Meet the DON'T EAT THE MANGOS Cast: Yetta Gottesman

Hunter Nelson
Behind the Scenes
Mar 11, 2020

In our second interview for DON'T EAT THE MANGOS, Yetta Gottesman (Ismelda) tells us about survival jobs and the joys of working with this team.

How did you get into acting - what was your first gig?

I never considered pursuing acting until I was in college as a Communications Major.  I had been acting all my life but didn’t think of it as a career. While in college, films would sometimes do casting sessions there, looking to discover new talent.  I would get callbacks which led me to take acting lessons, which I hadn’t taken. Once I graduated college, I enrolled in a two-year Meisner program and supported myself while temping.  I answered 65 plus phone lines at an emerging markets trading desk in New York City.  Every time the market moved the phone lines would all ring.  Good times. Shortly after finishing acting school, I auditioned and booked the role of Ana in “Real Women Have Curves” at Repertorio Español in NYC -- the production was in Spanish.  I have very fond memories of doing that play.  I was hooked.

Elena Estér (Yinoelle) & Gottesman . Photo Credit: Jennifer Reiley.

You worked on Don't Eat the Mangos at Sundance. What do you like about playwright Ricardo Pérez González's writing? Why do you keep coming back? What do you like about working with Ricardo and director David Mendizábal?

I love the honesty in Ricardo’s writing. The humor. How he writes strong, complicated and flawed female characters.  He is constantly working on the play while in rehearsal.  At Sundance he re-wrote and tweaked, which continues to be the case today, even at preview number 2.  He strives for realness, no such thing as tidy endings with a ribbon on top.  I love that.  I also love the local references to Puerto Rico, which I rarely get to hear in theater.

Ricardo and David are dreams to work with.  I love and respect them as the professionals and as humans.  David is one of the smartest directors I have worked with. He is insightful, thorough and his instinct is sharp. He has an understanding of the text and he knows how to communicate effectively with actors.  How to direct with actions not story.  How to speak to each actor individually in a way they will understand. I also belly laugh all day. They are a funny duo. Basically, I keep coming back to them because of the quality of material and the joy.

Gottesman, González, Estér, and Marilet Martinez in rehearsal. Photo Credit: Hunter Nelson.
Gottesman, Estér, Martinez, and Mendizábal in rehearsal. Photo Credit: Sonia Fernandez.
Gottesman and Wilma Bonet (Mami). Photo Credit: Jennifer Reiley.

Hunter Nelson

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