Gulemberías: More Than Just Entertainment

By Joyce Almodóvar Jiménez

On September 20, 2012, without any previous notice, the troupe from Gulemberias, an organization part of TeatRUM, gathered around the Chardón Building at the universal hour for a theatrical improvisation show.

Students watching from the balconies as the show was starting. Later on, there was a bigger group of spectators.

It all started with a bunch of nine “teatRUMitas,” as they are known, doing loud vocal chants and exercises that captivated the attention of students who were eating, talking or just relaxing in the balconies of the Chardón Building.

Without warning, they were approached by some of teatRUM members to write down any kind of phrase on a small paper or to suggest scenes or characters for the dynamics.

The show, which lasted almost two hours, was full of scenes that, from characters to dialogue, were improvised. According to TeatRUM president Nephtalí Rodríguez, it was a huge success.

“This kind of shows are more of a practice for bigger shows like the ones we have in La Tertulia (local pub) or plays, but it also promotes the group for those who have no idea what Gulemberías or TeatRUM is,” said Rodríguez.

“With this kind of shows, the public doesn’t feel like there is a wall between the performers and them, they are incorporated, they are part of the show and that is how we get their curiosity awoke rather than announcing the group in the bulletin boards,” added Rodríguez.

TeatRUM is not just a group of students celebrating the arts, but it is a group that has history inside the Colegio.

TeatRUM: The Story Behind the Curtains

In 1966 a group of art lovers started a student movement in order to cultivate the arts, with special interest in the theatrical arts at the University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez campus (Colegio), but it wasn’t until 1995 that that group’s name was changed to TeatRUM.

Emmanuel Colon as a soldier in the play “Y como no se pudrio… Blancanieves” (Trans. Because she didn’t rot, Snow White). May 3, 2012.

From theatrical plays to performances in the middle of Colegio, TeatRUM has maintained its original motto throughout the years— to not let art die.

Without counting those teatRUMitas who have graduated but refuse to let their beloved group behind, there are currently thirty active members approximately.

However, in 2011, the group suffered major changes when almost the entire committee board of the group graduated, leaving just a few experimented members behind nevertheless, with the direction of veteran teatRUMita Nephtali Rodríguez, the group has overcome that and has strengthened itself with new members and ideas to keep doing what they do best: art.

Gulemberías: What is That?

            TeatRUM noticed that the group was in need of acting workshops and in 2004, Gulemberías was born. Focusing more on improvisation skills, the group started imitating the style of the 90’s American show Who’s Line Is It Anyway? that consisted in a series of live sketches with the scenes, characters and songs created on the spot, and the topic being suggested by the public.

However, the group evolved in incorporating those dynamics into different exercises that can help the students not only in the arts but in their lives as well.

According to Gulemberías’ director Enrique Betancourt, “It’s more centered in the development of creative thinking, personal projection, comedy, monologues and others stuff that not only serves for having a great time but it also creates more confidence in what you do.”

Who Can be Part of TeatRUM or Gulemberías?

            Anyone who wants to learn more on how to express themselves and create confidence on stage can join Gulemberías.

It’s not limited to experienced actors on art majors because the goal is to take the arts beyond art majors and to integrate them into any majors. The group is as varied as the University itself.

Group of Gulemberos on front of the Chardón Building performing an improvisation show on September 20, 2012.

“We encourage all students to come and have a great time while developing skills that will serve them for their own professional lives; when you have to do a work presentation, a job interview or a work fair, you can implement all the things that you have learned like personal projection, creating a status, confidence and so on,” added Betancourt, who has been part of TeatRUM for four years.

The group has their weekly meeting and workshop every Wednesday at 6:30 P.M. in Chardón 121 or you can find them on their Facebook page: Teatrum.


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