Latin Connection Magazine
La Gringa Novelera Image Credit: Latin Connection Magazine
La Gringa Novelera Image Credit: Latin Connection Magazine

La Gringa Novelera

Venezuela’s Loss Is Our Gain

Since I have started learning Spanish from telenovelas, I have noticed the abundance of telenovela talent coming from Venezuela. Venezuelans are leaving their beloved country, driven out by a corrupt and incompetent government that is failing its people. Many of these immigrants move to the U.S.A., and many settle in Miami. And luckily for us, many come to work in Novelaville.

Carlos Roa Viana is one such very recent émigré to Miami, and someone you should meet, especially if you, like me, love telenovelas! Carlos worked in telenovelas in Venezuela for 29 years, both in front of and behind the cameras. Before that, Carlos worked in theatre, but after a chance screen test at Radio Caracas Television (RCTV) he was cast in Senora, a famous telenovela written by Jose Antonio Cabrujas. Senora was based on, and inspired by, the Victor Hugo classic Les Miserables.

Some writers say that there are only two plots in literature: A Stranger Comes to Town and A Person Goes on a Journey, and that every story is a variation on one of those two themes. Great telenovelas combine both of them: The Count of Monte Cristo marries Les Miserables, and gives birth to a fantastic, crazy telenovela. Someone is wronged, leaves town (presumed dead), and when they return (in a new hairdo) no one recognizes them as they exact their revenge. Telenovelas owe such a debt to these stories that there is actually a well-known telenovela director named Victor Hugo Martinez, who directed the telenovela La Patrona, which was inspired by The Count of Monte Cristo, which proves my point.

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