Tuesday, October 15, 2013

'Phantasmagoria IV' spotlight on Jill Lockhart

     ORLANDO — Jill Lockhart, who currently spends her evenings acting in “Phantasmagoria IV” which is showcased this month at the Orlando Shakespeare Center, also has a master’s degree in chemistry, and shares her scientific knowledge with students that she teaches at a local high school during the day.

     "I like to keep both sides of my mind engaged,” said Lockhart. “So I’m really into math and science and I do a lot of that, and I also like to do theater to feed my artistic side.”

     She first started to act when she performed in community theater projects off and on while attending high school. As she continued to reach for her educational goals in college, she had to make ends meet by working customer service jobs that were literally a headache.

     “I worked at Hollister when I was in college, folding clothes and greeting people, and it was horrible,” said Lockhart. “They spray the clothes down with this Hollister smell that gives you a headache and they play the loudest music all day long.”

     It was also during her time at Rollins College in Winter Park that she performed in a play called “Antigone,” and met director and theater professor John DiDonna.

     “Her split world is very interesting to me,” said DiDonna. “Jill tries everything, she learned fire performance for us, shes done dancing for us, and she has also choreographed a show for me.”

     After working with Lockhart on their first production, DiDonna contacted her about performing in another upcoming show, but soon learned that she was just about to leave the area to attend classes at Purdue University. Hard studying at graduate school over the next two years allowed Lockhart to earn her master’s degree in chemistry, and she eventually returned to her hometown of Orlando.

     She contacted DiDonna upon her return and was immediately cast in last year’s production of “Fragment(ed)” for Empty Spaces Theater. Starting off as a dancer and a chorus member, she has continued her acting work and now holds one of the roles of lead storytellers in the current production of “Phantasmagoria IV.”

     Lockhart plays a seductive siren named Rowan, who ranges in her performance from shy temptress to passionately boisterous depending on the needs of her character.

     It was also during her time with this show that she made quick friends with fellow actress and Empty Spaces newcomer Angela Trapp.

     When Trapp was asked about working on this production with Lockhart she said “She’s amazing, and I love working with somebody who is so focused all the time.”

     In addition to this show, Lockhart also works three different jobs teaching high school chemistry, working as a server at the Gnarly Barley, and also teaching dance classes at night during the weekdays. Her family and friends have continually supported her over the years for both her acting and educational pursuits.

     She serves as a fine example that hard work and determination can help you achieve your goals and reach your dreams in life.

By James Tutten

(Photos by James Tutten)


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