Who's really in charge of this Western?
We think you will be surprised to discover that our saloon owner is not portrayed as using her sexuality or femininity to make a living. Instead, Jethro Compton has given us a character who debunks this stereotype and is portrayed as more of a modern business owner who uses her grit and tenacity to "lean in" to the town she works in. In, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, Hallie Jackson runs a saloon and brings Western Hospitality to those migrating west who are full of hope about owning land land and gaining prosperity. Like most folks living between 1895-1910 in the west, Hallie works sun up to sun down. Those who know her best say, "she'll rest when she's dead" and that she has no time to enjoy anything. As for her temperament, “Hallie’s got the temperament of a dragon.” We interviewed Heather Kellogg, the actor who plays Hallie, and here's what she had to say about this character! We are certain you will talk about Hallie after you leave the theatre!
What sort of person is going to love this character? Everyone will - she has a quick wit and strong personality, I think women will cheer her on as she uses her words and strength to show the men who's in charge.
How is this character like you? Different? She is strong and independent, I can't say I am AS strong as her, but I definitely don't let people walk all over me. I wish I had as much sass as her, but I can for sure hold my own when I need to. As far as difference - she is guarded, she protects herself and her heart. I put myself out there and wear my emotions on my sleeve. What do you love about this character? I love how she handles everyone. She may be the only woman amongst a bunch of tall, strong men, but she is 100% in charge and everyone knows it. I love that she isn't afraid to speak her mind, and let someone know when they are in the wrong. What’s the biggest challenge about taking on this role? Finding moments of softness and letting her guard down. She can't be (and isn't) just a tough wall all the time. She handles emotions far different then I would. When she is mad she lets herself rage, and when she has softer and more delicate emotions, she hides them. I am the opposite, and the hardest part is finding the truth in everything she does and says because it's the opposite then how I would handle a situation. Without giving anything away, what’s your favorite line of dialogue? "Tell me, if I call you an arrogant bastard -and you understand my meaning that you are what I'm callin' you - what difference does it make what name you give the goddamn language?" Besides yourself, which actor in this production is going to blow people away? Everyone. Truly. Our incredible ensemble brings a great energy and a connection to the audience as a guide through the story. Kyle embodies the ever talked about Valance. But ultimately, Erin, Nate, and Terrance, will impress you and win you over and then break your heart all in their own ways. I am so lucky to have the opportunity to work along side these fun and brilliant actors. If you could play any other character in this play, who would it be? I think Bert. His story is more nuanced and subtle. He has several offstage experiences that color what the audience sees, and that I find is always an interesting challenge. What makes a good scene partner? Listening and reacting. I love when a scene partner is completely tuned in to what I am saying and feeling. Humans in real life listen to what is said and respond accordingly, as actors we struggle with that because the words are already written for us and it's easy to just say the lines. I love be challenged by a fellow actor in a scene.