Meet Pearl Paramadilok in "The Heidi Chronicles"

August 23, 2016
Stories

"The Heidi Chronicles" by Wendy Wasserstein is directed by Sara Carranza and stars Pearl Paramadilok. Comprised of a series of interrelated scenes, the play traces the coming of age of Heidi Holland, a successful art historian, as she tries to find her bearings in a rapidly changing world. 

"The Heidi Chronicles" runs at Prop Thtr from September 2 through October 08. The play is produced by The Cuckoo's Theater Project and tickets can be purchased here: http://heidi2016.brownpapertickets.com/

What's your personal story? I am from two worlds and I don't belong in either of them - I was born in Chicago and raised by Thai-Chinese parents who struggled to feed and put their kids through school. You know, the immigrant life. I had a really hard time navigating school because my parents didn't understand what it was like to grow up in this society: dealing with popularity, being made fun of, and why people looked at me differently. Somehow I made it through to college graduating with a BBA in Marketing from Loyola University Chicago. I hated it. I have always loved art and science but I went into business thinking I would have a good job after college. I was wrong. Luckily, I did theater at the same time. Not because I wanted to act but because I wanted to get over my stage fright... or be famous... I don't remember. However, 

I found that acting was more meaningful than just fame.

I have been acting in theater since 2008 and from then I also have been modeling and have appeared in commercials. I have been very lucky in my life to be able to do this.

What's your character's story in "The Heidi Chronicles"?I actually play Heidi! WHAT? There is a given story description that you can read but I really don't like it. So...Heidi is an odd ball or is she? She is a very intelligent, introverted, big heart-ed, sarcastic asshole who goes through life trying to find her place in the world. We see several scenes with her struggling to fit in society, struggling with her friends, and struggling with her loves. 

Society keeps telling her how to be a person and at what level she is allowed to be content. 

One of her loves, Scoop, keeps messing with her feelings for him. And her friends start moving on with their lives from her.

How does your character overcome those challenges?That's the story of "The Heidi Chronicles". I can't really say much, spoilers, but she deals with the pull and push of what society thinks her role should be. She comes into her own through the many unfortunate events in her life.

Any last comments?

I believe I am the first Asian American to play Heidi Holland as far as I can tell. 

But you shouldn't go because of that, you should go because this story is for OUR time and the cast and crew are amazing. They bring a different element to this dramedy worthy of this classic staple of modern theater.

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Mia Park
Mia Park shares her passion of discovery through teaching yoga and acting. Currently studying acupuncture and Chinese medicine, Mia is also a producer, writer, motivator, and celebrator of life. Mia has lived in Chicago for over twenty years and calls this city that works her home.

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DePaul student Harmony Zhang ​acts in The House of Bernarda Alba​​ by Federico García Lorca, directed by Jeremy Aluma​. ​Lorca’s final play set in the provincial Andalusia, Spain, ignites with the funeral service of Bernarda Alba’s second husband. Ever determined that her five grown daughters maintain a house of honor, Bernarda declares they will have an eight-year mourning period of absolute seclusion. When the eldest daughter receives a large inheritance, potentially sweeping her away from this fate and into an engagement with a handsome bachelor, conflict brews among the sisters repressed by Bernarda’s rule. Set in a time of tumultuous political climate, this story explores the underbelly of what happens when a tyrant seizes power. The House of Bernarda Alba runs Tuesday through Saturday at 7:30 PM, and Saturday and Sunday at 2:00 PM November 7, through November 12, 2017. Free tickets can be reserved on October 27, 2017 at noon at the box office, by calling 773-325-7900, or emailing theatreboxoffice@depaul.edu. Press Opening is Wednesday, November 8, 2017 at 7:30 PM. **Preview is Tuesday, November 7, 2017 at 7:30 PM. The House of Bernarda Alba will be performed in Room 403 of The Theatre School at DePaul University at 2350 N Racine Ave, Chicago, IL 60614 What's your personal story? I grew up in Tucson, Arizona as one of very few Chinese Americans in my neighborhood. I remember that my sister and I were the only Chinese kids in my whole elementary school. However, my family attended a Chinese church in downtown Tucson, and I also attended Tucson Chinese School where I learned to read and write Mandarin Chinese. I’m very thankful for the persistence that my parents had to have my sister and me grow up learning Chinese and holding on to our ethnic culture. However, growing up, I felt like I was never fully Chinese nor fully American. I didn’t feel the need to blend in with the other kids, but I also desired to connect better with others. An opportunity came up in kindergarten when the entire grade put on a show for the whole school. This was the first time that I felt like I was part of a team, part of a larger group effort to create something fun and beautiful. I remember that year, our production was called ‘To the Future and Beyond,’ and I sang the final solo of the show. In middle school and high school, I continued to take drama classes whenever possible. I loved learning about the lives of people so different from me, memorizing my lines, and sharing those stories with audiences. In college at Duke University, I decided to major in Psychology and Theater Studies, and also performed in three of the Theater Department’s Mainstage shows. Currently, I’m in my second year of my MFA in Acting program at The Theatre School at DePaul University. What's your character's story in "The House of Bernarda Alba”? My character’s name is Angustias, which means anguish or distress. She is the eldest unmarried daughter of Bernarda Alba and is already 39. Angustias is the sole daughter of Bernarda Alba’s former husband, while the rest of her sisters are the daughters of Antonio Maria Benavides, the man they are all mourning at the top of the show. Angustias’ father was rich, so when Antonio Maria Benavides dies and the property must be divided, Angustias’ share of the estate is much larger than that of her sisters. This wealth that Angustias has is then attractive to Pepe, who is trying to marry her, and while Angustias truly believes that he loves her for her, she really just wants to be loved and free from the oppression and alienation she feels within the walls of Bernarda’s house. What challenges does your character face telling this story? Angustias is constantly struggling with the antagonistic energy she receives from her sisters. No matter what she does, her sisters find some way to make her feel even more alienated and separate from the group. No one really gives her a chance to share more about herself. Angustias is always defending herself, but somehow it always comes off as offensive towards her sisters. She doesn’t feel understood. She wants her mother’s approval, but also doesn’t feel fully understood by her either. Angustias has a hard time in this story, because she doesn’t feel like anyone is on her side. How does the character overcome those challenges? Angustias changes throughout the play—I won’t give away too much, but in some ways, Angustias is redeemed from all of her bitterness at the end of the play when her sisters discover how they have wronged her. While Angustias behaved more out of spite at the top of the show, she begins to genuinely ask for help, advice, and empathy at the end of the play. Angustias overcomes her challenges of alienation towards the end of the play when she risks being judged by her mother and sisters by being more vulnerable, and seeking to find the truth, even if she gets hurt in the end. Any other comments? I hope that this play helps audience members to be thankful for the people in life who love them, to hold them close, and to try to understand each other instead of being blinded by individual desires. Why not work together? Why not be a team and create something beautiful? Life is too short not to make the most of it every day. Thank you so much for your time!
Mia Park
11/13/2017