The common theme in most of the blog posts so far this month has been the extraordinary way Brelby brings people together. My post just adds to that theme. Like other Brelby artists, working with this theatre has connected me with other talented, hard working collaborators; but it has also brought me even closer with my favorite collaborator- my wonderful husband, Dan.
Dan and I first started working with Brelby in 2012, just after we got married. It was about a year before that, however, that I sat down and talked with Brian and Shelby about their goal of purchasing a theatre space, creating a collaborative environment, and their vision of what they could contribute to the Phoenix metro area. I remember asking if it was hard to work with each other artistically then go home and work together as husband and wife, and their confidence in how much their art strengthened their relationship was so encouraging. I knew that Dan and I could do the same. Brelby started us down a path of collaborating we had not considered very seriously in graduate school. We thought we could be each other’s best supporters working on individual projects. In fact, aside from scene studies, we were only onstage together for more than five minutes in one show during our three years in graduate school. Brelby helped us change that.
Dan and I had the pleasure of performing together in Picasso at the Lapin Agile, the show that opened the permanent Brelby space on Valentine’s Day 2013. This show gave us the chance to push each other to be better, support each other, and connect with other couples who fuel each other’s art. It was during this time that Brian and Shelby finalized plans with us about directing their next Shakespeare show: A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
Not many theatre companies offer couples the chance to co-direct, and we were not sure how the experience would go, but directing Midsummer ended up being one of my favorite theatrical endeavors to date. Dan and I found that we balance each other just as well in the rehearsal room as we do in day-to-day life. The love we have for each other and Shakespeare seemed contagious and was so beautifully reflected in our cast and in the audiences who came to enjoy the performances. It is rare to have the opportunity to do what you love, with the person you love most in the world, surrounded by people who love what they are doing, but that is what we found during Midsummer– a whole lot of love.
No wonder Brian and Shelby find that the hard work they put into their company day in and day out is worth it!
Dan and I have been unable to be as active with Brelby recently as we are focusing on a very full time collaboration: our first baby. We were so excited to share our news with the Brelby community and have received so much support as we embark on our greatest roles yet- the roles of mom and dad. Yet even with our beautiful new addition, we are trying to remain involved in any small ways we can. (Seeing She Kills Monsters was even one of our first post-baby dates!) We are looking forward to our son growing up surrounded by a community of artists and hope that in a couple of years Brian and Shelby will take a chance on us again and let us try our hand at co-directing with a toddler in tow. It has been a beautiful experience watching Brelby grow as our family has grown, and that growth has no end in sight.
– Amanda Trombley