My Brelby Moment: Shelby Maticic

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.

Artistic Director, Shelby Maticic, recaps her favorite moments throughout the season.

My Brelby Moment

By Shelby Maticic

I can’t choose one moment from this season…and I think that’s for the best. When I’m struggling in my role as Brelby’s Artistic Director I read through this blog post that I pinned a while back. It’s a list of suggestions from Jack Reuler of Mixed Blood Theatre that help to guide him as a leader. Number 37 states that “your favorite or best show is always your next one.” It’s something I try to do…to advertise and advocate for all of our shows, even when I’m not acting, directing or designing. For that reason…I’m going to share highlights from all of them. It’s my countdown for Season 9.

  1. During Space Junk we had the call that AD’s dread. One of our leads had fallen ill…like…hospitalized ill…and we would have to consider cancelling the show. This is where our love for cultivating well-rounded artists really paid off. I started reaching out to some of my most trusted artists, and filled in the design team. That’s when our Hair and Makeup Designer stepped up in a big way. Shelby Huston volunteered to put herself out there and tackle the role with about a day to learn it. We decided to go for it…and the entire cast rallied around her. They came in early, they ran lines, and lifted her up in an amazing way. We were all so happy to have Erin back when she was healthy again…but the pride we felt in seeing Shelby hit it out of the park was huge.
  2. The Night of Shorts feels like it was ages ago…but it was really lovely to see the idea come to fruition. There were over 30 artists involved in bringing that night to life, and they all put a lot of work into doing justice to those original pieces. My favorite moment was checking in with John Perovich that night after the show and having a quiet conversation about how successful the night was.
  3. Blacklisters was just a concept when Luke Gomez pitched it to me…but I knew it had potential. Brian doesn’t always jump in when it comes to my season selection process, but he gently nudged with this show. He saw it too. Some of our actors had breakout performances in that show. Watching Zachary Arnold tackle something that serious was really amazing. He’d been with us since high school, and to see how far he’d come…really made me beam with pride.
  4. Where Our Stuff Goes was such a sweet show, written by a good friend of mine, Ashley Laverty. My favorite moment from that show had to be the first time in rehearsal that I witnessed the lightsaber battle between Jean and Hayla. It was so silly and fun…and ended up being a big hit with the kids who saw the show.
  5. My favorite moment of The Time Machine was sitting in the audience on opening night and seeing all of the adult play middle school students. That will forever be my favorite performance from Joe Simon, who was never afraid to look silly, and always had such a perfect way of delivering his lines with a level of wry humor.
  6. My favorite moment of this year’s Miscast Concert had to be the first time that the ladies got to watch the men perform My Boyfriend’s Back. It was so hilarious, and they sounded great. (Even though over half of them had never heard the song before we started rehearsing…how nuts is that?!)
  7. unexpected was such a unique theatergoing experience. I primarily experienced it as an audience member, and my absolute favorite moment from the show involved a rotating wall unit, Devon Mahon and Bertha Cortes. I loved the chemistry between those two, and that scene really stuck with me because of how solid their comedic timing was.
  8. Whisper Sweetly was such a creepy little show, wasn’t it? That’s part of why I loved having it in our season. Devon Mahon wrote something so different than anything else we were producing…than anyone in town was producing. John Perovich created this really chilling image at the end of the show…where the cast became a spider…and it was really impactful. (Also…Chelsea Jauregui was just fantastic in her role…I was really proud to watch her tear it up.)
  9. My favorite moment during A Midsummer Night’s Dream happened on our first day of tech. Every cast member was there…pitching in…helping to build the set or finish the costumes…and they were all so happy about it. Jessica Holt held my baby for about an hour while I hot glued flowers, and several artists executed black light paint designs for me. It was really calming to have so much support and focus on the task at hand.
