Exclusive Interview with Teenagers’ Allyson Pratt
Allyson Pratt is a gifted Métis actress currently based in Toronto. She possesses an extensive theatre background and has previously attended the Randolph Academy for the Performing Arts, earning the Triple Threat Award during her senior year. Appearing in a wide range of television shows, short films, and commercials, she can currently be seen on M.H. Murray’s webseries Teenagers as Sara, a high schooler coming to terms with her sexual orientation. Allyson recently chatted with Talk Nerdy about her work on the show, her award-winning short film Stephanie’s Room, and other projects in the works for 2017. She can be found on social media at Twitter and Instagram!
How did you first become involved with Teenagers?
A fellow actor that I was working with at a restaurant had let me know that Mathew was looking to cast his new web series. I knew he had envisioned a redhead for the character, so I sent him a package of my materials, and we met in person the following week. I remember he didn’t really “audition” me per say, but that he asked some interesting personal questions that we riffed back and forth on.
Sara’s coming out arc is a really key storyline on the show — have you gotten a lot of support for being part of something that helps represent LGBT+ youth?
I’ve been lucky to have felt embraced by the LGBT+ community – there’s a lot of responsibility in portraying a character who identifies as gay, especially when it comes to young people. I want to honor the struggle, the hurt and the fight that continues daily – while also giving youth a character they can identify with.
What are your thoughts on Sara’s relationship with Olive vs. what she has with Adele? Is there anyone you hope she ends up with?
Sara is loyal to Olive almost to a fault, which is why in the teaser we see Sara rekindling that connection, even though it’s a bit awkward and possibly detrimental. Adele has been huge in terms of Sara accepting herself and finding self-love, but the two also rushed into a serious relationship, and Sara hasn’t had the opportunity to discover her sexuality on her own. I think it would be a dream come true for Sara if she ended up with Olive, but I think it would be tumultuous, and pretty unhealthy.
So far, Sara’s character development has frequently been about becoming more confident and assertive. Now that she’s come so far, in what other ways do you think she’s going to grow and change?
I think quite honestly Sara has some mistakes to make in order to really grow. She’s spent most of her youth helping her friends, and trying to be liked, so now she has to figure out what she really wants, and what she really needs, independent of her inner circle. I think she’s going to start seeing the world out there and becoming more inspired and creative – she’s probably going to start experimenting, in ways that are helpful to her growth, and probably in some ways that aren’t.
As an actor, do you have any invented backstory or personal ideas about Sara that you work into the performance?
In the beginning of the series, Sara was always deferring to her friends, or putting their problems in the forefront – to distract from her own fears about her sexuality. I imagined that she came from a sheltered background – a nice, conservative family, that mean well and want to be supportive, but don’t know or trust anything outside their comfort zone. I chose this for the reason why being labeled gay is so terrifying for Sara. I invented that she and Olive have been friends since they were little girls of 6 years old, so Sara feels a guilt, a betrayal almost in the way her emotions changed from just friendly, to something more. Sara never had gay role models, or figures in her life, so Adele is becoming almost her teacher, as well as her lover.
If you could play any other character on Teenagers, who would you choose?
Ooooh!!! I would love to play Olive, I think. The range that Dana has shown over the seasons has been so beautiful to watch – I love how Olive’s ideas about who she is and what she wants have come so far from where she started. Or I would play Molly – because who doesn’t love to play a villain!
Stephanie’s Room is a great short film — how did that project come about? Do you want to try producing again in the future?
Thank you! That project was created for the 48hour Film Project – a filmmaking event that happens worldwide every year, in which a short must be created in – you guessed it, 48 hours. A good friend of mine suggested we apply, and it so happened that our team became very “Teenagers – heavy” with Mathew, Dmitry, and Spencer rounding out our workforce. I would love to try producing again; I’m also working on some writing projects that have been a challenge – but exciting!
What else are you working on right now?
I’m currently finishing up a draft for a short film, and am working on the initial ideas for a feature-length project. I was also just given the good news that Mohawk Girls (an APTN series I have a recurring role on) has been renewed for a 5th season!