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The Cavalier

Award-winning playwright teaches the art of the one-act to 7th graders

Alfonso Ramirez has appeared in various artistic productions on stage, film and television. His focus is now on teachng elementary and high school students the craft of writing and acting.

James Kriegsmann

Alfonso Ramirez has appeared in various artistic productions on stage, film and television. His focus is now on teachng elementary and high school students the craft of writing and acting.

Ben Damsky, Danny Espinal, and Tim Wanvig

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Alfonso Ramirez is an actor, playwright and director. He’s appeared in numerous productions on stage with Twelfth Night, in movies with Big Dabby and on telvision with Law and Order to name a few. Ramirez was born in Los Angeles, and now lives in New York. He attended the University of Southern California and earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Theater, then went to Goddard College where he received a Master’s Degree in the Writing Program. For the past few years, he’s brought his talent to Emerson Junior-Senior High School where he teaches seventh graders the fine art of writing and producing a one-act play.

Tim, Ben, and Danny: How old were you when you started in theater? Explain what you did.

Mr. Ramirez: I was about 9 years old, and I had the lead role in “Rumpelstiltskin” which was produced by the Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks. It was the first time I had appeared in a play, and I was hooked by the applause. After that, I always made sure I tried out for plays in middle school and high school.

Tim, Ben, and Danny: Were you nervous while acting in the movies? What’s your advice to others about overcoming nerves?

Mr. Ramirez: No, I was never nervous. I always knew I was playing a character that wasn’t me, which allowed me to “pretend” and suspend judgment on what people might think of me. My advice is: remain calm and confident, and remember that the camera catches every nuance of your performance. Try not to show your nerves–unless the character asks for it.

Tim, Ben, and Danny: Did anyone inspire you to act? How did he or she inspire you?  

Mr. Ramirez: I was always a big fan of Charlie Chaplin and the seamless manner in which he created his sympathetic characters.  I wanted to be funny and sad at the same time, the way he was.  I guess this is called “pathos.”

Tim, Ben, and Danny: Have you struggled along the way, and how you solved it?  

Mr. Ramirez: When I first moved to New York from Los Angeles, I struggled with the rejection that came from auditioning. I’m not sure I overcame it completely or solved it, but I tried to tell myself not to take it personally. The casting directors and others involved in the process always have a specific image in mind for the character, and if you somehow don’t fit their image what they are expecting, you won’t get hired. It’s never about you but about them.

Tim, Ben, and Danny: Did anyone try to stop you? If so, explain.

Mr. Ramirez: My older brother once asked me, “Why don’t you admit you’re a failure as an actor and move back to L.A.?” He really had no idea what success meant as an actor, and he only wanted me to move back to I could work with him in the family restaurant business.

Tim, Ben, and Danny: We see that you’ve done acting on stage and TV and movies. Which do you like best and why?

Mr. Ramirez: I’ve always preferred the stage because it’s more organic and interactive. The performance can be affected by the audience and their reactions to the acting. TV and film can take longer to complete and seems more tedious.

Tim, Ben, and Danny: What’s been your favorite memory on stage or on the screen? Explain.

Mr. Ramirez: Working with a generous actor like Adam Sandler was great, but a performance I did years ago in a play by Sam Shepard called, “The Late Henry Moss” was memorable and fulfilling because the part seemed to be written directly for me, and I got great reviews.

Tim, Ben, and Danny: What do you enjoy most about working with students at EJSHS?

Mr. Ramirez: Their enthusiasm and overall knowledge of the theater and film. At this age, there is no fear and preconceived notions about what is right and what is wrong.  

 

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Award-winning playwright teaches the art of the one-act to 7th graders