Petra Martínez and Juan Margallo, the curtain rises: “Life changes, the world changes. The absurd is to think that love does not do it” | Lifestyle

One day in 1964, Petra Martínez, who wanted to be an actress, went with her boyfriend Let’s see caligula at the Theater of Fine Arts in Madrid. There, the young girl, 20, did not take her eyes off Escipión, the role played by Juan Margallo, 24. “I’ve always been very careful with men’s legs, I really like them. And when I saw them I thought: what beautiful legs! Of course, I wore these Roman skirts,” says Petra Martínez (Linares, Jaén, 78) outside a terrace café in Madrid. “But you hadn’t been with that boy for a long time,” he continues. John Margallo (Caceres, 81 years old). “No, he was a boyfriend from work. I was already bored with him and he with me. Guys, when you’re young, it’s boring”, she replies. Within weeks, she asked this boy to buy tickets to see Cleopatra in movies. “He called me to tell me they weren’t there, and I said, ‘Well look, I don’t want to see you anymore.

Read, in Petra Martínez’s last reply, there are echoes of Fina Palomares, the extremely twisted and feared owner of the one who comes, the famous series of the Caballero brothers, but the gesture belies it: when he speaks, even when he pronounces the most unexpected sentence, he always smiles. He is currently filming a new season of fiction. Margallo, for his part, is preparing the second part of champ, Javier Fesser’s award-winning film for which the actor was nominated for a Goya. Despite this noisy foray into cinema, he is a legend of Spanish theater (twice winner of the MAX, Gold Medal of Merit in Fine Arts). Petra Martínez, who has also done a lot of theater, has appeared more in television and film. His last movie, life was like thatgave him nominations (including the Goya) and awards; She embodies a woman who teaches, she says, that “there is no age to change, to meet, to fall in love and to start again”.

For the best actress award at the Feroz a few months ago, he didn’t prepare a speech. “I told her: Petra, prepare something in case you win, but she never prepares anything. So he came on stage and said he masturbated five times a day,” says Juan, resigned. She lets out a laugh. “Look, I didn’t want this role precisely because I didn’t see myself in certain scenes, like the one where I was masturbating. But then I thought: we have to normalize this. I did the part, and thrilled. And going up on stage, I thought how close I was to dismiss him on the subject of sex, and when I started talking, I only had masturbation on my mind. And he said, in front of a devoted audience: “The most important thing is to have masturbated in front of a lot of people, because I think masturbation is totally silenced, and now I masturbate about three or four times a day because I got mania, and Juan says to me, “Let’s go to bed” . And I’m like, ‘No, I’d rather be on the couch, watching TV, and so I masturbate watching Javier [Cámara]”.

They have been married for 54 years. They have two children, Juan and Olga; they have grandchildren. They always or almost always worked together: in theater groups such as Tábano, El Búho or El Gayo Vallecano, until they founded, together, the company Uroc Teatro. They presented programs together (for example, the sesame street of the Caponata Hen). They have lunch together every day, they live together. And jealousy? How do you live in two actors falling in love and falling in love with each other in fiction? “I’ll tell you one thing,” says Petra: “I’ve been an actress all my life, but I haven’t done any kissing scenes or sleeping with anyone. Never never. And neither does John. I don’t think I would like to see him kiss anyone else.”

Petra Martinez he saw Juan Margallo again in the sixties in the acting classes she took with William Layton. “I saw it and I thought, ‘Damn, the one with caligula. At that time, I lived with my parents in a chalet in the Retiro district, and I really liked parties: I was a party girl. So I invited him to one and he came. We don’t dance or anything.” Later, Juan went to London (where he worked as a waiter, dishwasher and singer of four boleros) and, on his return, he discovered that Petra was rehearsing a play theatre, tale, at the Théâtre Béatrice He went to see her for a month straight. When he had finished, he went to see her in the dressing room, where one day they kissed for the first time. “I left the theater euphoric.” They decided to buy two rings from a jewelry store. Petra points it out more than half a century later, Juan lost it a long time ago.

Detail of the hands of Petra Martínez (she with her ring) and Juan Margallo.
Detail of the hands of Petra Martínez (she with her ring) and Juan Margallo.bald elm

One day, Petra got pregnant. They decided to move in together. All this, at the end of the sixties and without getting married. As they did not want to do it for the Church, they decided that the wedding would take place outside Spain: in Gibraltar. But the fence at that time was closed. “My brother, who lived in La Línea, couldn’t come to the wedding: we had to see each other through the fence,” recalls Juan. They had to go first to Tangier, then to Gibraltar. The one who passed him regularly at the border was Petra’s mother, Luisa Pérez Matamoros. To avoid conflicts, she falsified the passport: Luisa Pérez Matamaras. “If they find her with the forged document, who knows what happens to her, but it worked,” says Juan.

