People Behind Summer and Smoke: Justin and Marsha

Actor: Justin Deveau

1. What character do you play in Summer + Smoke?

I play the part of Dr. John Buchanan, Jr.: a wild and undisciplined young man who is drawn to the pure but high-strung Alma Winemiller.

2. What commonalities, if any, do you have with your character?

I have definitely been in that place where you are not sure what path to take. I think John is scared of his future and what he feels he must live up to. I think that is very relatable.

3. What drew you to Summer and Smoke?

I have never done a Tennessee Williams play before. I enjoy playing a variety of different styles and characters, and this was different from anything I’d done before.

4. What other productions (at Walterdale or elsewhere) have you been a part of? What was your role in those productions?

At Walterdale: The Weir, Much Ado About Nothing, reasons to be pretty, Wyrd Sisters, The Love of the Nightengale. Elsewhere: The Shape of Things, Hamlet, Midsummer Night’s Dream, Our Town and various Fringe shows.

5. Why do you act? What are you trying to do every time you go on stage, no matter what role you’re playing?

I try to be honest on stage, even if I am playing something unrealistic.

6. You’re a volunteer with Walterdale, what is your “day job”? What do you do outside of Walterdale and work?

I work in a warehouse on the west end. I read quite a bit and I enjoy old movies.

Actor: Marsha Amanova

1. Why (and when) did you decide to become involved with Walterdale?

I became involved with Walterdale in 2004 when I auditioned for Cyrano de Bergerac. I had taken a Drama class at UofA with the director, Alex Hawkins, and he encouraged me to come out to the open auditions.

2. What character do you play in Summer + Smoke?

I am playing Mrs. Grace Bassett, a widow.

3. What commonalities, if any, do you have with your character?

Mrs. Bassett and I are both strong, independent women. I think (hope?) that’s where the similarities end…

4. What drew you to Summer and Smoke?

I enjoyed the play when I read it, and although I’ve worked closely with our director, Mary Ellen Perley on Walterdale’s Board of Directors, I had not had the opportunity to work with her on a show.

5. What other productions (at Walterdale or elsewhere) have you been a part of? What was your role in those productions?

At Walterdale:

Actor:

  • 2004 Cyrano de Bergerac
  • 2006 King Lear & Lunatic
  • 2010 The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas
  • 2011 Wyrd Sisters
  • 2012 The Love of the Nightingale

Director:

  • 2007 Pieces
  • 2008 Cellar Doors, Secret Gardens

6. Why do you act? What are you trying to do every time you go on stage, no matter what role you’re playing?

People intrigue me. I really enjoy trying to figure out a character from the inside out, and then find the best way to embody that character. I act to learn more about others and myself, but ultimately I do it because it’s fun!

When I go onstage, I’m trying to share a story with the audience. The story might entertain, educate, enlighten – hopefully all of these things and more!

7. You’re a volunteer with Walterdale, what is your “day job”? What do you do outside of Walterdale and work?

I’m the ONEcard Program Supervisor at the University of Alberta. I also sit on the Board of Directors for Walterdale Theatre Associates. I’m an avid knitter, an occasional writer, and I love to travel!

Read more articles in the Behind Summer and Smoke series.

– Jenna Marynowski

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