Student of the Week: Riley Hill-Kartel
Riley Hill-Kartel was chosen as this week’s student of the week because she is involved in a lot of extra-curricular activities and still manages to do well in school. She was just a part of Centennial’s fall play, The Rainmaker, and played the role of Lizzie. She is also a captain on the dance team and is in the Illinois High School All State show: Memphis. Riley is an exceptional student, performer, and person, which makes her perfect for the Student of the Week.
The Centinal: So you just finished The Rainmaker, what was your favorite part about being in that play?
Riley: My favorite part about being in this show was that it really challenged me as a performer. I haven’t done a ton of acting and doing this show really opened my eyes to the technical and “mechanical” sides of it. It made me much more conscious of w hat it means to be a character vs. a caricature. It was also really great to be a character where I could be very serious and controlling as well as comedic and venerable. It’s rare that a character has all of those elements.
The Centinal: Would you say that you relate to your character at all, or was she completely opposite of your personality?
Riley: Parts of it were nothing like me at all, but others were a lot like me. The most fun and challenging part of acting for me is deciding how you want to play a character, but more importantly how you add a little bit of yourself to it. In my opinion, that’s what makes it authentic and entertaining. So there were parts where I chose to make the character more sassy because that’s how I would have handled the situation.
The Centinal: This show also had a really interesting cast. How was it being the only girl with six other guys?
Riley: It’s definitely something I won’t forget. At times I felt kind of lonely because they would be doing guy things, and I was all by myself in my dressing room. But for the most part we all just became a family (it sounds corny I know), but they all treated me like their little sister and took care of me. It was kind of fun because I don’t have any brothers, so I got to experience what it might be like to have six brothers.
The Centinal: Now that it’s over, how will you be spending your time?
Riley: Right now I’m a dance captain and part of the ensemble of the Illinois High School All State show: Memphis. The show is in January at Illinois High School Theatre Fest, which takes place in Champaign this year. About 50 kids from around the state are either a part of the cast or tech crew, and we meet to rehearse one weekend every month. So I’ll be doing that up until the first week in January. I’m also in the process of finding and fine-tuning pieces for college auditions because I’m interested in going into theatre management or arts administration. I also spend a lot of time practicing for dance team and getting ready for basketball/competition season to start.
The Centinal: It sounds like you are pretty busy! How do you find time for family, friends, and school?
Riley: When we’re all at home my family tries really hard to eat dinner together because that’s usually the only time during the day we see each other. I hang out with my friends on the weekends and usually stay up late doing homework or working on it with people in study hall.
The Centinal: In 10 years, what would you like your life to be like?
Riley: I’d like to be working in a professional theatre company or dance studio, maybe in a New York or a big city mostly on the management/administration side. Hopefully I’ll be married and also be finished paying off college loans…which isn’t likely.