Q&A: Halle Pederson (12)

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Halle Pederson (12) performs her dying scene during the theatre company’s first performance of “Into the Woods.” Pederson started acting in middle school when she performed as an orphan in Lake Central’s production of ‘Annie.’

Rachel Front

Q: How did you get involved in theater?

A: My parents got divorced when I was rather young. I was having a rough time, and I just needed an outlet to release stress. A friend of mine in middle school said “hey we should audition for ‘Annie’ at Lake Central because they need middle schoolers to play the orphans.” I wasn’t really sure about it at first, but then she convinced me. I made it through all the callbacks and I actually got in.

Q: What do you do in theater?

A: I act in shows, I’ve done musicals, regular plays [and] I’ve done tech. Each part of theater is super important. I [try to] learn all that I can from each show.

Q: What’s your favorite thing to do in theater?

A: It would definitely be being on stage. Don’t get me wrong, I love doing the technical stuff. It’s so cool being able to see everything come together and all of the stuff that happens behind the scenes, but I do love being on stage. [I love] performing for people, making them laugh and taking them away from everyday life for a while.

Q: What’s the most difficult part of acting?

A: The most difficult part of acting, I think, is trying to become another person. When I’m Jack’s mom I’m not [myself]. I’m actually not an angry person all of the time, I’m usually pretty happy. I actually hit William Kruzan (12) with a spoon several times, and I was so scared to hit him with it because I didn’t want to hurt him. So that’s how me and this character differ a lot. She’s always angry, she’s very much a realist, and I am not. I’m a big dreamer, and I’m not very physically violent either. I think [the most difficult part] is definitely becoming a different person and developing their character.

Q: What responsibilities have you taken on in theater here at LC?

A: I have [Mrs. Pam Neth, Arts] for three different classes. I take a Theater Production Managment class, Advanced Theater and [I take] Career Exploration where I learn how to be a stage manager and a theater teacher all at once. Because of the Theater Production Managment class, I work some of the events that happen after school in the auditorium, and I get paid for those [events]. Mrs. Neth and I really rely on each other, I feel, for input on things that we are working on. I think that for all that I’ve been involved in theater she has helped me realize what I actually want to do once I get out of high school.

Q: How has being so involved in theater affected your everyday life?

A: I’m tired, all the time, especially during tech week. Our rehearsals run kind of late, but that’s normal especially with everyday shows. So you really have to learn to manage your time. Knowing what’s important and what has to come first is a big part.

Q: Has being a part of theater helped you mature or changed you?

A: I’m definitely a lot more open. Now I am definitely not afraid of making a fool of myself because it’s literally what you do in theater, which is not something I would have done if I hadn’t taken theater. I was very shy. I was a very closed off person, but now that I have done theater for so long it’s opened me up. Especially during our Advanced Theater improv shows, you make a fool of yourself in those constantly.

Q: What made you decide to pursue theater in college?

A: Mrs. Neth has been a really big factor in that. Shes shown me that teaching kids about theater is super important because it helps them with self-esteem. Research shows that attendance goes up when students are involved in certain classes, fine arts classes especially. It also helps with mental health, since theater is such an accepting place. The people involved [with theater] are all so caring, and I’ve loved everyone I’ve met through theater. I just hope that by me passing theater along and teaching others it will open this whole new world for them like it did for me.