By William D. Pelletier
Pierrefonds' Sheena Gazé-Deslandes is making a splash on Montreal’s acting scene playing an outspoken "special friend" in Infinithéâtres production of 'The Leisure Society'.
Actress Sheena Gazé-Deslandes takes on the role of 'Paula' in a play exploring the nature of friendship. Photo courtesy Janis Kirshner.
Infinithéâtre gave this West Islander her first job after she finished John Abbott College’s Professional Theatre Acting Program and Gazé-Deslandes feels like her teachers have prepared her well.
“The teachers were amazing,” said Gazé-Deslandes. “In my case, Terry Donald acted as my mentor. I was really shy when entering the program but he really made me feel comfortable when performing.”
The school is very supportive, says Gazé-Deslandes, pointing out the college allows them to put posters up in the hallways and often include plays featuring graduates in their curriculum.
Gazé-Deslandes’ new play is about Peter and Mary, an upper-class family, which invite their newly divorced friend Mark to dinner. Their plan to sever ties with Mark as he no longer fits their lifestyle quickly backfires after he shows up with his special friend Paula (Gazé-Deslandes). Peter and Mary’s guests will take them on a humorous journey as they start questioning the purpose of life.
The bilingual actress says playing Paula is a liberating experience. “It’s fun to play someone who’s so comfortable with themselves and says it like it is.”
“It’s fun to play someone who’s so comfortable with themselves and says it like it is.” Actress Sheena Gazé-Deslandes
To prepare for the role, she attended rehearsals six days a week for three weeks. Gazé-Deslandes said the team spent a lot of time discussing and analyzing the text which she thought was very helpful in interpreting her role.
Originally written in French by François Archambault (La Société des loisirs) and translated in English by Bobby Theodore, the play is gaining in popularity all around the world. It is currently being shown at Trafalgar studios in London, where ex-supermodel Agyness Deyn plays the same role as Gazé-Deslandes.
“I’m happy to be compared to Agyness Deyn,” said Gazé-Deslandes. “It’s a compliment, really. Who wouldn’t want to be compared to a famous supermodel?”
The Leisure Society is being directed by Montrealer Ellen David, an actress Gazé-Deslandes holds in high esteem.
The show will be playing from Mar. 6 – 25 at Bain Saint-Michel, 5300 Saint Dominique Street. Ticket prices range from $10 to $20. For more info, consult: http://www.infinitheatre.com/