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The company of “Antlers” buck a few comments

Jen Bush talks with Marie-Louise Boisnier, Shaun James, and Don McManus

Marie-Louise Boisnier is bringing an international flair to the production of At Least He Didn’t Die With Antlers On His Head. She had solid training in the arts and is an accomplished vocalist.  “I am a Slovakian, French Singer and Actress born and raised in the United Kingdom. I moved to New York and studied at The American Academy of Dramatic Arts and Lee Strasberg. Singing is a huge part of my career. I released two songs in 2021 that are both on Spotify and Apple Music and I am currently working on releasing more music in the coming months.”

Ms. Boisnier was attracted to this piece for many “sound” reasons.  “I loved the idea of playing a southern belle! I really enjoy exploring and working with accents. Coming from a person who grew up in Europe, the time period and the place in which this play is set is very intriguing and foreign to me and I love working on it.”

With some hot button topics mixed into this show, Ms. Boisnier feels an added responsibility to address these topics as meaningfully as possible in her portrayal.  “Yes I definitely want my character to come across as truthful as possible to elevate these topics.”

Though Covid is far from gone, Ms. Boisnier is elated to be able to resume live performances again.  “I honestly am very comfortable to be back and have enough of staying at home and not being able to connect and interact with people. I am over the moon to be able to connect with different artists and so grateful to have the opportunity to do that. Being able to see people and react to their visual expressions without having to use technology and actually being moment to moment is the best thing.”

Ms. Boisnier has some excellent ideas for what theatre should look like post-Covid.  She is spot on in her notion that theatre is an escape from reality.  “I honestly think it is each person’s preference. I personally believe that if people want to wear a mask, they are welcome to and if they don’t want to then that’s totally okay too. Theatre is supposed to be a space where people can relax, switch off their brains and venture into a new world without having to worry about any disease. We must be cautious, but I believe that it should be a happy place and not seen as something dangerous.”

Ms. Boisnier has a lot on her artistic plate after this play is finished.  “I hope to release my music within the next few months. “I am going to be taking part in a Horror Film Feature that will start in October and a short that will be filmed in Connecticut. I am hoping to meet more people, make more connections and create more!”

Shaun James will be portraying the character of Tubby in the exciting new stage work, At Least He Didn’t Die With Antlers On His Head.  He acts, he writes, and he can throw a punch and take a fall if need be, with his background in stunt work.  “I’m a theatrically trained actor and writer based in New York City working in film and on stage. I began this journey doing stunt work moving into acting shortly thereafter, and I enjoy all aspects of the creative process of this world.”

Mr. James scrutinizes the script and invokes the techniques of the greats during his creative process.  “I begin with reading the script or play over and over, then once more, in order to put myself inside the world of my character. Then I begin developing my character, utilizing Stanislavski, Adler, and Malmgren techniques during this process. All while looking to become the role.”

Mr. James was attracted to this piece for the subject matter and level of complexity within the work.  “I was drawn to the complexity that can be found in such a seemingly simple play, and the universals that we all contend with such as family, acceptance, and ignorance.”

This play has some hot button topics which sometimes makes an artist feel an added sense of responsibility in the presentation of the material.  Mr. James feels a strong responsibility to honor the character he is playing.  “I feel the responsibility to do my character justice allowing the audience to interpret these concepts how they see fit.”

Covid is not past us yet, but live performances have returned.  Many artists and audience members alike have notions about what theatre should look like in the age of Covid and beyond.  Mr. James has some straightforward ideas on that topic spoken like a true actor.  “The show must go on, with added precautions until we are past the danger.”

For his next project, Mr. James will be hopping from the stage onto the screen.  “I will begin working on my next character for an upcoming indie film.”

Don McManus is portraying the character of Mr. Kinshaw in the exciting new production of At Least He Didn’t Die With Antlers On His Head.  He is thrilled to be a part of this production.

During his creative process Mr. McManus starts with the physicality of the character and then creates his backstory.  “For a role, I  go from the outside in. I start with the character’s voice first and mannerism he may have. Then I develop a backstory from information in the play.”

Mr. McManus was drawn to this play because it was relatable to him geographically and because he knew real life people similar to the characters in it.  I can relate to all characters in ‘Antlers’ because I come from a small town in the south. I had four brothers, several of them worked in construction. I Also knew several people like Travis., a little slow but kindhearted people who wanted to fit in.  

Covid has not left but theatre has triumphantly returned.  Mr. McManus shares his thoughts on Covid in relation to the theatre and theatregoers.  “I think covid gives people the sense of what they missed. As for theater, I do not think it has affected the quality of it but maybe quantity.” 

 Mr. McManus is enjoying his time with this production will be seeking more exciting and challenging roles after this run is over.  “I am looking daily for more opportunities to perform. Hope that I will be lucky enough to meet the high standards of actors and management of this project.  I thank everyone for the opportunity and time spent with them.”


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