Meet the Director and Cast of Prince George’s Little Theatre’s ‘Once Upon a Mattress’: Part 5: Erin Paluchowski and John Culhane

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In Part 5 of a series of interviews with the director and cast of Prince George’s Little Theatre’s Once Upon a Mattress, meet Erin Paluchowski and John Culhane. 

Joel: Tell our readers where they may have seen you on local stages.

Erin: I appeared in Annapolis Summer Garden Theater’s production of 42nd Street, and with the Annapolis Chorale.

John: Although I’ve been the front man for some garage bands, this is, in fact, my theatrical debut. I came to the auditions just to sing “back up” for my brother, Mike (who landed the role of Dauntless). When we finished the song, Frank (our Director) said to me, “Where’s your audition form?” I really didn’t intend to try out, but it just sort of happened. “And the rest, as they say, is history!”

Tell us about the character you play and how you relate to him. Does this character have any of your personality or character traits

Erin Paluchowski.
Erin Paluchowski.

Erin: I play Lady Larken. She is a lady in waiting with an age old problem that motivates Sir Harry to find a princess for the Prince Dauntless. While we both are truly dedicated to the man we love, I think we are different in how we approach our problems with him. In real life, I argue with my husband in a much “healthier” way than Larken does with Harry.

John: I play Sir Harry. I think I can be pretty stubborn sometimes, and Sir Harry can be too. And we both can fall pretty hard for someone we love. But I don’t think I am a “fat head” – unlike what one character says about Sir Harry.

What has been the most fun playing this character?

Erin: Larken at first comes off as a stereotypical girly girl but I feel she shows a lot of strength and wit throughout the show. Playing with this dichotomy has been fun.

John: I really like wearing Sir Harry’s medieval costume. Just putting it on in rehearsals really helped me get into character. I have had a long interest in creating costumes; I love making and wearing new and interesting costumes for various characters, such as superheroes.

What have been some of the challenges you have had preparing for your role and how did your director help you with these challenges?

Erin: I stepped into the role of Larken about a month into rehearsals because our original Larken had to drop out due to work conflicts. The most challenging aspect has been trying to play catch up with the rest of the cast, while not trying to hold back our creative progress in the process.

John: I’ve found Harry’s combination of hopeless love sickness and vaguely chauvinistic ignorance a little hard to reconcile. I am thankful that both our director and Linda [Swann], who plays Queen Agravain (and costumed us!) offered a lot of help in my exploration of what Sir Harry is all about.

Which character in the show is most like you, and why?

Erin:  Personally, I am more like Fred. I have strong can-do attitude with a optimistic outlook.

John: Sir Harry is so shamelessly exuberant – that’s definitely me. I think I can relate to him the best of all the characters in the show.

What do you admire most about your fellow cast members?

Erin: I love the diversity of our cast! Amongst our cast we have a myriad of ages, day jobs and backgrounds. It has been a lot of fun to get to know every person individually.

John: Above everything else, I admire the casts’ tenacity and dedication. This being my first show, I did not really know what to expect in rehearsals. Nearly everyone in this cast has full time jobs, but they still spend 4 nights a week to make it all happen. That’s pretty admirable in my book.

What is your favorite line that your character says? What is your favorite line that another character says?

Erin: I enjoy the fight scene between Sir Harry and Lady Larken, we have a lot of fun getting into the petty couples fight. Some of my favorite one liners are Fred discussing her home.

John Culhane.
John Culhane.

John: It’s tough to pick just one, but I’ll go with, “Just because you made a mistake doesn’t mean we both have to suffer all our lives.” In a scene I have with Lady Larken, Princess Winifred says at one point: “But you sure know how to pick ‘em!” and her voice inflection on that one gets a big laugh every time. That’s a great line.

What do you want audiences to take with them after watching you perform in Once Upon a Mattress?

Erin: I hope it is an enjoyable experience and instill the message to be ones true self. I believe that the uniqueness of Winnifred reminds us all to love who we are and own it!

John: Simply put, I want the audiences to have a good time. If we can get a room full of laughs and smiles and maybe a few hanging jaws here and there, that would be a perfect evening.

What is your favorite line that your character says? What is your favorite line that another character says?

Erin: I enjoy the fight scene between Sir Harry and Lady Larken, we have a lot of fun getting into the petty couples fight. Some of my favorite one-liners are Fred discussing her home.

John: It’s tough to pick just one, but I’ll go with, “Just because you made a mistake doesn’t mean we both have to suffer all our lives.” In a scene I have with Lady Larken, Princess Winifred says at one point, “But you sure know how to pick ‘em!” and her voice inflection on that one gets a big laugh every time. That’s a great line.

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Once Upon a Mattress plays through September 26, 2015 at Prince George’s Little Theatre performing at Bowie Playhouse – 16500 White Marsh Park Drive, in Bowie, MD. For tickets, call the box office at (301) 937-7458 and press 1, at the door, or online.

LINKS
Meet the Director and Cast of Prince George’s Little Theatre’s ‘Once Upon a Mattress’: Part 1: Director Frank Pasqualino.

Meet the Director and Cast of Prince George’s Little Theatre’s ‘Once Upon a Mattress’: Part 2: Meg Nemeth and Mike Culhane.

Meet the Director and Cast of Prince George’s Little Theatre’s ‘Once Upon a Mattress’: Part 3: Linda Swann and John Shackleford.

Meet the Director and Cast of Prince George’s Little Theatre’s ‘Once Upon a Mattress’: Part 4: Ken Kemp.

Meet the Director and Cast of Prince George’s Little Theatre’s ‘Once Upon a Mattress’: Part 5: Erin Paluchowski and John Culhane.

Review of Once Upon a Mattress by Danielle Angeline on DCMetroTheaterArts.

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Joel Markowitz
Joel Markowitz is the Publisher and Editor of DCMetroTheaterArts. He founded the site with his brother Bruce to help promote the vast riches of theatre and the arts in the DC Metro area that includes Maryland, Virginia, and DC theater and music venues, universities, schools, Children's theaters, professional, and community theatres. Joel is an advocate for promoting the 'stars of the future' in his popular 'Scene Stealers' articles. He wrote a column for 5 years called ‘Theatre Schmooze’ and recorded podcast interviews for DC Theatre Scene. His work can also be seen and read on BroadwayStars. Joel also wrote a monthly preview of what was about to open in DC area theatres for BroadwayWorld. He is an avid film and theater goer, and a suffering Buffalo Bills and Sabres fan. Joel was a regular guest on 'The Lunch and Judy Show' radio program starring Judy Stadt in NYC. Joel founded The Ushers Theatre Going Group in the DC area in 1990, which had a 25-year run when it took its final curtain call last year. Joel is a proud member of The American Critics Association.