Part III (The one where we answer questions from Brelby Artists)
We decided to field questions from our pool of artists for this final blog entry, because we think that they’re just the greatest. Thanks for following along with our 30 days of artist stories. Enjoy our Q&A!
Best part of being a husband/wife duo?
Brian: There is nothing like always having someone to share your struggles with and support each other when you are facing a new challenge. Being able to see eachother everyday and work towards a shared passion keeps the relationship fresh and exciting.
Shelby: Having a partner who understands the tough time commitments of theatre production is really great. He’s the one who stays with me until 11pm painting sets, after I’ve had a long day of grad school and work. It’s part of how we spend quality time together. It won’t always be like this…but for now, I’m glad to have him by my side through the craziness.
Which show would you like to bring to life in the studio?
Brian: I don’t think its been written yet. I am passionate about new works from up and coming writers…. and I have a script or two brewing myself that I am very much looking forward to completing and producing.
Shelby: So many. I love world premieres the most. Breathing life into a never before produced script is my favorite process to partake in.
Brian: Just because its been done one way in the past doesn’t mean you have to do it the same way. Also, you don’t have to only do shows people have heard of. If you really take care to create quality work, even new work, and communicate it to the audience, it can do just as well as more established pieces.
Shelby: I agree. There’s this mentality that there is one way to pay your dues in the theater world, and you have to take those steps in order to find success. There’s an unbelievable freedom and power in creating your own opportunities. All artists should strive to be entrepreneurial with their careers.
What was the inspiration behind doing black box theatre?
Brian: We fell in love with the intimate style of a black box during our time at NAU. There is nothing as powerful as being so close to the performance, or so freeing as an artist to be able to adapt your performance space to fit the production.
Shelby: Immersive theatre is the best. I love proscenium stages too, but there is something so engaging about being swept up in the action of a black box production.
Brian: The moment we can afford it absolutely. Our dream scenario would be to have a theatre with a small proscenium, a large studio, a small studio, and a classroom/rehearsal room. In conjunction with this, we also would love to send out touring productions to serve the smaller communities around the southwest that don’t have the access to theatre the valley enjoys. That’s years away. In the more near term, we hope to outgrow our current studio (but don’t worry, we have every intention of staying in the downtown Glendale area) and move into a slightly larger space that at least has a comparable black box and at least an additional small studio/classroom. If we produce 9-10 shows a year with one space, imagine how much original art and and opportunities for artists we could bring to the valley with two.
Shelby: And someday a coffee shop with a stage for our improv team and open mic nights. I’m also in the early research stages of establishing a publishing and licensing branch of Brelby.
If you could produce any show, what would it be?
Brian: Peter and the Starcatcher definitely ranks up there.
Shelby: Yes! That is my all time favorite play. My list continues…and it’s crazy long. I am constantly reading plays. I’ll give you a short list: (I’m on a huge Qui Nguyen kick right now) Living Dead in Denmark, Alice in Slasherland, Fuddy Meers, Evil Dead the musical, Pride & Prejudice out in Murphy Park, Dogfight, Ordinary Days, I Love You Because, and so many more.
What word do you think best describes Brelby?
What Brelby produced memory, idea, person, or anything are you most thankful for?
Brian: Our collaborative artists. All of them. Brelby is nothing without the incredible people we’ve collected.
Shelby: Maybe the first time we had a standing ovation in the studio…or opening the doors on Valentine’s Day and hearing laughter waft into the lobby…or maybe the absolutely overwhelming kindness and bonding that we experienced on our first leadership retreat this summer. I’ve never felt so valued in my entire life.
Where do you think you’ll be in 20 years, career wise?
Brian: Creating art. Providing opportunities for artists. Writing and publishing plays. Acting and directing professionally. Mentoring young artists as they start their careers and encouraging them to work hard and dream big.
Shelby: Artistic Directing somewhere…hopefully Brelby. Possibly teaching college classes to aspiring young artists (I’m pursuing my MFA at ASU currently). Most likely helping to coach young artists, possibly some of our own.
What musical or play that’s too big or expensive for the Brelby stage would you someday like to bring to the Brelby stage as a challenge?
Brian: Ghost the musical. Pippin. Mary Poppins.
Shelby: In the Heights, West Side Story, Catch Me If You Can, Matilda the Musical, Bonnie & Clyde the musical…lots of big musicals. 😉
What play or musical have you attended left a lasting impact or rejuvenated your love for the arts?
Brian: Peter and the Starcatcher on Broadway. Lonesome West at NAU (made me decide NAU was the theatre program for me). Little Shop of Horrors at Kingman High School when I was in middle school. It was the first time I thought, “hmm, that looks fun and I bet I’d be good at that.”
Shelby: Peter and the Starcatcher on Broadway was hands down the greatest piece of theatre that I’ve ever experienced. I saw Newsies on Broadway last January and it was so refreshing and needed. I really loved Theatreworks recent production of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying…it was so fun. When I was younger, my mom took me to see Annie Get Your Gun on Broadway…I saw Bernadette Peters live and it completely changed my life. Here I am. Thanks mom. <3