Monday 5 December 2022

Mina Merad, a late but successful vocation

After working in tourism and events most of her life, Mina Merad, aged almost 50, finally dares to take her chance at the Marseilles’ theater. She is an actress since 2017 and follows her big brother's steps: the french actor Kad Merad. Today, she is starting a new show for which she will be alone on stage.

Changing her life out of love for theater is the crazy bet Mina Merad took three years ago. She became an actress back in 2017 thanks to the play called Si Dieu veut (If it’s God’s will) and is starting today a new show to be played soon in Marseilles. When she is asked to talk about it, this mother of two kids stays mysterious: “I will be alone on stage, a kind of a one-woman show. I cannot say too much for the moment. I wrote it alone, several years ago. This is a subject that particularly moves me, but it is an uncommon show, and I don’t know how the audience will react”, she says.

“When one starts late, there is no room for error”

Being alone on stage doesn’t scare her that much: “The audience motivates me. As long as there is an audience, I feel like I am a pig in clover. Of course, I am freaking out about the premiere, which is the case for every premiere, but I really want to do it.”

Going for it

Her prior experience in the comedy Si Dieu veut, produced by Jeff Carias confirmed her decision. “Performing this play was essential, especially since before that, I had never taken any acting lessons”, she explains. Then, she adds: “My brother came to see me and told me “for someone who has never taken a class before, well done!” For the actress, this was the most beautiful compliment she has ever received.

Mina Merad hopes to introduce her new show by the end of the year.

Photo Agence Séquence Sud

It must be said that her relationship with her elder brother, the famous actor Kad Merad, is very important to her. From childhood, she would go with him to his acting classes, cheer him up and see a real potential in him. “My brother was good at everything: he played music, acted… He was a versatile artist” I only knew how to make my friends laugh”, she sums up. An admiration which partly explains her late decision to go down the same road as him: “I didn’t know if it was my goal. I thought he was very good. I supported him and didn’t dare to impose even though I wanted to take acting lessons.”

After working for several years in tourism and events in Paris, Mina Merad ended up taking her chance in the theater, in Marseilles. Today, she fully accepts a choice whose consequences she feared at that time. “When one starts late, there is no room for error. Otherwise, your relatives ask you: “but, why did you do that? , “Why are you taking risks?” I was afraid of that kind of remarks”, she admits.

Her husband, Jean-Charles alias Carlos, supported this risk-taking from the outset. “She had reached the end of her career, physically, he remembers. She wanted more freedom, to do other things. The pragmatic question was obviously the salary, but I figured that it is best to tighten our belts and see her happy, rather than living more comfortably and see her unhappy.” Interested in theater, which he practiced for a year, he became her personal coach and encouraged her in her project. Carlos attended not less than seventeen performances of Si Dieu veut, and does not hide his admiration: “On stage, we can see she has made the right choice, she is having fun. I admire her for having dared to go for it to the end.”

“The one-woman show”, a new challenge

It all began in 2017. Mina Merad discovered the stage world and took acting lessons with Hervé Lavigne for two years, at the heart of Marseilles. After the performance of Si Dieu veut in Marseilles’ theaters until 2019, the famous festival d’Avignon 2020 is coming up. Covid-19 pandemic suddenly delayed this beautiful project, but Mina Merad hopes to participate in the next edition.

The actress also wants to resume the rehearsals of her “one-woman show” in order to perform it at the end of the year. This desire is all the stronger because, here again, her elder brother played a major role. “One day he told me: “You should give a one-woman show.” It was crazy because I had already started writing it. It was like he had given his consent! I thought that I had to go for it.”

Faced with this challenge, Mina Merad oscillates between stress and excitement at the thought of being seen on stage by her family. “One evening, at the end of a performance of Si Dieu veut, the lights came back on and I caught sight of my parents in the public, she remembers with emotion. It was a big shock! It was intense.” But beyond these apprehensions, the actress has no doubts: even if she is not making a living out of it yet, the theater is a universe that suits her. A universe which, in her own words, has always been a part of her.

Translated by Cindy Hurtaud

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