The actress’s father, the youngest of seven siblings (“the little one in the house, the protege, that’s why it was so difficult for me to leave”), was a telegraph operator; his mother, an unstoppable woman in everything she touched (“if she had been born later, she would have invented Amazon”). At the end of the war, they left Spain on foot, crossing Behobia to reach France. His father could have fled to Russia or Mexico, but he wanted to return, deceived by the Franco regime’s offer: nothing will happen to anyone who has not committed blood crimes.

“He said he didn’t want his children to be foreigners, which is a bit of a silly phrase because I would have loved to have been born in Paris,” says Petra. He returned and was locked up in a makeshift concentration camp at the Tabacalera in Bilbao. Through the wife of a lieutenant-colonel who frequented the same park as her with her children, my mother managed to interest her in my father. They put him on trial. He was freed, but unable to climb the ladder and exiled to Linares, where I was born. He was able to return to Madrid afterwards.

Juan Margallo’s father, soldier who fought on the Franco side; his mother, a teacher. “He was practicing when the war broke out, he stopped working, he had nine children – we are all alive – and he raised them; When he finished, he returned to teaching. When Petra and Juan already had a son and had not married, Juan’s father could not see her. Literally, not in the sense that he didn’t love her. “It was great,” says Juan. “Petra came home with the child already born and my family locked him in a room. I didn’t know what to do with this one. One day he passed her in the hallway, Petra. And he said very seriously, because he was a very serious soldier: “I have nothing against you. And I thought: but if he speaks to her, why can’t he see her? Petra: “C was beyond him, you have to understand that.” Juan’s sisters are part of Petra’s group of best friends. “You will tell me: I have been with them for 54 years, at the same time that I am married to John.”

Petra Martínez and Juan Margallo during the performance of the play 'La madre pasota / Cosas ourselves', in Seville in 2012.
Petra Martínez and Juan Margallo during the performance of the play ‘La madre pasota / Cosas ourselves’, in Seville in 2012.

In Live on air, his memoirs, Margallo remembers that he was born thanks to the International Brigades. His father was taken prisoner by the Republican army during the Civil War: “It was in the Cerro de los Ángeles, and they had the commanders in a hole. I think my dad was a sergeant at the time. They had the commander shot, then the captain, then the lieutenant, and when they were going to shoot my father, a Mexican from the International Brigades said, “Why don’t you let him do it?” Who told you that I don’t want to have any more children, when all this is over? Nine he had. This is why Margallo misses from time to time, as a tribute, saying children instead of children.

When he learned that his little girl was leaving home with a baby, and amidst the family rowdiness, with screams everywhere, Petra’s father, Manolo Martínez, went to bed for seven days without speaking to anyone and not eating. almost nothing. “Did not speak. Neither with my mother, nor with me, nor with anyone. Seven days,” she said. After a week, the father said the first word, then the second, and even got out of bed. Petra’s mother called her daughter: “Dad is fine, he is talking now!” The daughter asked the father what had happened to her. He answered honestly: “How crazy his head was. I needed to reconsider, and I have already reconsidered: do what you want”. This happened again when he wanted to commit suicide, after the death of his mother. He went back to bed without speaking to anyone and without eating. Petra, his granddaughter, took him to a doctor who had helped prisoners on hunger strike at Yeserías prison. The woman said to him, “Manolo, death from a hunger strike is terrible,” and explained to him what it was all about. That night, the man called Petra to her room. “Run for two burgers and a beer.”

The actor couple pictured in Madrid's Arganzuela district.
The actor couple pictured in Madrid’s Arganzuela district.bald elm

Families, with the exception of those first odd hours, looked to them. And his friends, and his theater partners: helping with the babies (Olga and Juan), enabling them to continue working and traveling, earning a living in and out of theaters. It is then, remembering this, that Petra Martínez makes this reflection:

— They say that love is a matter of two. It’s possible, but it’s almost never the case. What surrounds you is very important. If one of the two families doesn’t turn around (or if they both don’t turn around, look at what happened to Romeo and Juliet), or if the friends don’t push, you can go ahead, but it’s is more difficult. We were very lucky. With Juan’s family and mine, who bet everything for our love. With our friends, who conspired to make it work. We have always had things around us that favored us to get here. We didn’t do it alone.

“That was fundamental,” says Juan.

“We argue to reach an agreement or get closer to it, not to walk away and hurt each other. Of course we argue! But not to be me smart and you stupid, or vice versa. We argue to get closer, to try to understand the other (…) Life changes, the world changes. The absurd is to think that you don’t change the love you have for your partner and the love your partner has for you. Listen, it’s very hard to reach our years together, you have to go through bad times, but it’s worth it. Even if it’s just to see, after so long, how do you manage to have your own room at home, in case you want to sleep comfortably.

They laugh and ask for the bill.

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