Wednesday, April 16, 2008

10 Questions With ATWT's Marnie Schulenburg

Q. When did you first know you wanted to be an actress?

A. I always knew I wanted to be a performer. I started dancing when I was in kindergarten and singing in elementary school. I didn’t begin vocal lessons until seventh grade, but I was always in my school choirs, participating in shows and dancing before then. I was mainly focused on singing and musical theater until I went to college, and I fell in love with Shakespeare, Moliere, Euripides, Tennessee Williams and many other amazing playwrights.

Q. What were some of the early things you did (acting-wise)?

A. Well, the first play I was ever in was “Nounsense,” a play written by one of my fifth-grade teachers, and it was sort of like a “Schoolhouse Rock!” show, which taught correct grammar, sentence structure, etc. It was very cutesy and a lot of fun.

Then I got involved in All-Cape Theatrical, a musical program for kids 14 and up. I learned a lot about performance through that program.

Q. How did you get the part of Alison on “As the World Turns”?

A. I went in for a general meeting with Mary Clay Boland (“ATWT” casting director), and we talked about how I just moved to Astoria, Queens, a couple months before and that it was about an hour and half subway ride away from the studio. So, she was nice enough to let me read something since I had come all the way out there. I then did a cold read of a scene she had, and I guess she liked it, because she then called Executive Producer Chris Goutman down to see me do the scene. Well, the rest is history! I started full time about two months later. But first I shot an episode on “The Young and the Restless” and a series of Web episodes to reintroduce the character of Alison to the “ATWT” audience.

Q. Who do you have the most fun with?

A. I don’t know if there’s one person in particular, because everyone is so different and fun in their own ways. Of course it also has to do with who I work the most with, which is Agim Kaba (Aaron), and for a while Jen Landon (Gwen) and Jesse Lee Soffer (Will), who I had so much fun with to the point where I would break at the end of a lot of scenes because I couldn’t keep a straight face with them.

Q. What do you like most about playing Alison? What can you relate to about her?

A. I like how lovable she is. She has such endearing qualities, and the writers have been doing a great job creating little quirks for me to play. And I love her silly sarcasm! I think that is what I relate to the most. I can be very sarcastic, as a matter of fact, and Alison can be very similar to the point of being blunt, but never maliciously mean.

Q. You’ve been on “As the World Turns” for a little more than a year now; how has it been so far?

A. I absolutely love being on the show! Every person who works on the show is incredibly talented, passionate and caring. The show is perfect for me – it’s challenging, it keeps me acting (which I love), it keeps me in New York, which is where I want to be, and it allows me to do small theater and musical theater projects on the side.

Q. Who have you learned the most from?

A. I have learned a lot from all the actors on the show, because everyone has their own style and process to connect with the character they are playing. And I have learned what works for me now by watching and growing with them.

Q. What is a favorite or funny special moment you can remember from filming “ATWT”?

A. There were so many amazing and challenging moments for me since I joined the show, but one of the few very silly moments for me was during a scene I did with Jen and Jesse. One day I just could not stop laughing on all my tag lines, which are the last lines of a scene. It had been a long day, and we had one last scene after lunch to finish, so everybody was ready to go right away. I was busy joking around with one of the cameramen. I was in a different room of the set we were shooting on, and I didn’t even hear the stage manager say “ACTION!” I finally noticed the silence and that Jen, Jesse and Agim are saying their lines in the other room, the room that I was supposed to be in to have an intense moment with Agim. So, I slowly walked in hoping I could play it off like I was entering late. But it was too late for all of us, because all their eyes looked at me as I nonchalantly entered, and I could see they were all on the brink of laughing, wondering what the heck I was doing. It was pretty ridiculous!

Q. What are some exciting things coming up for Alison that you are allowed to disclose to me?

A. Well, things are going to come to a climatic halt with Matt and Alison since she knows the truth about who he works for. Also, she’s going to focus on her future and career like Dusty wanted her to.

Q. Your brother, Gus Schulenburg, and other New York actors founded the Flux Theatre Ensemble, which you sometimes participate in. Can you tell me a little about the group?

A. Gus and several other actors started working together two and a half years ago and decided to form Flux Theatre Ensemble. They have a yearly season of shows, and they also spend Sundays work-shopping new plays. This way, actors have an outlet if they are too busy with working means-to-an-end jobs, and the playwrights get to hear their work out loud. It’s a win-win situation for everyone involved.