• Oliver Boon

Critic meets Theresa Philomena

Updated: Feb 15

For my first interview in a series I'm calling “Critic meets…” I met up with the wonderful Theresa Philomena.


CRITIC

What made you want to be an actor?

THERESA

Since my childhood I literally don't remember a time when I didn't want to become an actor. It was always 100% clear to me. My mom didn't want me to become an actor. She kind of ignored it at the beginning because it was a five-year-old saying it. When I was 12, my mom showed me the ground plans for her doctor's office and told me that someday it would be mine and I was like, “No, I wanna be an actor”. She's now completely supportive. I understand that she wanted me to do something that would be more financially stable but it just wouldn't make me happy. We had a huge garden that my sister and I, as kids, would just run around and play in. Your imagination is so much bigger when you're a kid and I feel my imagination made me want to become an actor.

CRITIC

Besides acting, do you have other creative outputs?

THERESA

I like painting. I haven't painted for a while because it can be hard to find time. There came a point where it wasn't enough for me to just use brushes, so I went into a sort of abstract painting period, using my hands instead!

I was asked to paint a Greek sculpture for the show You Can’t Take It With You. I'll bring it home to my mom because she is my biggest fan when it comes to painting. I then painted a Mondrian type painting for a production of Alan Ayckbourn’s Absent Friends. When I asked to, I was like "sure, 100%", then I saw how big they wanted it to be and it was insane! I only had a week to finish it so I painted for 4 hours a day. Most days I would stay late in the prop shop to keep on painting it.

I only had a week to finish it so I painted for 4 hours a day. Most days I would stay late in the prop shop to keep on painting it.



CRITIC

Back to acting! What do you currently have in the works?


THERESA

I just finished filming a role in a web series called Gritty & Pretty. It's about a girl boxer. I play a German girl that works at the boxing gym. It was a very sarcastic deadpan role, which I had a lot of fun with, because it's so stereotypical! It's always fun to play those parts. The series is about the girl and an old friend who's an influencer and they meet again and run the gym together. I've watched some of it already as it was being edited and it looks like a lot of fun. It's so cool to go back and watch the film so long after you did it, to reminisce about the day you had on set. The director and writer is Xenia Leblanc who's also the main character, along with Kelly Russo who is co-producing. It was really cool to be a part of such a collaborative process. The series is made up of five short episodes that are being released this month!

CRITIC

What about on stage? Tell us about a recent production you were in!

THERESA

I recently played Judas Iscariot's mother in The Last Days of Judas Iscariot. A guy came up to me after the play and asked me, "you’re the mother, right?" I said, "yes." He was like "so it's all your fault” and my heart just broke. From my point of view, Judas was innocent, because as a mother, it’s hard to turn your back on your child. I feel very connected with children in general. So that whole monologue was obviously about a parent losing their sick child and the first line I had to say to start off the play just killed me every time. “No parent should have to bury a child”.

This was the first time that I actually cried on stage. It was really daunting at first for me. I told my director, Betty Karlen, about my fears, because I could get to that point in rehearsal but I was terrified of going on stage and not being able to. She was cool to work on it with me. The last night, Betty came up to me and said that my objective for the opening monologue tonight was to say goodbye and as soon as she said that to me, I already began to cry. Working on Judas Iscariot gave me a new way of prepping, especially for drama, even though Judas Iscariot isn't really a drama. I had a dramatic part so that play was a drama for me. You make yourself the center of the story, no matter how big or small your part is.

CRITIC

Do you have a favorite actor?

THERESA

Meryl Streep. Hands down. I like everything she's been in. I love how she never gets stuck in playing one type of role. I also loved her in Mamma Mia. I think it's insane that she was able to move so much and she had never really sung before. I mean, she's not really a dancer/singer type, and I was so impressed with just that. Another reason I like her is the fact that she's a 21-time nominated Oscar winner, but can also be box office entertainment. I just feel like you can give her any kind of role and she'll make something of it.

CRITIC

Favorite movie?

THERESA

The first thing that came to my mind is The Dark Knight actually. I don't like that it came into my head because the only reason why I would say that is because I was in love with Heath Ledger’s performance. I’m not actually the biggest fan of Batman, but if you took all of the Joker’s scenes in the Dark knight, it would be my absolute favorite movie. I just think his performance is untouchable.

CRITIC

Dream Role?

THERESA

Something Post-Apocalyptic. A warrior, maybe an Amazonian because I'm tall, you know, but also because I have some stage combat experience. I started taking some classes a couple of months ago at the Academy of Theatrical Combat. It’s run by a couple, Dan and Jan, though I’ve mostly worked more, individually with Jan. They're really great as team in that he gives you all of the technical aspects. Jan's very good at helping you with your individual needs. At one point, I had hurt my neck before the class, and I told her about it. She said to take it easier because its always more important to be safe, which I think is great to teach. I can't wait to go back!

CRITIC

What advice would you give your younger self?

THERESA

Just do it.

I grew up in Germany and there's this whole cultural pressure to have a job that pays a steady income. You know, you have to be able to pay for your bread. So I got a negative reaction which obviously impacted my self-esteem. There was a time where I wasn't sure whether to carry on but I had my best friend and my sister who always believed in me and supported me. When I told my best friend I got into the school she jumped into my arms. She was so happy for me!

CRITIC

What was the last show you saw?

THERESA

BLACKBOXING. It was a show that I saw at last year's Hollywood Fringe Festival by Matt Richey.

CRITIC

Favorite Word?

THERESA

Coronation. I don't know why, I just remember reading a Shakespeare play and I saw the word coronation. It just stuck with me. I love how regal it sounds.

CRITIC

What brought you to LA?

THERESA

I graduated in 2018 at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in Hollywood. I don't remember applying for the school. I just remember at one point I was looking at American schools because I wanted to know if I would get in. And then... I did!

CRITIC

Last question; do you have any Hidden Gems in LA that more people should know about?

THERESA

There’s this late-night cafe I really like on Franklin called the Bourgeois Pig. It's really cute and they have so many different teas like lemon and ginger. When I've been there, I’ve seen a lot of writers and you can just feel the level of creativity in the room is through the roof.



https://www.theresaphilomena.com/

https://www.imdb.com/name/nm10651691/

https://www.instagram.com/theresa.philomena/


https://theatricalcombat.com/about.html

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt10090354/