Susy in the spotlight

[excerpts from original in Spanish]

Susy Mazón (Azucena, not Susana), is the epitome of “there are not enough hours in the day”, always rushing around with time racing close behind. Journalist, yet possessing (and enjoying) multiple talents from theater to music, Susy appears everywhere and in everything. Contest judge. Fine Arts Initiation instructor. Montessori teacher. Screenwriter. Singer from time to time. Actress….and, obviously, reporter for numerous press outlets (including right here at Rocky Point 360). Full-time mother and storyteller, with a wealth of anecdotes (of which we are particularly fond when retelling the exploits of her two adventurous daughters).

I don’t like to say “of the theater” – she is an artist, period – one of the best there is here. Each time she takes on a part, she becomes someone different both in being and voice. She is serious and committed. She creates, constructs, and transforms. In her monologue “The Cellist of Sarajevo”, she left me (and I’m sure not only myself) stunned and with my chin on the floor. Hidden within that diminutive body, talent vibrates at ultrasonic speed. She is excellent.

“So tell me a little bit about the “story of Susy,” I say while sipping coffee and catching a glimpse of her bewildered gaze of “where to begin..?” I continue, “I’ve heard you sing and you’re great, I’ve seen photos where you’re singing with a rock group…. I’ve seen you act, and then you’re also a reporter. How or at what point did these all come together?”

“In Hermosillo, around ‘96… ‘97,” she starts, “See, I’ve always wanted to do theater but decided to study communication. Or rather, I’m in communications, so along with studying that I studied theater – and I liked theater more. In my sixth semester of communications I actually wanted to leave and dedícate myself full time to the theater, and get a degree in that. But at home I was told no “when you finish communications, then you can dedícate yourself to theater”… So, I finished my degree in communications and then continued studying at the Academia de Arte Dramático (Dramatic Arts Academy) at the University of Sonora for three years – which isn’t the same as a degree program. There were 28 of us that started and by the last semester I was the only one! There was nobody else, so I did pure monologues. Seriously! I was the only student by the 6th semester and stayed there for two more years; I did five years at the academy in all.

“Three years with classmates, and two alone…well, not alone alone…I would work as a director’s assistant and was very close with the teachers, going on tour with them and helping to direct. I had put together a monologue entitled Los Camaleones by Oscar Liera, which lasted for a while. Then I started working with children’s theater for many years, with Julio Patricio Cárdenas, and didn’t want to work as a reporter – I wanted to work exclusively in the theater. …. At the same time, just before leaving university, we formed a band – we started in 2000, it was called “Parodia” and we did covers of Santa Sabina. I was the lead singer and we played a lot, at the University and in different spots (that’s when I met Nina [Mier] at a Film Club), and we played a lot for the school of Arts, Communications, ..and festivals. We would enter contests and won, which is why we recorded an album.

…. The two albums we recorded, were from contest prizes, I mean we never paid to record and it was alternative music, like Sabina. Along with covers we did our music, I did the lyrics, vocals, and melody and the guitarist did the arrangements and music. We went to Mexico City in 2001… I went with all the intent of studying theater and worked at a Sanborns [mini department store/restaurant] and so the whole band went. I was already enrolled in theater (actually a really good workshop), getting ready to enter the University Theater Center (CUT)…and working…the others came back little by little, they only lasted about three months…and well, I went to Sonoyta to see my family and didn’t go back … I never did the entrance exam and that’s something that’s stuck with me…because I might have done it and they could’ve said no, you’re not in…and oh well… but if I HAD gotten in? Instead I came back to Hermosillo to do theater.

Back in Hermosillo, we put the band back together – just with another guy on bass – and as destiny would have it, I was singing karaoke at a bar and a news personality was there and said, “I want her as a reporter”…. He was pretty stubborn about it, so the next day I went to see him and started working at MVS Noticias …and I’ve been doing that since about 2002 till now – reporting –

….I’ve been here (in Puerto Peñasco) for nine years…I came as a correspondent for Radio Sonora on Telemax – but getting back to theater, when I first got here I looked to see if I could join a theater group…and well, there weren’t any. If I wanted to do theater I was going to have to do everything…direct, produce, act, etc. I submitted a project to those cultural development programs, for children’s – well actually youth – theater. We ended up being a group of five, and we would perform at junior highs, highschools, the CERESO, wherever we could. We entered and won a regional contest, and took a play to the state level.

I later started teaching some theater classes at the Technological University (ITSPP) – and I met Valdemar Arrieta in around 2008, and we started to organize our first pastorela (satirical “Christmas” play often somewhat political).  I was also giving talks in Hermosillo at that time, about the situation of theater at that time in Puerto Peñasco, plus I went to all types of gatherings like “Women in the Theater!”…but not anymore.

We then opened up a call for the pastorela and ended up getting all kinds of people: police officers, reporters, teachers, homemakers, etc.  It was more like a collective, and not really rigid – I mean it wasn’t people that had studied theater, there were even those with stage fright. It was an interesting experiment. That first year we put it on three times and it went well – we didn’t charge anything. We charge now but it all goes to costumes, scenery…and if there’s anything left we give a symbolic amount to those who participated – that’s important, it’s just to help recognize all their efforts.

So, after Valdemar passed away we didn’t do it the next time…but since 2010 we’ve been doing it every year. I would find (well, I find) a pastorela and totally destroy it and mix in parts of different pastorelas. The point is to put in jokes that are from the local environment, political issues, popular culture…. though we’ve always tried not to get too personal – we try to keep it on script so no one puts in their own jokes or jabs.

Did I tell you I also did the chorus on one of Alan [Munro’s] albums? When he recorded Mal Agradecida, I was on the song Sin Flores ni Gloria – it was one of his first recordings.

“So what about reporting,” I finally ask.

“I love it,” she responds, “Honestly, I love it, and I’m really grateful for this job. I can’t imagine doing anything else, this field of work has been very noble to me. Go figure, my only fear is losing the ability to be surprised…once you lose that, you lose interest. Because there’s lots of news that are repetitive or cyclical so that’s where you have to add creativity and look at things from a different angle, narrate them from another perspective –though the stories may seem the same, the people are different. This is the same with journalism, because there are different voices and someone in the center…because you’re there and you want to report on what’s being said…. So…. Any other questions?

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