  10. Depend on Me fell during the last month of my pregnancy…so I wasn’t able to attend rehearsals. The first piece of the show that I saw, was the finished product…and that’s very rare for me. I had some intense guilt about not being present during that process. The guilt washed away when I was able to see the show during its second weekend. The team came together and brought Brian’s vision to life, and had no qualms about stepping up when he had to disappear to care for a newborn. It solidified how much our artists support one another. (And how about that last fight? I knew what was going to happen…and I still audibly gasped.)
  11. Elf Academy has taught me a lot about how having a child is going to affect my productivity. I’ve always been someone who was able to multi-task and work quickly. My new life…is all about setting deadlines, being understanding of my own limitations, and working around a feeding and napping schedule. My favorite moment? That definitely had to be our costume parade at Q2Q. I have had such a blast creating the costumes for this show…and having the freedom to mix sequins, glitter, and fur…and having it actually be an appropriate aesthetic.
  12. I was so proud of Megan O’Connor for her work on The Pledge. It’s a beautifully woven script, and I’m so happy that Brelby was able to be a part of it’s journey. My absolute favorite moment had to be witnessing the Origami Box Illusion played out onstage. Brian built it from scratch, and the effect was amazing. Seeing Alex guide Willa out of a seemingly impossible box…it was magic alright.
  13. Our first read through for Dogfight was at my house. We had a barbeque/potluck, we bonded, and then we tackled the material. My first favorite moment of the entire process was watching Kinsey Peotter make us all cry when she sang Pretty Funny…on the floor of my living room, with everyone sitting around in a circle. She’s a rare talent, and it was never more apparent than in that moment. I regularly had to pinch myself throughout that process to remind myself how lucky I was to have such a gifted performer. My second favorite moment was courtesy of Amelia Huot, our Marcy. She took the time to thank me personally for the opportunity, for my directing approach, and for my theatre. Genuine thank yous can be rare, and it came at a time when I needed encouragement. I’ll always remember that.
  14. I’m sure that folks are getting tired of the Putnam team talking about how much we love each other. This was the first collective group that knew that I was pregnant…after a really hilarous outing by Monica. At gala, they told me quietly that I wasn’t allowed to open my gift in front of everyone…because it would give away our secret. They gave Rory her first gifts…a tie died onesie that matched our show shirts, and a sweet book to hold my first letters to her. I always felt respected and supported by this group of artists, and that is something that I’ll always cherish.
  15. It’s no secret that Peter and the Starcatcher is a play that means a great deal to me. Starting rehearsals for this show was so exciting. We were working with some of my favorite people, and some incredible new faces. It was the last show/project I got to tackle before Mollie Flanagan (who was such an important support for me through grad school) would go to pursue her new career in Rhode Island. It was my first time getting to work with Louis Farber (who pushed me as an actress in such a wonderful way, despite the fact that I was experiencing some serious morning sickness and mood swings due to a secret pregnancy)…and hopefully not the last. I’ll remember making Brian drive me to Walmart for a pregnancy test at midnight after a rehearsal because I had a gut feeling. I’ll remember John quietly asking me if I was pregnant…long before anyone else noticed…just because I seemed different. I’ll remember the audience gasping each night when I dropped Alex onstage. I’ll remember trying not to break character when Brian gave his big final monologue. I’ll remember feeling like magic each night when I would float on my wooden plank thanks to my starstuff filled locket. I’ll remember my jaw dropping the first time that I heard Stephanie sing “oh for the wings of a dove.” (And tearing up when she started singing it as she held Aurora, our little Starcatcher, for the first time) My favorite moment? Was the last few moments of our closing performance. It was always impactful for me when Molly has to say goodbye to Peter…but that night…it felt like I was truly saying goodbye to a friend. Maybe it’s because I knew that I was going to actually be saying goodbye to some of those people soon. Maybe it’s because I knew that I would never be able to play that particular role again. Or maybe it was just the pregnancy hormones. Either way…it was an awfully big adventure. I hope that all of the artists who’ve made beautiful theatre with us this season know that they can always fly back home again.


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