By AARON RILEY
Aaron: I’d like to welcome actress and CCC student Amanda Padro.
Amanda: You know my major isn’t theatre, right?
Aaron: What is it?
Amanda: It’s Liberal Arts/Humanities.
Aaron: What about those who haven’t seen Beauty and the Beast and didn’t see how you were as Belle?
Amanda: I believe they’ll be releasing DVDs of the opening show. So for anybody who didn’t see it, you could see the opening night show on DVD.
Aaron: Ok, can you tell us about your acting style?
Amanda: With Belle, I had the Disney movie to go off of. I studied her movements, how she spoke, and the characteristics of a princess. I had to study and develop the characteristics very early so I could almost become the character. I tried not to watch too much of the movie because I didn’t want to become the character completely. I wanted to retain some of myself in the performance. It takes a lot of observation. Also, when reading the script and the songs, I find that you have to look at the context as much as the lines so you can portray the emotion of the words. And then the rest will follow. It’s observing when you have something to observe. When it’s something like The Crucible, when you obviously can’t observe the characters, or when it’s based off of a nonfiction event, I studied history. I looked to see how Puritan women acted, how quiet they were, I looked at paintings to see how they would sit or walk. It’s research and observation. I haven’t taken any acting classes yet. I’m taking my first class next semester with Deborah Bradshaw. But I’ve been able to come and sit in on a few of her classes. You want the audience to feel something, whether it’s happiness or sadness or even pity. You want to touch their souls. And you don’t ever want to let them know that what you’re doing is acting. You always want them to see you as the character you’re playing. Never act, feel.
Aaron: What are your favorite performances from other actors? I mean, both “celebrity” or “famous” actors and Cumberland County College actors.
Amanda: Goodness. Give me a moment to think. The man who played John Proctor in The Crucible here at CCC. The Crucible was a very good show. It was my first show here. It being such a serious play, we had a responsibility to portray events in Puritan times accurately. The witch trials did happen and hangings did take place. The actor who played John Proctor was Mark Yecco. I played his wife and we had to play off each other’s energy. And I think my performance was better because of his performance. A specific performance I like is Natalie Portman in V for Vendetta. I loved her performance and I thought it was wonderful. There are so many movies I like. Man, I can’t even think of them right now. I’ll get back to you on that.
Aaron: Did you act at all in high school?
Amanda: Yes. In 9th grade I was in a funny play. It was called A Midsummer Night’s Teen, a spin on the play A Midsummer Night’s Dream. It was my first lead role. In 10th grade I had a lead role in a play called Robin Hood: The Next Generation in the 9-10 building [at Vineland High School]. It wasn’t a musical, it was a street show. I played the daughter of Robin Hood. It wasn’t serious at all. In 12th grade I was in the chorus in Singing in the Rain. I got a callback for one of the leads but I didn’t get the part. So The Crucible was my fourth show. Actually it was my fifth show because I did a show in middle school but that doesn’t count. So Elizabeth Proctor was my first dramatic role ever, and I was very blessed to get a lead. So I haven’t been in theatre for my whole life. It’s just something I love to do.
Aaron: Are you acting right now?
Amanda: I’m going to audition for Bye Bye Birdie.
Aaron: Right now?
Amanda: Well, within the next two weeks.
Aaron: Were you in the “Night of Scenes” last semester?
Amanda: I was not. I believe only people in the Acting class can do Scene Night. Since I’m not, I can’t be in Scene Night. I would have liked to though. But in the Scene Night coming up I’m going to be an extra in one of my friend’s scenes. Hopefully.
Aaron: What are your favorite memories?
Amanda: First of all, when you and a bunch of actors are together almost everybody has that passion for it. And this is something I’ve just experienced now in college. I think these shows are Grade A quality while high school shows are like…B minus. Even though they were good shows, in college you’re usually working with people who want to pursue this as a profession. Everybody has that energy that is just like “wow.” During The Crucible, it was coming up on stage and being able to perform something that was adult and having that feeling of serving a purpose. It was being able to show to the audience what happened: something that was such a tragedy and something that was so sad. There were people in the audience crying or commenting that they felt as if they were eavesdropping on a conversation between a husband and his wife. Knowing that the audience felt like they were watching living history was incredible. Acting is not just entertainment. It’s a message you’re trying to evoke for the public. It was an amazing experience. Curtain calls are great too. Coming out, bowing and taking in the applause is a high that can’t be explained. I was talking to one of the women who was working with me during Beauty and the Beast. Since I was the last to come out I told her that it was like an incredible high that can’t be duplicated. She said, “I know. They should put addicts on stage and see if it’d give them applause addictions that’d break their drug addictions.”
Aaron: Out of all the roles in the world, in history, in all the plays in existence, what do you want to do?
Amanda: I’m a very young actor and I don’t even know if I want to pursue this as a profession. I’m wading the waters. But I guess I’m good at it. I’ve played such diverse roles I don’t even know who I’d want to play. Elizabeth Proctor and Belle are two completely opposing sides of the spectrum. I don’t know. If I continue to study and continue to practice and experience more shows, I know in my heart I can play even more diverse roles. I can’t tell you what I’d like to do next until I saw a script and saw it performed. I think any role is possible. Maybe not a man.