New Horizons

Phillip Brents

Wed October 5, 2016 3:49pm

Jennifer Paredes didn’t get properly involved in theater until her senior year at Otay Ranch High School. But once bitten by the acting bug, her on stage career has blossomed.
Paredes, a 2008 ORHS graduate, has a supporting role in the current San Diego Repertory Theatre world premiere production of “Manifest Destinitis” that runs through Oct. 9 run in the Lyceum Theatre Space in Horton Plaza.
“I had done a couple of Christmas pageants but my senior year at Otay Ranch I auditioned for ‘West Side Story.’ That’s when the ball really started rolling,” she explained. “It was such a new experience to be a part of a group of people who told this story. It was just really neat to see how other people could be affected by story-telling.”
Paredes is a multi-talented actress/musician. She has appeared in short films and on stage and has also contributed as a songwriter.
“Music has always played a huge role in my life growing up,” she explained. “I don’t really perform music; up to this point, it’s been more of a personal thing. I enjoy being around of group of people creating something, like in a jam session.”
She just completed her first feature film, “Weigh Down,” in which she contributed music to the soundtrack. “It was a group collaboration project,” she explained. “There was room for a lot of music in the film.”
Paredes said there is quite a bit of difference from shooting a short film to being involved in a feature production — and, correspondingly, there’s a lot of difference being involved in a film production as opposed to being in a live theater production.
“In a film, you’re limited to what time of the day you can shoot and what venues you can shoot at,” she explained. “It’s a choppier experience. It’s more of a director or cinematographer’s medium. In theater, you find you are more connected to the story. It’s more of an artists’ medium, though it’s still a collective project.”
She admitted acting in “Weigh Down” was “very challenging.”
“It was everyone’s first film,” she said. “We all jumped into an ocean we really didn’t know how to navigate. We had limited resources; we had to work around everyone’s schedule. I learned that film takes so many people and so much effort to execute.”
She finds theater a more free-flowing medium.
“It’s an opportunity for story-telling,” she emphasized. “Theater is amazing; it’s always different. Every show is different just as every audience is different. The audience plays a huge role. You have the solid structure to the play but you feel the audience. If the audience is great, you feel that. It’s an energy exchange that is free flowing in theater.”
The San Diego REP production is set in early California between the Mexican-American War and the Gold Rush, and is an adaptation of Moliere’s “Imaginary Invalid.”
Paredes admits that she’s still learning her craft.
“‘Manifest Destinitis’ is the first farce I’ve been in — a completely different way of writing,” she explained. “By doing something you don’t have a firm grip on, it’s been a great learning experience. It’s opened my eyes to new possibilities.”
Paredes sees future possibilities, in her words, as “endless.”
“I feel like a little seedling,” she confessed. “I’ve been so blessed that I’ve had all these different opportunities to explore different mediums. I hope to be able to keep pushing the boundaries and stay open to whatever opportunities are presented.”
One new frontier she is interested in exploring branches from one of her hobbies — video games.
“Video games are amazing,” she said. “They have so many new applications with motion capture and acting. It’s so amazing. I just can’t wait to see what’s ahead. Virtual reality is on the cusp. It’s exciting, especially to see how acting can contribute to this completely new portal of entertainment and story-telling.”