Some people may be surprised when I tell them that I was never really involved in theater.
Yes, I always wanted to be an actor, but I didn’t take classes or go to school for it while I was growing up. I wanted to be in film. I wanted to be Jim Carry. I really had no interest in theater. I also am not only lazy, but I had the vague idea that suddenly fame would fall into my lap. It wasn’t until a friend of mine invited me to an audition early in 2012 that I even considered theater as an option. Long story short, I was cast in a play and would meet a playwright named Jamie Maletz. I performed in a musical she wrote about a year later and after that dropped theater because even though I enjoyed it, I didn’t love it. Jamie invited me several times after that to come and see or audition for shows, but it always seemed to be the wrong time or I was too busy. 7 months ago she asked me to come to a callback for a show, that she had written, performing at Brelby. After a lot of nagging and me making excuses she practically dragged me through the door. Now that I think about it I should thank her for doing so.
I was lucky enough to get a role in Oh, the Humanity! in which I played a cocky, self-absorbed, young man with a God-complex. I’ve joked that Clark was just like me in real life, and that may actually be the case. On the surface I had a great many similarities with Clark, but that did not make playing him easy. Brian and Shelby made me think repeatedly about what I thought of Clark, what his motives where, how he was feeling at different times. No matter how similar we might have been, Clark had a wide range of emotions as he realizes he is not a God. When faced with his own humanity he breaks down, which mirrored my own insecurities. It was rather hard to openly express feelings to others that I hide away in myself. As an actor I not only felt the excessive urge to perform the part well, but I also to help others connect with the character as I had. I can only hope I was successful in that endeavor. My experience during that show rekindled an overwhelming desire to be an actor. I felt progress, but also knew that I had a lot to learn.
I can think of no way to describe the broken winding path I’ve taken to this point, other than to call it “Fate”. It wasn’t that long ago and already I have been the lead in two productions. I have done set design, which I had never even considered an option. I also help with prop design for a show which I greatly enjoyed. I have been in three creative challenges, one that I wrote myself. I’m part of an intensive class at Brelby where I am working on script writing, before which I did not feel I could ever write anything, and now feel as though I may actually be able to construct a decent show. Brelby has not only helped me to be a part of theater but also to see all the sides of it and discover new parts that I love.
There are so many things I still want to say about Brelby, but I feel I’ve written too much already. So let me finish this with one of my favorite quotes about theater. One, that I feel, embodies Brelby in many ways.
“Great theater is about challenging how we think and encouraging us to fantasize about a world we aspire to.” – Willem Defoe
Brelby is great theater. In the small time that I have been here I have felt myself grow as an actor and a person. Brelby gives the challenge of not only improving ourselves as actors/writers/designers, but also as human beings. It is a constant encouragement to improve yourself, in whatever small or large way that you can, that makes it a wonderful place to be for aspiring artists. They do not discriminate anyone for their current abilities or lack of. Brelby takes all types in and gives them every opportunity to flourish. I feel like my case is no different. I started this journey with no real interest and found a wealth of acceptance, joy, growth, inspiration, dedication, drive, passion, and love within Brelby. I love this theater, the people within it and everything it does with all my heart and I don’t plan on leaving anytime soon.