Please introduce yourself, what you do, why you do it, and what you want people to know about you.
My name is Gilda Mercado. I’m a classically trained Mexican actress, a theater maker, creative, cinephile, and a lover of Shakespeare. I’m originally from Mexico City. However, for the majority of my adult and professional life, I’ve lived and performed all around the world in places like NYC, Maine, Glasgow, and London. My profound love for the arts and for acting is what led me to live in so many places and experience different cultures and languages. For me, storytelling and collaborating with extraordinary artists inspires me; it allows me to learn about the world, humanity, and myself. Perhaps that’s the reason why I love Shakespeare’s work – because of its depth, complexity, and humanity.
A few years ago, I had one of the most extraordinary and proudest experiences of my professional life. I got to perform at Shakespeare’s Globe in two productions: “Tis Pity She’s A Whore” and “As You Like It,” where I had the chance to play the role of Touchstone. It was a life-changing moment. It’s where I realized the importance of collaboration. To me, the concept of putting a group of strangers together in a room with the goal of telling a story that will entertain and hopefully make an impact or change someone’s life, even if it’s just for a moment, is incredible. When I’m acting, performing, or creating something, I feel that I’m a part of something bigger than myself. I love that feeling.
What qualities make you different and unique from everyone else in the industry?
I think this is a difficult question to answer because I think everyone has something to offer the world. In my case, I think what makes me different and unique is the way I view life, my experiences, and how I express from such. I have a great love for life, humanity, and the art of expression. That’s what makes me good at what I do. I give my all with no regrets. I’m a person who follows her passion, and that has led me to have extraordinary experiences and opportunities, working with people from all around the world exploring the many sides of humanity and of myself.
For me, there is no limit to the ways one can express and communicate. I constantly keep creating and challenging myself in different ways. During this last year, I’ve been creating new work. I was a part of a theater devised piece called Hindsight 2020, where I got to collaborate with international artists from all disciplines. Also, I collaborated with Rattlestick Playwrights Theater on their Global Forms Theater Festival, where I created a solo piece called “Ella & Yo.” My latest project was playing the role of Adriana in “The Comedy Of Errors” at The Great Manchester Fringe Festival with The Blind Cupid Shakespeare Company.
Describe THAT moment when you realized you wanted to do what you do now. Who did you tell first? What has it been like since that moment?
My love for acting started with film. I remember I could spend a whole day watching films. One of the movies that had a great impact on me was “Romeo + Juliet” directed by Baz Luhrmann. I can remember the first time I saw it. I was obsessed with it. The film had striking, violent images and a language I couldn’t understand yet, but I was moved by it. The performances were amazing. It had everything you could possibly want in a film: romance, tragedy, violence, rawness, and truth. I remembered I wanted to be part of something like that. However, my career as a performer began in the theater. I started doing theatrical productions in Mexico City. One that I remember with great joy was an adaptation of Anton Chekhov’s play “The Wedding”. I think I fell in love with theater thanks to that experience.
However, what made me realize that I could pursue acting as my profession was my first paid job for a short film called “Elevados.” I had the chance to perform with actors I’d admired for a really long time, like Tenoch Huerta and Cassandra Ciangherotti. It was a privilege working with them, and it made me believe that this was possible. Those two experiences inspired me to move to NYC and later to The United Kingdom, where I lived, trained, and worked as an actress for five years. I got to tell all sorts of stories! I worked on “Basement” (a play directed by Joan Kane and written by Robert Rosenbaum), “The Worker Must Have Bread But Must Have Roses Too” (directed by Ayla McCarthy Combes), “To Be Or No To Be” (a Shakespearean Experience devised under the direction of Luis Salgado in collaboration with Ian Hersey from the Public Theater and Leon Ingulsrud from S.I.T.I. Company), “The Witch of Edmonton” (directed by Marc Silberschatz), “Tis Pity She’s A Whore” (directed by Leonor Estrada), and “As You Like It” (directed by Nick Hutchison).
What has been the biggest challenge you’ve had to face and how did you overcome it?
Creating new work. When I was in Scotland, I created a solo piece called “Blue.” It was one of the most challenging things I’ve done in my life. I used to be just an actress or just a performer. I’d never created something by myself from the ground up. However, it is one of the things that I’m the proudest of. I performed, wrote the script, directed, and choreographed the piece. “Blue” allowed me to explore a side of myself I didn’t know existed, and it has empowered me to create other, future works like “Ella y Yo”.
If you had to pick the TOP 3 people you’d want to meet that could take your career (or business) to the next level…who would those 3 people be?
- Baz luhrmann
- John Logan
- Francine Maisler
- Guillermo del Toro