Theatre Fest director shares his enthusiasm for program

Jay Harrison, Staff Reporter

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Earlier this month, the 45th annual Theatre Festival at Illinois State University took place, with the theme “I Still Believe.”
Thirty-six Lancers attended this theatrical extravaganza, which included 162 high schools and almost 5,000 student thespians.

Students involved are always enthusiastic. “I think that Theatre Fest is a great opportunity to go hang with friends and have some fun watching shows and participating in theatre activities,” senior Riley Mahoney said.
But the staff and administrators who make it happen are no less enthusiastic.

Following is a brief interview with Illinois High School Theatre Festival Director Victor Pilolla.

What is your favorite part of Theatre Fest?
Too hard to choose; it’s all my favorite, every part–from the opening ceremony with Under The Streetlamp, to professionals leading workshops with aspiring actors and actresses, to tech directing this year’s Allstate show Aida.

What do you want kids to take away from Theatre Fest?
That theatre is art, [and] there isn’t one way to do it. Theatre is alive. Every time you go see a show it’s different. You breathe the same life that those actors are experiencing that day that very moment. Also, [it’s] a very fun three days.

Did you go to Theatre Fest as a high schooler?
No, you flatter me. I wasn’t that young but I am happy to have such a wonderful experience.

What got you started in theatre?
Freshman year my parents forced me into a 125-person production of the Wizard of Oz. As a four-foot, seven-inch munchkin I got on stage, said what few lines I had, and was hooked ever since. I even went to high school with Dan Castellaneta. You may not know his name but you know his voice as that of Homer Simpson.