Meet Marshall Cesena who is playing Jerry and Joe Kennedy Jr. in LTA's Grey Gardens.
I love the parallels between Joe in Act I and Jerry in Act II. Whether they mean to or not, they both seem to exist (in the context of the show, at least) to stir the pot between Big Edie and Little Edie, providing a catalyst for the larger conflicts in each act. This show has layer after layer; I probably discover something new each time I read through the script and every time I perform a scene. It's incredibly well written.
What have you learned about yourself in playing the role of Joe and Jerry?
I've been on a small hiatus from theatre and this show has set the bar very high as my first production back. It's really rekindled my love of performing, especially with this amazing cast and production team. The role itself has taught me about real character work. Both these guys come from worlds that are unfamiliar to me, from an upper class family to a high school dropout/runaway. Both these guys are also real people, so no only has there been a lot of research involved, but I've also had to incorporate character traits of my own that mirror those of Joe and Jerry.
What single word would you use to describe your characters?
Joe - "Kennedy".
Jerry - "Sincere".
What do you want the audience to take away from Grey Gardens?
I remember seeing the original Broadway production in October of 2006. It completely blew me away. I hope the audience comes away with the same sense of self reflection that I did. The show presents you with so much information, so much to take in, that you end up months later remembering some nuance or relating your life to Little Edie in some way. I love when a show sticks with you that way.
How does this show differ from other shows you have worked on?
This show doesn't have the feel of a musical, but rather a play with music dispersed throughout. It's a deep show that gets you thinking more than most other musicals.
How long have you been acting? How did you get involved with LTA?
This is my first show with LTA! I've been acting since I was little and while I'm not sure what got me involved then, I've stuck with it because I love it! There's something about really committing to a character and channeling your energy into them that is deeply satisfying.
What advice would you give others who want to get involved in theatre?
Go see more shows! My first day of acting school in New York City, my teacher told us all that we should get tuition refunds and spend the money seeing Broadway shows. The more theatre you watch, the more you learn about good theatre versus bad theatre. Immerse yourself!