Christina Pflueger is an actress who appeared in the play The Lost Illegal; here is a link to her Facebook page:
Q: What made you interested in acting?
A: I’ve been immersed in the performing arts since I was a child, but acting wasn’t what I initially pursued. I tried ballet, tap dancing, choir, even playing the violin, all of which had positive impacts on me in one form or another. They gave me a taste of that spotlight that all true performers crave, but it left me craving for something much more fulfilling. In high school I was part of a group called FAYA (Fine Arts Youth Academy), and every summer students got together to put on massive musical productions. We did everything from stage managing, costumes, lighting, stage props and back drops, as well as promote and advertise for the productions. My very first musical with them was Joseph and the Technicolor Dream Coat. I wasn’t casted in any lead roles, didn’t even have a single line to separate me from the rest of the background choir. But that experience was like nothing I had ever encountered before and it satisfied that craving in me for something more. That’s the golden moment when I realized I wanted to pursue acting.
Q: What is the difference between acting on stage and acting on film?
A: Both stage and film performance can be very rewarding. I can’t think of a single person I know that wouldn’t mind seeing theirs or a loved ones face on a television or the big screen. I have had experience behind the camera as an extra and in a few commercials. They were fun, but to me the monotonous “Okay that was a great take, now back to one” made me lose my interest pretty quickly. The biggest, most obvious difference between the two is the instant response and gratification from performing live on stage. Hearing the audience laugh, cry, sigh, boo, scream, and clap in reaction to you pulling off a line or a character is the most rewarding part of acting on stage. That is what I live for.
Q: What kind of training have you had?
A: Honestly my training is pretty limited. I’ve had no fancy vocal or acting training, but I was given the opportunity to work with professionals through FAYA. That’s about all that I can claim.
Q: What is The Lost Illegal about?
A: The Lost Illegal was a play that I was in written by a local playwright. It was a semi comedic play concerning political issues based around current immigration laws. Basically an illegal alien crosses the border in order to see her son get married. A family who is very much opposed to the immigration issues stumbles upon her and tries to help keep her from getting caught at their own risk.
Q: What role did you play?
A: My characters name was Tanya Ellis and I played the grand daughter of a lesbian couple. In their youth they were very much involved in politics and rioting and these strong convictions were passed down to Tanya. It starts out with her grandmothers bailing her out of jail after being arrested at a protest, along with a handful of other people. This included the lost illegal. Tanya takes her under her wing and makes it her mission to help her avoid the authorities. She was a very strong willed, thick skinned character and one of the most difficult for me to try and connect with. It was the first time I had to try portraying someone who was so passionate about actual current events, as opposed to the happy go lucky musicals I was used too.
Q: How do you deal with stage fright?
A: Stage fright is a constant daily battle. I like to put on a brave face and act like it’s not a big deal, especially around those who have it worse than me. Just because I feel like my confidence will help build their own. But in all honesty I believe it keeps a person humble. It’s when an artist gets too comfortable that they lose all conviction. They lose that connection with the audience of being human, like the performance and those watching are beneath them. I try embracing my stage fright and working around it, as opposed to trying to conquer it.
Q: What kind of day job do you have and how does it affect your pursuit of acting?
A: I work at an old western theme park called Old Tucson Studios. It was where the famous westerns came to life, among many other blockbusters and classic movies. There is still filming that goes on today, but it has opened it’s doors to the general public to give the world a taste of what life was like in the old west. I work in the Grand Palace Saloon. I jump between playing a saloon girl and Lady Vivian, who is the madam that owns the saloon. Basically, I sing, dance, improv, and act for a living on a live stage. I have worked there for two seasons, and I love it there. So it doesn’t really affect my pursuit of acting. The down side is that I have reached my peak at Old Tucson. It’s very difficult in Tucson to find a job in the performing arts that actually pays the bills. So basically the only down side is I have nothing bigger to work towards unless I move.
Q: What is your weirdest backstage story?
A: I’m not sure if it can be classified as weird but it’s definitely funny. I worked on a production of the musical My Fair Lady. We did two evening performances, and the night that I wasn’t playing the lead I was stage managing. Now there’s a part where the main characters Eliza Doolittle and Henry Higgins are fighting and she throws his slippers at him. When the slippers fly back stage it was my job to gather them and set them just off stage, so when Henry came back for them he could just pick them up. I got distracted and forgot to go after them. Just as he was headed for his shoes I snapped back to reality, scooped up the shoes and pushed them onto the stage. What should have been a very serious moment turned comedic as the shoes flew past Henry on the stage. The audience cracked up while I stood backstage just horrified.
Q: What famous role would you most like to play?
A: If I could play any role it would be Elphaba from Wicked. Her character is so dynamic and deep and controversial. She’s just a girl who wants to be accepted by society and tries to do what’s right even though it constantly backfires in her face. Which I think most anyone has issues with in some capacity. But more than anything she’s just a compelling, kick ass character and I would love the chance to be able to represent her.
Q: What do you think would be the best way to get people to see more live theater?
A: I feel the stigma around theater, especially musical theater needs to be addressed. Honestly this question makes me think about the t.v. show Glee. About how the Glee club was on the bottom of the food chain and how much the students went through to prove themselves. Although musical theater has come a long way since I was in high school, it still seems to hold a negative undertone with younger generations. I believe that theater and the fine arts need to be implemented more seriously in our schools curriculum. Younger generations need to develop a deeper connection and appreciation for the stage and the courageously talented people who work on it. They are our future and who will be building the interest in theater in the future, who will be keeping the arts alive. So that is my answer. There are plenty of plays and musicals that are amazing with captivating story lines that keep audiences constantly coming back for more, so that’s not the problem. What needs to be done is to get rid of the stigma and remind todays youth what theater really is, really stinking cool.
Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects:)