Lilla Solymos moved to Edmonton from Hungary in 2009, when she was two years old. She enrolled in the Citadel Theatre’s Foote Theatre School at six, which led to her playing Tiny Tim in A Christmas Carol (a show she’s been in three times since), the title role in 2019’s Matilda, and the terrifying Rhoda in last summer’s The Bad Seed. At only 13 years old, she’s one of the busiest actors in town.
What’s your first memory of performing?
I’ve always liked to dance and sing for my family. My family all like to dance together so I was always running around, singing and dancing.
Do you have a favourite actor?
That’s really hard, because everyone I’ve worked with so far are like, so good, and I can learn a lot from them, but if I had to choose one person, it would be Kimberley Rampersad, who was the choreographer for Matilda. Because, in my mind, she represents that you can do anything because she does all sorts of things like director, actor and dancer, too. And that’s important to me. But acting is number one.
How did you end up playing the terrifying Rhoda in The Bad Seed?
Andrew MacDonald-Smith, who was in Matilda, asked if I would be interested in reading the script and seeing if there was anything I wouldn’t be comfortable doing. At first I couldn’t see myself doing that, but then I thought, I could try this. It’s a good challenge.
What were you worried about doing?
The evil grin (laughs). And basically, just being …
How did you get the grin to work?
A lot of practicing in front of the mirror, and practicing with my parents. And I actually took some of what I did with Matilda, because she had this mischievous grin. So I took that and tried to make it evil and not playful. And that helped me a lot.
Any other challenges to playing her?
Well there was just this creepy thing about her that’s like, she’s so perfect, so you have to act all innocent, which is not too hard. But deep down, you know she’s actually doing this to trick people. It’s like, wow, she would actually do that.
What’s your favourite part about acting in Edmonton?
Theatre is special to me because you get to do it several times, and every time is different. And unexpected things can happen. Like something goes wrong, and then you need to improvise. And I really like the environment here because everyone’s nice and they treat me like I belong, and I just like the feeling that we’re entertaining people.
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This article appears in the April 2020 issue of Avenue Edmonton.