As choir performer, actor and sophomore Liam Pham falls to the ground during the last scene of “The Crucible,” the lights flash on and Lauren Redmond, the Director of Performances, runs up to him onstage and tells him excitedly that he put on an amazing act.
Starting out with singing in the fifth grade, Pham has continued to explore the realm of fine arts in high school and found a passion for acting. He was involved in middle school plays such as “Into the Woods,” “Beauty and the Beast” and “Mary Poppins” and also had a major role in last year’s musical “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying,” which is rare for a freshman. In the latest play “The Crucible,” Pham had the honor to play John Proctor.
“After ‘Clue,’ which was our fall play, I realized that I wanted to pursue [acting] more because I always thought that singing was my main ability and that I was a mediocre actor,” Pham said. “I really wanted to take time to start refining and honing that part of my craft as early as possible, since it’s such a huge part of performing.”
Pham’s appreciation for fine arts started with listening to different genres of music, and he began to learn how to interpret songs in different categories. His favorite genres are adult standard or jazz and musical theatre or “show tunes.”
“You can interpret a song in mainly three ways: What does this song mean to the performer? What am I or my character trying to express to the audience? How can I convey that meaning through my phrasing, accenting notes, dynamics or even my diction?” Pham asked. “Musical theatre music doesn’t really allow for that, but with characters and their intent, the music becomes a huge part of how we express that feeling that they have.”
Since freshman year, Pham has taken both acting and choir, however, because of the COVID-19 outbreak and more demanding academic classes this year, Pham decided to only explore acting this semester.
“Since we weren’t working on major songs in choir, I switched to [Advanced] Acting in the second semester, but next year I’ll be taking both [fine arts],” Pham said. “I’ve been taking Acting [since] the second semester, but I’ve been working with Mrs. Redmond since the beginning of last year.”
But this year his performance in the winter play, “The Crucible,” where he starred as the main protagonist John Proctor, was video recorded and later streamed from Feb. 25 to the 27 for the community to watch. Although the play was never performed live, Pham cherishes memories with his friends while recording the play.
“Some of the best and most memorable parts in shows are when we messed up,” Pham said. “I recall one scene in particular, which wasn’t by any means supposed to be funny, when Hunter, who played Minister Hale, [and I] couldn’t stop laughing during filming.”
When performing the fall play, “Clue,” it was lighthearted and upbeat compared to “The Crucible,” which was a morbid and serious play, focusing on the Salem Witch Trials. Thus the winter play came with an extra set of challenges for Pham and the rest of the cast.
“The biggest challenge that I had to overcome was my lines [because] they were in weird spots sometimes and we had to cut each other’s lines off a lot,” Pham said. “But the whole cast, everyone in the performing arts community, is so supportive and kind to each other.”
Redmond, who directed the play, helped Pham through hard scenes during the play and was able to see him grow and push him as an actor.
“Liam is a chameleon [because] he’s able to change his persona very easily and step into many different roles, where some actors are ‘type-cast,’ which means they fit into one box,” Redmond said. “John Proctor was a meatier role, meaning there was more depth to his character that Liam could delve into. There were times that I pushed him extremely hard and deep down I worried that he wasn’t ready, but he proved me wrong and I couldn’t have been more proud of him.”
Senior Monse Rodriguez, who is one of Pham’s good friends and played Elizabeth Proctor, not only believes that Pham is a hard worker and performer, but she also knows that he is caring and entertaining.
“[Pham] handled new challenges with extreme dedication and unrelenting effort, and it’s that drive that makes him the incredible actor that he is,” Rodriguez said. “All of his quirks and his humor that never fails to make me laugh or put a smile on my face, his work ethic when it comes to acting is something I admire about him, and he is so passionate about what he does and the people around him.”
As Pham continues to act and sing throughout high school, he finds himself thinking about the future and possibly pursuing a career in performing arts.
“I’ll definitely continue with performing arts in the future,” Pham said. “It’s my life and it’s what I want to pursue, best case scenario, as a career path, so I’m definitely sticking around.”