In a woman who has had a string of roles across all media, PAUL LAMBIS finds someone who only sees the defining moments in hindsight
Christina Marouchou is no stranger to Cyprus’ radio, TV, theatre and film audiences. Her instantly identifiable voice dominates the airwaves on local radio stations, whether she is hosting her own show or advertising a product.
Although she has spent a lot of time in the media, Marouchou has also wowed audiences with her acting performances. “Portraying Caterina Cornaro, the last queen of Cyprus, was my most difficult job to date,” she told the Cyprus Mail. “It was a monologue, and from the first table read to opening night, I had to be off-book and perform in 16 days.”
Her exemplary performance proved she is capable of working under pressure and her performance not only transported audiences to late-medieval Cyprus, but also shone the spotlight on a powerful and legendary persona.
Although Marouchou claims she has no personal favourites from her extensive acting resume, she confesses that portraying Cyprus’ last monarch was a “particularly fond and memorable journey.”
Christina Marouchou was born in Toronto, Canada, and moved with her family to Cyprus when she was five years old. “I had always wanted to be an actress so going to drama school after high school for me was a given.”
And she has always admired her fellow actors for their ability, work ethic, discipline, kindness, but most of all, their humility. “Although there are so many wonderful and gifted actors both internationally and locally that I admire, I have never harboured any jealousy or wished to emulate anyone else.”
Marouchou prefers to immerse herself in each part, conducting extensive research to completely comprehend the significance of each character in a story. “I want to understand where my character comes from, try and see things that they would have seen, even try to experience things that would be familiar to the character, if that allows, and I take inspiration from that. Finally, you add imagination.”
Her portfolio ranges from comedic roles to more dramatic parts that include a victim of sexual violence in 74, a military lawyer in a local production of A Few Good Men, and a young nun in Doubt, to historical figures such as Arodafnousa and Queen Valentina in Eleonora of Cyprus, and Myrtle Logue, wife of speech therapist Lionel George Logue – who helped King George VI manage his stammer – in a Cyprus staging of The King’s Speech.
She finds acting on stage to be the most appealing, though. “I cannot put a price on the excitement of a live performance. When you engage the audience on stage, a magical thing happens; you can hear a pin drop in the silence, which indicates how engrossed the audience is in your performance.”
But acting in front of a camera she feels presents a number of challenges that interfere with the ability to focus. “It makes it hard to maintain my energy and concentration on a high note because there are so many people involved with the technical side of things, such as setting up a scene and lighting a set; the film process frequently takes hours before an actor performs.”
As for the radio, she describes ‘life’ behind the microphone as “blissful” as her presence in front of a camera and a live audience. “I consider myself very lucky to have been doing this for so long. It is one of those opportunities that appeared out of nowhere, and this month marks 17 years on air with NJOY.”
Unlike most of her peers, Marouchou refuses to view events in her performing career and life in a linear fashion. “We are so much more than what we have done, what we have accomplished, or even what has happened to us.
“Our lives are made up of different defining moments, and typically you can only see those in hindsight. The joyful ones simply bring you much-needed pleasure, while the difficult ones highlight your strengths and areas for improvement.”
As a person who is constantly on the move, Marouchou seeks fulfilment outside the spotlight, where she can concentrate on initiatives that are important to her. “I consider myself a cat guardian, and my husband and I enjoy volunteering at Nicosia’s Linear Park, where we care for stray cats.”
Although she has chosen not to disclose details of her next project, she maintains it is in accordance with her principles, which she believes have defined her as an individual. “Know how to pick your battles, but above all, keep it real.”