Arts and Entertainment

Victoria Falendysh: From the Central Stage to the Renaissance Faire

By: Amy Liao (283)

We all know Central is filled with stressed students who spend their nights studying for tests or doing hours of homework; but it’s important to acknowledge the many interesting things talented students are doing outside of academics. For senior Victoria Falendysh (281), her talent lies in her love for acting. As soon as she could talk, Victoria started acting in the Ukrainian acting community but became less active in middle school.  This changed when Victoria came to Central and took notice of the several theater productions going on. That was when she took the opportunity to be a part of it all and participated in The Christmas Carol and Big Fish her freshman year. 

In The Christmas Carol, Victoria particularly wanted the part of the ghost because she thought “they were the most interesting and versatile characters.” It was during this production where she was taught by Mr. Burns, the theater teacher at Central, the value of physicality. Victoria learned to incorporate more elongated leg movements and excuoentated arm movements in her acting, which she gives credit to making her ghost character more memorable. However, right before the show, Victoria had lost someone very close to her and was thinking about removing herself from the process all together. Nonetheless, Mr. Burns encouraged and inspired her to continue acting, saying “The show must go on!” Victoria reflected on this experience, saying she learned to put herself outside of what was going on in her life, which is what she applied to life aside from acting. 

Despite Victoria claiming that she cannot sing for her life, she went on to audition for Big Fish after Mr. Burns urged her to do so. She ended up being appointed to lead student choreographer, where she had a dancing role in every number and developed routines for students with the choreographer Ms. Tracy. She was even able to put together her own waltz for a team of given students. Victoria believes Central has made her more confident in her abilities as an actress, as she felt she was much more seasoned and used to singing and dancing after doing it quite often in Big Fish

Unfortunately, this was Victoria’s last production at Central due to COVID-related difficulties, but it wouldn’t be the last of her acting. Last April, Victoria attended a theater show and was given the chance to audition for the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire, where she would later become the youngest paid professional actress in the cast by playing the role of the shepherdess. There, she worked alongside many experienced actors, professional directors, celebrity voice coaches, and even Hollywood costume designers. Victoria endured many hardships, which she says her training at Central was “invaluable to her ability to perform at the Faire.” These challenges included heat exhaustion from having to walk for miles in 90 degree weather as an improv character, chatting with passerby all while in a tight corset rain or shine. In total, she talked to about 5,000 people a day, having to learn Renaissance era language and character building, as well as experimenting with body language and facial expressions. Furthermore, she experienced being physically touched, an unfortunate downside to working with so many people in the entertainment industry she says. On the bright side, Victoria recounts that “it was a wonderful experience, and for all of the negative people that I encountered, there were so many more positive ones.” She happily reminisced over being made into magnets and being given stuffed sheep, an homage to her character as the shepherdess, by visitors of the Faire. 

As a senior, Victoria would definitely like to be on stage in college and wants to keep acting in her life, although she isn’t sure she wants to pursue it as a final career. Her advice to anyone looking to get into acting? Put yourself out there. If you’re struggling, know there are always people willing to help you; and lastly, if you’re nervous before a show, don’t imagine people naked (it doesn’t help). For Central kids specifically: look into the theater club with Mr. Burns, check out the choir, and take every opportunity to be on the stage. Don’t limit yourself at Central.

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