My Brelby Moment: Cliff Williams

It’s that time of year again!! That time when we give the blog over to our immensely talented artists and let them share their thoughts about art, life and more. The November Blogathon has become a Brelby tradition here at the Brelby Buzz, and this year we’re wrapping up Season Nine with our favorite Brelby Moments. For the next 30 days, our artists will discuss their favorite Brelby Moments from Season Nine and how that has impacted them and the way they approach their art.

Today’s post is from Brelby Theatre Collaborative Artist,  Cliff Williams who has been seen in Season 9’s productions of Peter and the Starcatcher and unexpected.

My Brelby Moment

By Cliff Williams

Brelby has been such a wonderful place to practice my art and grow as an actor. The safe, uplifting atmosphere is ideal for finding who you are on stage. 

There are so many moments from this year at Brelby that mean so much to me. I will cherish them forever. Peter and the Starcatcher was the show that first made me truly feel like a member of the Brelby family. That ensemble cast was incomplete without any one member, and the way we bonded was evident in the tears we all shed during the last few scenes on closing night. “This is going to be an awfully big adventure,” indeed. I still get choke up when I think those words. I wept openly as a spectator at the first read through of Dogfight, and again as an audience member sitting awkwardly by myself. My head spun in circles at the roller coaster of a ride that was The Pledge, and Whisper Sweetly chilled me to the bone. Fantastic productions all, but there is one show that truly changed me as an actor.

Playing the role of Merchant in unexpected by John Perovich, changed the way I look at my art. I knew they were looking for an older actor for that role, so I arrived at the audition prepared to read for the two twenty-something male parts. Now, at this point I feel I should mention that I have always been mostly a character actor. That is, I’ve always focused on changing my voice and physicality drastically to play a part. The audience usually sees very little of Cliff on stage. Well, I was handed a monologue to read for the Merchant at the audition. As I spent a few minutes looking it over, I thought to myself, “this guy kinda just sounds like me. I think I’m just gonna be me.” which I had never really done before! The Merchant is the narrator of the show, so I went up there and just told a story the way that I would. I used the words from the page, yes, but everything else was me. I explored meta-theatrical concepts by acknowledging, in character, those that were sitting in front of me (not just that they were there, but specifically who those people were). In one reading of a single-page monolog, at an audition no less, I discovered a whole new realm of my art. I discovered the power of being me on stage, and how honest that can feel in a character. My acting has never been the same since.

Thanks for sharing these Brelby Moments with us Cliff! Catch up with more of your favorite Brelby artists tomorrow!

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