We’re just a few days away from the opening nights of our Tennessee Williams summer repertory, and we wanted to give you a sneak peek inside the process from the point of view of our two leads, the fabulous Carolyn LePine and Joshua Stenvick. But before we get to the interviews, don’t forget you can still get two tickets for the price of one to EITHER “Summer & Smoke” or “The Eccentricities of a Nightingale” by clicking the link below. In fact, since you can buy two deals, you could get two tickets to see BOTH shows for the price of ONE show. Happy summer.
GO HERE FOR 2 for 1 TICKETS!
R: What drew you to audition for this show?
JOSHUA: Two summers ago I did some stand up comedy, last summer I did Shakespeare in rep. I like to find projects in the summer months that challenge me and help me grow as an actor and a person. Came across the audition notice online, almost like fate had pulled me to it, and the rest is history. Plus, it’s Tennessee Williams.
CAROLYN: I have been wanting Duluth and the local theaters to do more Tennessee Williams for a long while, so I knew right away it was an awesome opportunity.
R: Have you done Tennessee Williams’ plays before?
JOSHUA: Outside of a classroom setting, no, I’ve never. It was one of the few things I’ve wanted to do in my performance lifetime and it’s been a goal, so to say that I’ve done two, makes me really pleased. I feel blessed and grateful to have this opportunity. He’s such a brilliant playwright and the experience has just been peaches.
CAROLYN: Never! Scratch one off my bucket list. I hope it won’t be the last, however – Williams is my favorite playwright of all time.
R: What’s been the biggest challenge for you in acting in both shows?
JOSHUA: The million dollar question. Having two different directors, for me, as been the biggest challenge. It’s like having two fathers in your life. Double the expectations and double the disappointments! That, and working on any Tennessee play is a challenge in itself. There’s so many layers to his material that you can always find something to discuss or explore. Making sure my character is his own person in each show has also been a challenge, but that’s been the most fun aspect of acting in both shows.
CAROLYN: The biggest challenge has been the sheer volume of things to learn/remember. Not JUST the lines, but the blocking, the different props, etc. If these two shows were completely different, I think it would have been easier, but there are vague similarities everywhere, and that has been the hardest part.
R: How do you keep your lines and blocking straight?
CAROLYN: I don’t. Kidding! Kind of! I guess I’d say getting into the groove before each rehearsal– looking over all my lines, going over my blocking in my mind, and trying to remember the specific (and different) character notes each director has given me, which sets each show apart.
JOSHUA: As my directors and co-stars will tell you, I don’t! Lines come, I’ve never been able to answer that question other than, ‘I just remember them’. When the world of the play and the characters and his objectives are so clear to you, remembering your lines is the easiest part of the process. Sorry, I know that answer was boring and technical, I’m just not that witty. As for blocking? Next question…
R: How do you remember which show your doing?
JOSHUA: Before I go to rehearsal for that particular show, I focus on that one and that one only. Try not to worry or think about the other show. Submerge myself in the script and my notes. There have been some mishaps, but it’s been great and I’ve never really worried about mixing the two up.
CAROLYN: I have to sit for at least 2 hours before each rehearsal and go over every line so that I can remember which show I will be rehearsing. I also have my script backstage to remind me.
R: What’s the one reason people should come see both of these shows?
CAROLYN: The writing is beautiful in both, but different. The shows have some of the same characters in them, but there is a definite difference in the FEEL of each show. Also, my role (Alma) was one of Tennessee Williams’ favorite characters he ever wrote, and he said he felt like she was the female version of himself. I think that’s really interesting, and a great reason to check it out!
JOSHUA: If you’re a literary buff, you’ll come for the language. If you’re a theatre buff, you’ll come because it’s one of the greatest playwrights who’s ever lived. If you simply want entertainment, we’re doing two shows that are almost the same, yet completely different, so there’s bound to be plenty of mistakes for you to laugh at. But mainly because you’re sick of summer television and the box office smashes of the summer haven’t hit the silver screen yet, so what else are you going to do? And you want to support local theatre. And, I hear they sell beer there. You said one reason? Sorry..