In Part 5 of a series of interviews with the Director and cast of Peace Mountain Theatre Company‘s production of Arthur Miller’s All My Sons, meet Natalie McManus.
Joel: Please introduce yourself and tell readers where they may have seen you perform on local stages.
Natalie McManus: I have been active in theatre for many years. Before moving back to Maryland 17 years ago, I was very active in community theatre in Massachusetts’ North Shore community, doing mainly comedies. Significant roles included: Cookie in Rumors, Dawn in All in the Timing (EMACT Award), and Renee in The Odd Couple. Upon moving to Maryland, I became involved in the area theatres, acting, producing, and directing shows, as well as serving on the board of directors of several theatres.
I trained extensively with Shakespeare & Company in Lenox, MA. By trade I am a Speech-Language Pathologist, a Designated Linklater Voice Teacher (speaking voice for theatre), and Certified Forensics (public speaking) Coach. I taught theatre voice for nine years at George Mason University; have run several theatre skills programs for children; teach Shakespeare workshops for middle schools; am an adjunct teacher at Landon School, and work with groups and individuals through my company, Professionally Speaking, LLC.
Some of my significant theatre credits in the DC/MD area include: Ruth in Collected Stories (last year’s inaugural production by the Peace Mountain Theatre Company), Miss Maudie in To Kill a Mockingbird, Mrs. Birling in To Kill a Mockingbird, Lottie Wilton in Enchanted April, Nurse Ratched in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Henrietta Iscariot in Last Days of Judas Iscariot, Mollie in Mousetrap, and Melanie in Water People.
Why did you want to appear in this production of All My Sons?
The story, the characters, and the brilliance of the writing by Arthur Miller really touched me. His characters are real, warts and all, and their stories are real and believable, but also thought provoking. I have also been directed several times by Laurie Freed, who has the insight and ability to get the best possible performance from her actors. I enjoy the challenge of finding new levels in my acting.
Tell us about who you play in the show.
I play Sue Bayliss, a neighbor of the Keller’s. I live in the house that Joe Keller’s business partner – who is now in jail – used to live in with his family. Having not lived in the neighborhood during the turbulent times of the war and the neighborhood scandal, and having become friends with the Keller’s and their other neighbors, I bring a unique and honest opinion of the current events.
Why is this show relevant for today’s theatregoers?
Because the issues in the play still happen today. People have to face up to the consequences of their actions. The truth most always comes out at some point, and how that is dealt with can impact the lives of others. People must learn to accept the realities of life, and not only see what they wish to see.
What stands out most to you about All My Sons?
The true, real life interactions among the characters and the truth of the writing. Arthur Miller was an amazing writer, and was able to capture the human condition, both good and bad, in a realistic manner. His characters, and his story, have layers, much like an onionskin, that get peeled off as the story progresses.
What do you want audiences to take away with them after seeing All My Sons?
I hope this play will leave them talking about the story, as well as the complexities and ramifications of their actions. I guess I also hope that people will become a bit introspective and ask themselves, “What would I have done?” and “Why?”
Meet the Director and Cast of ‘All My Sons’ at Peace Mountain Theatre Company: Part 1: Director Laurie T. Freed.
Meet the Director and Cast of ‘All My Sons’ at Peace Mountain Theatre Company: Part 2: Elyon Topolosky.
Meet the Director and Cast of ‘All My Sons’ at Peace Mountain Theatre Company: Part 3: Chris Daileader.
Meet the Director and Cast of ‘All My Sons’ at Peace Mountain Theatre Company: Part 4: Michael Sigler.
Meet the Director and Cast of ‘All My Sons’ at Peace Mountain Theatre Company: Part 5: Natalie McManus.