I love watching their process.”
With so much dialogue, Jordi’s been fascinated by how his fellow co-stars memorize their lines. One actor records and listens to the dialogue. Another uses movements as a mnemonic device.
“I love learning from them because they have so much experience, but completely diverse experience that I can take completely different lessons from each of them,” Jordi said.
Although only a freshman at Pacific Ridge School in Carlsbad, Jordi is quickly building his own acting portfolio. After all, he started acting when he was in third grade.
Jordi landed his first professional role as Boo Who in “Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas!” at The Old Globe Theater. He has since performed in a number of other productions, including William Shakespeare’s “The Winter’s Tale,” also at The Old Globe. Other theater credits include “Les Misérables,” “Frankenstein the Musical,” “13,” “Shrek the Musical” and “Singin’ in the Rain,” among others.
“Acting, for me, is being someone you could never be in real life,” said Jordi, also a dancer and pianist, who currently plays water polo and volleyball at his school.
“There’s so many different people that I can’t be — that I’m not — but I can be through acting,” he said. “You can experience so many different emotions and feelings and situations that you never would without acting, without playing it on stage. When you play it on stage, you are that character. You are truly in those situations.”
This is Jordi’s first time working with Director Aimee Greenberg, whose company, fruitlessmoon theatreworks, is producing the play.
Greenberg stumbled upon the young actor’s talent when she saw Jordi’s portrayal of Gavroche in “Les Misérables.” After deciding to produce and direct the play, she invited him to read for the part.
“I just liked his whole essence and energy,” she said. “I thought it was appropriate for the part.”
Greenberg was 13, about the same age as Jordi, when she first read, “Waiting for Godot.”
“As a young person enthralled with theater, I immersed myself in every genre of literature,” she said. “You can't help but stumble across the work of Samuel Beckett.”
A longtime fan of the Nobel Prize-winning novelist and playwright, Greenberg has taught classes about the play, and directed and performed scenes from the play, but she has never directed a full production of “Waiting for Godot.”
“I’ve just always loved the play,” said Greenberg, a native New Yorker, who now lives in San Diego. “It’s comedic and it’s dramatic. I think it has universal appeal.
“It makes you think,” she added. “It gets under your skin. You see yourself in the mirror, in this play. It brings the human condition right up to the surface. It’s a beautiful piece of poetry and drama.”
“Waiting for Godot” runs March 25 through April 10 at White Box Live Arts, located at 2590 Truxtun Road, Studio 205, San Diego. Free parking is available at NTC at Liberty Station. Tickets are available at http://godot.eventbrite.com.