Patrick Brien

Director

Time in Greater OC: About 14 Years, with large gaps in between

Neighborhood: Irvine

Hometown: All over the world, but largely Southern California

What are you currently working on?

I just started a new position with Arts Orange County, so theatre is taking a back seat right now. That being said, I'm always looking at future pieces for my company, The Gestalt Theatre Project.

What's been inspiring you recently?

More so than ever I am inspired by work that encourages people to examine what is happening in society, as well as the potential role they may play.

Tell us a story from your childhood that illuminates who you are as an artist.

When I was a junior in high school, I was mis-scheduled into a drama class. I decided it might be fun so I didn't drop it. For the first show I auditioned for a very small role and got it. Then the lead moved and I was given his part. I was so self-critical that it was almost paralyzing. I knew I was letting everyone down. So with just a handful of rehearsals left, I decided that I didn't care how I looked. I went out there and gave myself over to the character. When I walked offstage, the director said, "Patrick...that was great!" I was hooked ever since.

What kind of theatre excites you?

Theatre that challenges and changes us.

Who are or were your theatrical heroes?

One of my first theatrical heroes was Sam Shepard. When I first read Buried Child, I knew that I would direct it one day. He was one of a handful of playwrights who shaped what I thought was possible on a stage.

What's the craziest thing you have ever needed to do for theatre?

When I was running a theatre in Germany, I was the director, producer, scenic, lighting and sound designer. Plus I did all of the building and rigging. And was in all of the first shows. I'd be awake for days during tech week, making the final push toward opening night.

Outside of a theatre, what's your favorite hot spot in Orange County?

I just got back into Orange County so I'm still figuring that out.

What advice do you have for theatre artists just starting out in Orange County?

Go see and support the work of others. Connect. Be kind and be generous.

Patrick Brien