MARIO GAS: WORD AND MUSIC
After viewing many theatrical stagings, normally only few remain in the minds of the viewers as an unforgettable memory. It is the same anthology that readers, movie viewers, music lovers, and exhibition enthusiasts (or enthusiasts of any other field, as it is my case with bridges, either those helping people to cross a stream, or connecting two shores separated by overwhelming water currents) do. Well, one of the theatrical stagings that has proved in the last years to leave a special memory in many has been Ascensión y caída de la ciudad de Mahagonny from Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill (Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny in its the original German title). With it, Mario Gas proved once more that he was -and still is- one of the fundamental names in scene direction, the same way he is currently touring Spain showing Shakespeare's Julius Caesar and proving that he is also one of the best actors that Spanish theatre has produced in the last decades.
Mario Gas was born to a family of singers and performers in Montevideo (1947) where his parents were performing: Manuel Gas and Anna Cabré, sister of the bullfighter and actor Mario Cabré. Mario was born in the middle of a tour, like the case of Fernando Fernán Gómez (Lima, 1921) or the daughter of other great performers: Ana Diosdado (Buenos Aires, 1938). Due to their professional excellence, it is worth reminding that Gas is married to Vicky Peña, that his son Orestes is a musician, and that their daughter Miranda Gas is also an excellent actress.
It is not a matter of remembering now the huge professional labour that Mario Gas has done as theatre and opera director, or reminding his work as an actor, especially in Madrid and Catalonia, nor his work under the orders of Spain's best directors. We would, nevertheless, like to highlight to the readers that Mario Gas can also be identified even when physically absent, due to his magnificent voice. This is the reason why when we join in the cinema actors like John Malkovich, we can see how their unquestionable merits ar further enhanced by the voice of Mario Gas, who dubs to Spanish the voice of the characters played by this exceptional North American actor.
We began this text by writing about Mahagonny, and I wish to finish referring to the space in which it was played. Brecht's work occupied one of the most emblematic spaces of Madrid, and not only because of the theatre, along the last years: Matadero. A space, actually a diversity of spaces, especially designed for the most modern creations, but also with two theatre rooms where some of the most relevant theatrical stagings have been presented since its creation more than six years ago. Mario Gas will remain forever as the directly responsable for managing what has been done in the early life of these two rooms of Matadero, the same way his work between 2004 and 2012 leading the Teatro Español (the two rooms of Matadero actually depend on it) has given us the most glorious periods of this emblematic theatre of Madrid. His last staging -Follies (2012), in the Teatro Español- is an excellent testimony of everything presented here, not only due to the value of the staging, but also because of the combinations of words and music provided by the Gas family (with his brother Manuel Gas heavily present).