November 2019 Blogathon: John Perovich

It is Brelby tradition to dedicate the month of November to giving a platform for our artists to share their stories. This month our annual Blogathon theme returns to its roots with a visit back to the topic of “My Brelby Story.” We’ve grown a great deal over the past few years, and many of our original bloggers have moved on to new careers, new lives, new challenges, and new cities. Enjoy this year’s series with 30 Days of Blogs.

First up, we feature John Perovich, Brelby’s Director of New Work Development.

When asked to share #mybrelbystory for the November blogathon, I immediately thought of the first article that I wrote about that story for the blog a few years ago. I won’t go into a lot of detail, but basically (as I recall) it was something about how I had just come to Arizona in 2013 for grad school at ASU, met Shelby Maticic at our first grad gathering as a department, and we immediately realized that we shared a whole bunch of values when it came to creating theatre. It was awesome to learn that Shelby ran a theatre company with her husband, Brian, and I was thrilled to be able to check out a show at their space in Glendale. My first show was THROUGH THE MIST by Jamie Maletz. After that, I kept coming back, started to make friends, and began teaching and participating in some of Brelby’s classes and workshops. I would go on to write, perform, direct, and design at Brelby.

Brelby is my theatre home and has been for the past few years. Although I have branched out and worked with other companies (even started one of my own—Now & Then Creative Company), I keep coming back to my roots with Brelby. When I am at Brelby, I feel like I am a part of a community of artists who are excited and committed to learning and growing through all areas of theatre. When I am at Brelby, I feel like I can try new things and take risks because there are people there to help me and support my work. When I am at Brelby, I feel like I am home.

Brelby has produced workshops and productions of 4 of my plays—POSEIDON’S REGRET, MISSING GRACE, UNEXPECTED, and SPY LOVE YOU. Each time a theatre produces a new play that they take a risk. No one is familiar with this story—why would they be interested in coming to see a new play? Well, although that may be a pragmatic concern, Shelby and Brian are risk takers—they aren’t afraid of what might happen as a result of following their gut and instinct, on trusting new artists and new work. Thus, they’ve welcomed my work with open arms and they have encouraged me to take risks on new writers, too. Further, this commitment to risk and following your gut—following your heart—is something that Shelby and Brian also nurture in their artists.

This past spring, I had the privilege of directing a new play by Chelsea Frandsen called WOLVES OF SHERWOOD. Again, a new play by a relatively new playwright that Shelby and Brian took a risk on. We had a fair-sized, intergenerational cast with lots of fight choreography and design elements. I was able to work with artists from throughout our community, as well as three of my students from Metropolitan Arts Institute! We all came together as a team to bring the world of this unique play to life. We formed a bond—a community—through the process of this show. And this is similar for most shows at Brelby—bonds are formed.

I’m excited for what the future holds for Brelby and for my work with the company! Next winter, my play BARDS & BEASTS will make its premiere at the Brelby Playhouse. This play is happening because of Shelby and Brian’s trust in my work and their consistent encouragement. Move over Ebenezer Scrooge! Next holiday season, we’re going to be rolling the D20 in Glendale!

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