Photo Credit: Mackenzie Gerry
Danielle Letourneau didn’t know Luca D’Amico all that well back in November when she asked him if he’d be interested in starting a podcast together.
Now four months later, the pair is hosting Dear Marilyn, a show that aims to give Brock Dramatic Arts (DART) students a space to hear from industry professionals.
Letourneau and D’Amico make a dynamic pair. Both are engaging, interesting and positive, but where D’Amico is loud and high energy, Letourneau is quieter and more introspective.
“I consider myself more introverted than extroverted. I’m definitely a very quiet person unless you really know me. I feel like Luca is on the extroverted side, so I thought that contrast would be very interesting,” said Letourneau.
“I joke all the time that people come for the high energy Italian guy, but stay for the little nuggets of wisdom that Danielle drops,” D’Amico added.
Dear Marilyn recently dropped its first and second episodes with an amazing amount of support from the department. Since being uploaded last week, the episode has received nearly 100 downloads and nearly 200 views.
“It’s not a big number, but it’s a big number to us,” said D’Amico.
When you consider that a graduating class of Dramatic Arts students might only have a couple hundred people in it, the support for Dear Marilyn from their peers is quite strong.
“It’s been amazing. The outpouring of people sliding into my DMs or sliding into Danielle’s DMs being like ‘hey I listened to the podcast, I can’t wait for more episodes.’ It’s just nice and it hits you right in the touchy-feels,” said D’Amico.
The pair pitched the idea to start a podcast to the department in November. Faculty members were supportive of the idea and they were able to secure some funding for the project. Dr. Karen Fricker, a theatre critic and DART professor at Brock, helped them get things up and running and even helped them decide on the podcast’s name.
“We had a few [ideas] floating around,” said Letourneau, “Dear Marilyn just really seemed to resonate with us. So we brought the idea to Karen [Fricker] and she seemed to gravitate towards it as well. I think really it’s just an homage to the woman who gave us our space, which is the Marilyn I. Walker campus. It just seemed to fit,” said Letourneau.
Letourneau, a graduate of Niagara College’s Acting for Film and Television program, remembered a class she had taken wherein people from the theatre industry would come to class to answer student’s questions. The industry connection is something that she feels will be beneficial to the DART program at Brock.
“I want this podcast to be used as a resource to help our DART community. More specifically, the students that are involved in any arts program. There’s a lot of uncertainty in this field that we so passionately love and want to get into,” said Letourneau.
They hope that Dear Marilyn can help students feel connected to the industry and see that there is a future in theatre and the arts after graduation.
“I really just want to help with any doubts or fears or anxieties that anyone may have regarding the future and doubting if this degree is worth pursuing. I want them to be able to revert back to our podcast and have Dear Marilyn shut down those fears and those anxieties because they’re always going to be there. I want people to say ‘I can do this because Dear Marilyn told me I could,” said Letourneau.
“For me, I want people to have a good time,” said D’Amico, “There’s so much crap going on in the world now, so if we could give them 45 minutes to an hour where they sit down or do the dishes, or whatever they’re doing while they have us on in the background, if they can smile and laugh a little bit then our job is done as a podcast,” said D’Amico.
Even though only two episodes are out, D’Amico and Letourneau are already thinking about season two. They have a full slate of guests lined up; from directors and playwrights to high school drama teachers to artistic directors and theatrical entrepreneurs.
“Luca and I are very excited about this. This project was made with the best of intentions and we hope to give you the best content,” said Letourneau.
“If you want to do something like this, not even just a podcast, if you have a play that you want to see produced, I think we’ve shown that you can reach out to people. Don’t let your dream just sit there, go out and pursue it, there are so many resources out in the world and here at Brock that can make these kinds of dreams a reality,” said D’Amico.
The two episodes currently available for listening are “Episode 0: Welcome to Dear Marilyn” where Letourneau and D’Amico introduce themselves to their future listeners before they dive into the interviews. In “Episode 1: Stephanie Jones” the pair interview their first guest, actor, playwright and artistic director Stephanie Jones, who gives advice on acting, talks about being the first woman in a job that’s historically been dominated by men and shares her go-to karaoke song.
Dear Marilyn is available on all podcast hosting platforms and more episodes will be released in the coming weeks.