It’s become a tradition at Brelby to spend the month of November reflecting on our artform and how it impacts us through our annual Blogathon. This year, in honor of our 10th Season, our Blogathon participants will be sharing lists of 10 things that have impacted them, whether they be lessons or memories…or are looking ahead towards future goals.
Today’s blogger, Tyler, found his way to Brelby last December as a cast member of Elf Academy. He had an eventful year, acting in shows including Spin and Powerhouse: the Tesla Musical, and tackling his first lighting design for Return to Rosie’s Pub. His enthusiasm is infectious, and he has a unique brand of humor that sets him apart.
Enjoy his look back over the past year with 10 Brelby memories that have impacted him.
Hello. It’s me. Ya’ boi.
I literally jumped after being contacted by Shelby Maticic to write for this blog. It certainly hasn’t been an easy last couple of weeks for me, but having this opportunity to write for the Brelby blog has helped change my attitude a bit. That’s kind of what Brelby has always been for me. I’ve experienced my fair share of personal struggles and battles with my own demons throughout this one year of being with Brelby, but I could always count on this community to help me- even if I bury what’s going on inside my head from almost everyone 95% of the time. So, I felt it right that I share with everyone 10 Brelby memories that have shaped me as an artist.
- My first show at Brelby was for last year’s Christmas show, Elf Academy. Little did I know going into it, this would be what brings me back into theatre. Before this moment, I was pursuing a theatre degree at GCU (lopes up) and honestly lost my passion for the art. I nearly gave up on it, seeking other majors because I legitimately thought I wouldn’t make it. I also lost myself in the process. You see, I didn’t do anything involving theatre since high school graduation (about 2 ½ years at that point). Cutting theatre out of my life allowed myself to fester into this perpetual state of never living up to the high standards I set myself and, in turn, hating myself. I was never good enough for anything, in my mind. I was my own worst enemy. In the midst of this, my lifelong best friend, Jon Gradilla, presented me with an opportunity to act again. I turned it down, but he was all “please Tyler” and that’s pretty much what it took to get me to audition. And here I am now. A year after our first rehearsal and I’ve done way more theatre than I’ve ever done before… and I finally feel like myself again because of Jon inviting me into this show, Brian and Shelby Maticic welcoming me into their production, and the wonderful cast for reminding me what brought me into theatre in the first place.
- Elf Academy was a first for a lot of reason. First Christmas show, first community theatre show, first time being back on the stage, first time being a kind of antagonist… first stage combat experience. It was scary. I definitely messed up a few times (sorry guys) and I was excited. It was such a thrill learning this new concept I never played around with before. And I’ve evolved with it. Most of my shows since then have featured stage combat, to some degree. And I’ve improved significantly from that time, even co-choreographing a fight scene in a show I did recently with Ghostlight. It all stems from Brian’s initial lessons back in that Christmas show. I’m very thankful for that experience.
- Another show I’m thankful for is this one y’all might’ve heard of before. Spin. God, I have so much love for that show. However, I’m doing this all in chronological order, so we’re not even touching the show… yet. This memory is from Spin callbacks. It was the first moment I felt like I could really let loose with this theatre, and so I did. Let’s just say, I don’t think anyone expected that from me. It certainly cemented me as Hudson for that show, with all the butterfly interpretive dancing and flash mobs. But, again, still not touching the show. It’s the moment right after callbacks we’re focusing on now. Everyone told me I needed to get my ass to the Results May Vary rehearsal happening right after that. So, I did. And I found a place to practice my improv. RMV has been a wonderful place to grow and hone into the impulsive side to my nature. It has allowed me to make bolder, more comical choices in main stage rehearsals and get comfortable with casts with more ease. However, the improv I learned there hasn’t all been for fun and games. It’s helped me save a number scenes in the shows I’ve been in. Having that mindset to think on my feet has been an asset to both my art and my life in general.
- Before going into Spin, Shelby M. actually extended an offer to me in regards to a film project with Laura Durant. It was my first film project and it was being produced by Fox (actually aired a month ago). I was in awe that Shelby even thought of me for the project. Even when I was barely starting out, I was offered numerous opportunities to grow. And that has definitely been something Brelby is proficient with. It’s a family that makes sure to look after one another and help each other be better artists and people, no matter where our travels take us.
