The University of Texas-Pan American hosted its second annual Hispanic Engineering, Science and Technology Conference (HESTEC) with Rita Moreno kicking off the event. Moreno made history as the only actor to ever win the Oscar, EMMY, Tony and Grammy for her performances in theater, film and music. She spoke to students during a question and answer session on Monday, October 13 in the Albert L. Jeffers Theatre and gave straightforward advice to a captivated audience.
"We (Hispanics) victimize ourselves," Moreno said. "We say 'I can't get a part because I'm Latina.' Stop whining. I'm 71 years old and I've been around the block many times. You've got to be good. Be so good that they'll beg for more. Forget the ethnic thing."
Moreno added that she has had to fight for every role she's ever played and points out that the theater is the only venue where a person can really break out of type casting more frequently. Many students were able to ask their questions directly to Moreno. Her answer on "how to act well" was poignant and direct.
"Study, study and study. Be prepared. Know everything about your character," said Moreno. "Bring your props with you to the audition. They love that. They become engaged." Moreno also gave serious advice about the deeper part of acting.
"You should tap into something you can use. 'Sense Memory' is a technique used to draw on personal experiences to give your acting substance and weight," said Moreno. "Don't show us, act it. Young actors want to show you how they are feeling. It's called 'indicating.' Go inside, know who you are playing. The actor can show who he is playing without having to 'act it' by knowing the role intimately. Carry the role inside you. Make them (the audience) read something without a lot of expression."
Rita Moreno's Q&A session was power-packed with advice and examples for striving actors, directors and performance enthusiast. Her advice was the definitive word on the art of acting and the session was a great opportunity for students to speak to one of the nation's finest performers in history.