I was a company member from late 2013 to early 2014. I have only performed for Brelby twice: portraying Percy in Through the Mist and Danny in Prodigy. However, I have formed lifelong friendships with the people who work there.
Acting is my passion, my calling. You could say it’s my drug. It kills me when I am not performing. I’ve been acting for most of my life, but I did not realize that I wanted to spend my life doing it until I reached college. In my Junior year (2013), I decided that it was time for me to audition for other theatres in the Valley. I found a casting call for Through the Mist on durantcom. Being a religious man, I prayed about it. I felt led to audition for Brelby; a belief I stand by to this day.
Of the two shows I did with Brelby, Prodigy stands out as the most memorable. I evolved so much as an actor, and I finally understood what my type was: the guy that you can look at and immediately identify with. It’s not an archetype, but you know it when you see it. It took the nuance in Prodigy, by Ben Abbott, for me to find it. And I loved working with my fellow actors Emily and Austin. They were freaking dynamite. There was something beautiful about that show. It was pure chemistry. Our set was a couple of screens and some boxes. So it was up to the actors to maintain the show.
I remember after our second performance, an elderly woman approached me and gave me a huge hug. Anyone who knows me knows that I love hugs, so this was a good way to get my attention. She began to tell me about how she recently lost her husband to lung cancer. She said to me “Thank you, for understanding my pain and helping me cope.” I did nothing but pretend to be someone else, and that was all she needed. I saw in one moment the power of theatre itself, the real reason I act, and the beautiful things that Brelby can do.
I left the company in Spring of 2014. I felt the need for a sabbatical from Acting, and some time to rediscover myself. This had a rough start, as I was cast elsewhere as Horton in Seussical, but following that production my sabbatical resumed. I did not leave Brelby due to any hard feelings; in fact, it was one of the hardest decisions that I have made. I was simply lost, recovering from a recent breakup and a few other personal issues. I have found that every time I return to see a Brelby performance, a piece of my soul returns. Each show reminds me of the discoveries I made, and the honesty that can be found in theatre.
I have since been reminded that I need to act, as not acting is killing my soul. I honestly regret leaving. Alas, I will not be able to audition for anything soon, due to work and an upcoming move. But I know I can always return to Brelby. I trust that I will always have my friends there; my family.
My favorite Brelby memory. Man, that one is tough. I have so many beautiful memories with these people. I could talk about the moment in rehearsal for Prodigy when the chemistry between Austin, Emily, and I clicked (it was the second rehearsal, which made it even more awesome). Or perhaps, the time during Through the Mist when I got chocolate cake all over my face and didn’t know why everyone was laughing until after the song had ended. However, I would say my favorite memory is also one of the more beautifully tragic. It was closing night of Prodigy. We were in the final scene, and Austin’s character was leaving me (spoiler alert: he was dead the whole time, and I had been speaking to his spirit). I, as Danny, told him that I would miss him so much. He replied, as his character Matt, “You too. I’m gonna miss you too.” Austin and I always had that moment down, but on that last evening there was something extra. Even as I write this, I am tearing up thinking of it. At the time, I thought that I was having a catharsis of my own, coming to peace with my favorite show of all time ending. Now, I recognize it as something more: instinctively, I knew that this would be the last time I act for Brelby.
I will be moving to San Diego in spring of 2015 to continue pursuing my career as an Actor. While it has been long, and will be much longer before the opportunity arises, I am confident that I will act with Brelby again one day. And I am confident that Brelby will still be around. It is enduring, thriving, and beautiful; what could kill that?
I’m gonna miss you guys so much.