20 Qs With…Ron Pederson

What is it about a soothing romantic comedy that seems to serve as the perfect offering during the dog days of summer? Add in some show tunes by Sheldon Harnick and Jerry Bock and the stage is set for a magical evening under the lights.

She Loves Me is a musical adaptation of Miklos Laszlo’s Parfumerie which follows the same story pattern as 1998’s box office hit You’ve Got Mail starring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan. The Thousand Islands Playhouse presentation, which runs from June 20 – July 19, 2014, offers Gananoque visitors an amorous evening of will they or won’t they laughter.

Funny bone striker Ron Pederson plays the ‘perfectly average’ Georg Nowack who falls in love with a woman through an exchange of passionate correspondence.

Some actors come to work for the ego, the Edmonton born performer insists he does it for the science, the therapy, the language and the history.

And when you sit him down for a 20 Questions With… inquest, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to learn that both Daffy Duck and The Rolling Stones hold special places in the heart of an artist drawn to his craft by the spontaneity and joyous fun of it all.

▓ I ▓ N ▓ T ▓ E ▓ R ▓ V ▓ I ▓ E ▓ W ▓

What did you want to be growing up?
An actor, I knew early in life when I was 7 or 8. Even before then, all I did was pretend.

Who were your childhood heroes?
The Muppets, Looney Tunes, Charlie Chaplin. Looking at that list explains everything.

What sports did you play sports as a kid?
I played hockey for one minute. I was put off by the early hours and the fact that there were no laughs or girls.

Were your parents strict?
My parents are hilarious and positive and I had a terrific childhood. I wouldn’t say strict, but they certainly inspired respect.

What posters did you have on your bedroom wall growing up?
I think the highly over rated actor James Dean was on my wall. Maybe Chuck Berry, too. I was awkwardly and oddly obsessed with the 1950’s.

What was your nickname in high school?
I played a funny character named Jonty in a Stewart Lemoine play called The Spanish Abess of Pilsen. He was a wry wandering gypsy. The nickname stuck for a while, and I didn’t mind it at all.

What was the first concert you attended?
I saw Cory Heart when I was 10 or 11, I remember being underwhelmed. Between getting the tickets as a gift and seeing the show, I think I’d discovered good music along the way.

What was the first job you ever had?
The first time I earned a pay cheque was for acting in a play. I had one ‘civilian’ job at a record store in Edmonton for 3 months.

I don’t really remember anything other than watching the clock and being forced to listen to the Backstreet Boys.

Have you ever been fired?
I’ve never been fired. I was once in a play that was proving to be such miserable experience, I thought about trying to get fired by being a bit bonkers in rehearsal like Klinger in the 70s TV show MASH.

But It didn’t work. And I was very good in the play in the end.

Who was the first person you were sexually attracted to?
It’s a tie between Debbie Harry, Madeline Kahn and Betty Rubble. Looking at this list explains everything.

How old were you when you had your first kiss and what do you remember about it?
I can’t remember a time I wasn’t kissing girls. The first was my best friend and neighbour in the 2nd grade. A star was born that day! Boy, I love kissing!

What do you remember about the first time getting drunk?
The first time I got drunk, I was underage at a fancy opening night party. I remember thinking, ‘Wow! Why don’t people do this all day?’

It took me quite a few years to figure that one out. It sure led to a lot of fun though!

What is the hardest thing about being a man?
Well, I can’t speak for all men, but for me the idea of self-mastery and love is the greatest challenge, lately.

I think we spend so much time trying to improve things that we forget to enjoy ourselves and let go and allow. Be kind to yourself!

What did you believe in at 18 that you wish that you’d believe in now?
When I was 18 I believed that life and acting would become easier. Imagine my surprise to learn that it all required perpetually expanding courage on all fronts.

I wish I could bottle that confidence of an 18 year old me.

What is the best advice your parents ever gave you?
My parents didn’t necessarily give me their best advice so much as I observed it. They’re a great team. I learned the value of collaboration.

What have you done that you will never do again?
I once said I would never do a questionnaire again then you came along. Are you happy now? Here is your answer! And here! And here again! Happy now!?

What’s the biggest lie?
When I was 12 I lied and said I was 13 so I could audition for the Teen Festival of the Arts an awesome theatre fest for keen theatre-teens at Edmonton’s Citadel theatre.

I ended up having to perpetuate the lie about my age for years because I got the part and made life long friends. I admitted the truth around 25.

What is the scariest thing that ever happened to you?
I was once in a car with some friends in Hollywood and we were involved in a high speed chase trying to get away from a madman with road rage.

I don’t know why we were targeted. The man started trying to ram and sideswipe us. My friend Nicole Sullivan was at the wheel and she drove like Steve McQueen that night trying to loose him on Sunset Blvd. It was scary but really exciting too.

You’ve been exiled to an isolated island with no other inhabitants and permitted to bring one book, one CD, and one DVD what will this list include?
The book would be The Tao Te Ching by Laozi it’s a great philosophical text about simplicity and compassion and patients. All worthy companions on a desert Isle.

The CD I’d take would be Rolling Stones’ Exile on Main Street (it’s what I’m listening to right now, really).

And the movie would be Airplane! Or Annie Hall.

If somebody made a movie about your life, whom would you want to play you?
If I could have anyone play me I’d say Daffy Duck. He’s one of my favorite and most influential actors. Or the great Harvey Korman!

Wait, it’ll probably be a Canadian film, so, Cynthia Dale.

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