Friday, 21 August 2009

Say hello to the delightful Lara

A couple of months ago I began following a lovely blog titled Her name was Lola and before long this site became a firm favorite. Reading this blog was like sharing morning tea with a good friend. Translation? Her name was Lola put me in a good mood and provided me with quality conversation. 
'And who is the author of Her name was Lola?' you might ask. It is none other than the radiant actress Lara Hillier.

Lara has grown up almost living and breathing theatre. Her performance in one recent stage production which required her to take on a multitude of roles was described by one critic, Alex Yuschik, as mesmerizing to watch on stage"... "delivered her lines with such raw emotion that the audience gasped"... "Her words reached the theater’s rafters, compelling and bewitching her listeners and rousing the crowd to an enthusiastic applause at the end of her performance".* 
If this is Lara now, just imagine what her future will bring. I suspect, with her talent, work ethics and positive life force Lara will continue to draw fans both on stage and on the blogging page.

When you first thought, "Right, I am going to start a blog", what was the driving force behind this decision?
I was fortunate enough to have had the opportunity to study abroad in London, UK in the middle of my third year at Carnegie Mellon University, where I attended the School of Drama. I was all-at-once tremendously excited and tremendously anxious to be so far away from home, and entirely on my own, for the very first time. The blog began as a means of overseas communication, really. I discovered, through posting on Her name was Lola, I could keep my friends and family back home in-the-know about my various travels and adventures abroad.

Reading back through your blog I can see you are well travelled. Is there any city that is a particular favourite for you? If so, explain why.
Since seeing Paris for the first time, I must admit I’ve become somewhat of a Francophile.  It was dreadfully cold and rainy for the entirety of my stay, but it’s just the most extraordinarily romantic city in the world.  The architecture, the food, and the fashion!  Le sigh!  Everyone dresses their best in Paris.

I understand that as a child you came to acting in a round about way. First you were in a choir, which then led to an acting role. Tell me a bit more about this first experience.

For three years of my childhood, I was a part of a marvelous children's choir. At the end of each year, we performed in large concerts at Carnegie Music Hall, in Pittsburgh. It was an enormous deal for a ten year old. For one such concert, a song called for a small, comic role (the exasperated wife of a Revolutionary War-era soldier). At the audition, we stood singing the chorus over and over again; and as time went by, children were asked to be seated (due to lack of facial expression, lack of interest, etc.). Not me! I remember being so thrilled at the prospect of performing I hammed it up. Big time. And I got the part. I remember running offstage at the concert into my mother's arms, exclaiming, "I felt just like Carol Burnett!" And that was that.

I find that more funny, mad scenarios tend to take place backstage of theatre productions than compared to say working in an office. Tell us about one memorable moment that took place during one of your productions.
This past winter, I was performing in a production of Mary Zimmerman’s METAMORPHOSES at the Pittsburgh Public Theater. The play calls for an enormous, onstage pool (something like 4500 gallons of water) and my character must dive in at the end of an extremely traumatic scene. Backstage there were Boy’s and Girl’s “Hotboxes” to warm us up, make quick changes, and dry hair. I can’t tell you how many times I went running, water in my eyes, straight in to the Boy’s box. We played Gods and Goddesses onstage, but behind the scenes? It wasn’t pretty.

Who are your role models? Explain why you chose those people.
For one, my little sister. In her time on this planet (and on the soccer field) she has encountered more injury than most do in a lifetime; but she has a fierce spirit and the most extraordinary sense of humor. The ultimate spitfire, I will always admire her ability to pick herself up, brush herself off, and begin again.
I hold a deep admiration for Audrey Hepburn. With the utmost grace and beauty, she managed to utilize her movie star status to raise awareness and aid impoverished children all over the world, as a goodwill ambassador to UNICEF. She led, what I believe to be, a truly beautiful life. And my, but wasn’t she glamorous?

Name one thing that you would simply love to try, but just have not got around to it yet.
I would love to learn a language. After all those years of Spanish and Latin in school, I wasn’t committed, and nothing stuck. I adore listening to others speak French (again, with the Francophilia!) and I would truly love to learn.

What has been the best advice you’ve received in the acting profession?
The best advice? It’s a business.

Describe the tastiest breakfast you have ever had.
I had the most exquisite Eggs Benedict at The Café at the Frick (home to Henry Clay Frick, one of America's greatest industrialists). The Frick estate remains one of my favorite places to visit in all of Pittsburgh.

For more information about Lara visit the following online sites:

* Quotes from article A Splashing Success by Alex Yuschik.

Thank you Lara!