- Okay, we finally made it to Spin. This show is really where I come into my own with this lovely theatre and really found a home here. This is the show where I really felt like I found myself again. It’s where I met and worked with some truly amazing people, pushed myself to learn how to play a song on guitar and sing it at the same time (even if we didn’t exactly stick with that route), and overall felt happy. This is the show where I began to find peace with myself. It has a special place in my heart and I will never forget Spin and the wonderful people involved that probably didn’t realize that they were doing so much more than they thought they were.
- Towards the end of Spin was my very first improv performance.. and it was a hot mess. For me, at least. You see, this was the day where I couldn’t sleep. And I had an early morning shift, followed immediately by an improv rehearsal, followed by Spin in the middle of said rehearsal, and then an improv show after that. I got 50 minutes of sleep the night before (I have witnesses who’d vouch for that). It was awful, but I learned the valuable lesson that sleep deprivation won’t even hold me back from my passions and the people I love. I say that last bit because, fun fact, right after the improv show I went to this mini fair and forgot all about my lack of sleep. I probably should’ve done my homework that night also, but I didn’t even get marked down for being late to turn it in, so everything worked out for the best! So, to wrap this memory up, don’t do what I did and not sleep. Please sleep.
- The Brelby retreat is a very wholesome memory to me. Whether it was the endless hours of Catan, bonding with fellow Brelby artists, or playing games to figure out what Season 11 would hold, I still enjoyed every moment of it. Through this experience, though, I did find something that helped me grow more as an artist. I felt like I was a real part to this community, rather than someone who did two shows and joined RMV. It was here that I learned that Brelby isn’t just Brian and Shelby’s ship name, but it is also the people that have come together through this theatre and created a family.
- Spy Love You was rehearsing both before and after the retreat. This crazy show really drove the bonds made during the retreat forward, but that probably was because just about everyone was there. It became so easy to work with everyone after the retreat. But, during this show, I learned the true beauty that is k-pop…. okay, I’m not actually going there. I mean, I definitely did (shoutout to the Hot Mess Trifecta), but this memory is going in a somewhat different direction. It was here that I was offered my first leading role. Rebecca Ulbrich was looking for people to audition for a show at Ghostlight Theatre and I took the offer because, at the time, I wasn’t doing anything after Spy Love You. And I landed the part for Some Sweet Day. And that show is something I will always hold dearly. A great many things came out of it, but it was an opportunity I would’ve never seen if it weren’t for the Brelby community. This memory really gave me the confidence to push myself further in my art.
- Return to Rosie’s Pub was probably the most stressful show I’ve been a part of- and I wasn’t even in it. You see, I was lighting designing (my first time ever) for this show as well as leading in the other show. It was hectic learning so much in a short span of time. There were quite a few nights where I’d Skype my friends to keep me company as I worked diligently on this design till 2am. However, I did it and I realized that I like lighting design. I felt very proud of my design and how effective it was for a first time job. This memory taught me that I will not only overload myself and produce effective results, but also taught me that I no longer have a fear for designing. Come check out my latest lighting design for 12 Days of Christmas!
- My final memory to share for this post is from Powerhouse: The Tesla Musical. This was my first musical since high school, and I’m sure it showed a lot in the early parts of it. I was scared because I’m not the most comfortable with singing for an audience. But, with plenty of support, I made it through the show and really liked being in it. It was a very fun experience that had me leaving my comfort zone and embrace musical theatre. I intend to continue with it… but hopefully after some lessons.
After all of that, here we are now. A year later from the start of this trip down memory lane. I’ve grown a lot since that first day at Elf Academy, and I’d like to think I’m still growing. Before I go, I just want to leave something for those of you that may not know yourself anymore or don’t know where to go. You’re not alone out there. It’s scary not knowing yourself, but you will. This is not the end of your story. Don’t let outside forces hold you back. Don’t even let yourself hold you back. I almost did a number of times, but it’s so rewarding doing the things that I never thought I could do. You will fall sometimes, but that’s when you get up and be better. Failure isn’t losing unless you allow it to be. Every day offers a new page to your story, so do your best to make it count.
You are not what people say that you cannot do. You are not the hateful things you tell yourself. You are the choices you take to be better than them. You are worth it. The best role in this life is yourself.
Be good to nature. Be good to each other. Be good to yourself. Take care everyone.