For the rest of November, every day, the Brelby Buzz will be bringing you the second installment of the November Blogathon. Thirty days, thirty original posts from Brelby’s Company Members and collaborative artists of Season 8. Each post will revolve around a word that artist considers to be integral to what art and Brelby means to them.
By Megan O’Connor
I always wanted to be a writer. I even started my college career with the intention to pursue writing as a career, but abandoned it to try and get a job that would make me some money and fulfill some sort of need I have to try and help people. In the back of my mind though, I was always a student/writer, lab manager/essayist, teacher/blogger, although I would never admit to it. I wanted so badly to focus, to be one thing, so my life as a “slash writer” was put in a box and shoved under my bed. It just never seemed possible to actually do all the things you love.
But then when things changed, and I didn’t want that life I’d been working towards, I didn’t immediately decide to be creative and pursue full force this deep-seated passion of writing. Instead, I came to Brelby because Shelby asked me and I had nothing else to do.
There. I said it.
I had been sitting around my house for about a year, maybe less, maybe more; I look back in my mind to try and find those memories, but that whole time is wrapped in fog. I can’t remember any of it except for the desperate feeling of knowing I had to find courage somewhere, because I had to try and physically go outside again, and it was well past time to stop avoiding myself. I needed to figure out how to live my life. I had no idea what I was doing when I was cast in Oh, the Humanity!, but being part of that show, not only gave me the opportunity to start working with the Theatre, but Brelby provided me with so many possibilities within these walls and outside of them.
Brelby has made it possible for me to be more than a Stage Manager. At the end of Season 6, I had only applied to work on two shows as a Stage Manager–a job that I do love, as evidenced by the fact that I applied to work on Angel’s Alley, an original piece that was to be workshopped by the writer and our actors and I knew it would be a challenge, and Beyond Musketeers: Utopia Lost! the Brelby Summer Blockbuster that I knew would be one of the more complex shows of the season. I had a few fleeting thoughts of auditioning for a few shows and by the time Angel’s Alley was set to open, I had been cast in Little Women and Dotty Dot! and was preparing to embark on my first time designing costumes as well as hair and makeup for Fangirl. I’m getting more comfortable with the idea of designing and I’m looking forward to doing it again a few times next season.
Brelby has made it possible for me to be a performer. I was cast in a few shows in my first year at Brelby in addition to working backstage, where I thought I belonged. This year, I took the Acting Foundations course to help me with my role as Marcie in Fangirl, and to give me more structure and confidence to audition. I also auditioned for Results May Vary and perform at least once a month with the troupe. Before working at Brelby, I had no experience acting or really performing. I had no formal training and no real confidence about my abilities but Brelby has put me in the path of so many different people who have taught me how to be onstage, provided incredible examples of living your craft, and inspired me to do the things I want. And that’s not exclusive to performing.
Brelby has made it possible for me to be an integral part of a team. When Angel’s Alley opened, Brian and Shelby had asked me to become a Company Member, something I hadn’t even considered to be an option. There’s so much about Theatre, marketing, small business, art, that I don’t know. I’m surrounded by people with Theatre degrees and years of experience, and we get more artists walking through our doors everyday. But Brelby wanted the things I do have and provide me endless opportunities to refine those skills and develop new ones. Last season, I was asked to Stage Manage the Company Show, even though I wasn’t a Company Member. I was glad to be part of the group and to lend a hand where they needed it, and this year I’m working on the Company Show as an official part of the team.
Brelby has made it possible for me to be a writer. Because of Brelby, I tell people I’m a writer. And I’m actually working towards becoming an established one. I started writing my personal blog again, and I’ve built a pretty steady readership this year. I took my first playwriting class in the Production Intensive this year and I’m submitting the one act to various competitions around the country and am working on a full-length play to submit for Season 9. My Company Member job is to create content for the Brelby Buzz and write a bi-weekly column. I’m a writer. And a pretty good one, I think.
There are so many different possibilities facing all of us in the coming year, certainly not just for me. It was harder this year to choose the shows I didn’t want to work on because I feel so able to do lots of different things. Do I want to Stage Manage that one? Or design this one? Maybe I want to act in that one… I’m on the writing team for two shows. I’m constantly surrounded by people who lift me up, encourage me, talk to me about their projects and mine, force me to think about what we do and what it means, and continue to push me forward, both professionally and personally.
I’m living a brand new life. Doing things I never thought I would, that I never dreamed were possible. But I work at Brelby where we dream big and believe in ourselves. All these things I want are right in front of me. They’re possible.