Meet the Director of The Zoo Story: Brian Gibson

Brian Gibson
Brian Gibson, director of The Zoo Story.

Aloha Friends of TAG and welcome back to our blog! Today I am going to give you some more information about a beloved director here at TAG: Brian Gibson.  First, because he typically offers fun and unique bios for the programs, here is the straight MO regarding his theatre bio:

Assistant Director

  • The Glass Menagerie (2007, Tin Roof Theatre Company)
  • Crimes of the Heart (2008, Tin Roof Theatre Company)

Director

  • Deathtrap (2009, Tin Roof Theatre Company)
  • Laura (2010, Tin Roof Theatre Company)
  • Resistance (2014, The Actors’ Group)
  • Donuts (2015, The Actors’ Group)

Actor

  • Cat on a Hot Tin Roof – Reverend Tooker, (2005, Tin Roof Theatre Company)
  • Arsenic and Old Lace – Mr. Witherspoon and Rev. Dr. Harper, (2007, Tin Roof Theatre Company)
  • The Little Foxes – Horace (2008, Tin Roof Theatre Company)
  • The Belle’s Stratagem – Courtall (2013, The Actors’ Group)
  • Hollywood Arms – Bill (2013, The Actors’ Group)
  • Defiance – Chaplain White (2014, The Actors’ Group)
  • Hawaii 5-0 – Dad in Taxi (Episode 515, CBS)
  • Superior Donuts – Max (2015, The Actors’ Group)
  • Storefront Church – Tom Raidenberg (2015, The Actors’ Group)

Why Brian, I think that’s the first time you’ve ever given me a straight presentation of your credits! Unlike many of us actors, you usually are very brief in your bios. So it’s wonderful to hear a little bit more about your background. And with that said, I want to hear more about how you got into theater.

Like most people, I guess, I did some theatre in high school and college — mostly to meet girls. After college, I assumed my theatre career was over. In 2006, when my daughter was about 10 years old, her mother and I were discussing possible ideas for the summer to keep her busy and to keep her from getting bored. A local theatre company was producing The King and I, which has a lot of roles for children, so we decided to take her to the audition. She auditioned, and the director liked her, and then he said, “Okay, Mom and Dad, get up there and sing something.” We tried to defer, saying that we were just there for the girl. The director explained that they had plenty of children, but not enough adults. I ended up signing (badly) “Take Me Out to the Ballgame,” but, nevertheless, was cast as a palace guard and as Buddha in the ballet in the second act, and her mother was cast as one of the King’s wives. We ended up doing the production as a family, which was an awesome experience. The production ended, and we thought that was that. But, as is true in community theatre the world over, it is a small universe and a few months later the assistant director of The King and I was directing a production of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and needed actors. Our phone rang. She asked if we were interested in participating as a family again, with my daughter playing one of the “no-neck monsters,” her mother as Mae, and myself as Reverend Tooker. We said yes immediately. After that, I guess I was hooked. I began to audition for roles, and was generally successful in getting roles, even if it was a smaller part.

I think that’s terrific, it started out as a family thing and reignited a passion in you. That’s wonderful. We often assume that our artistic selves need to disappear or take a back seat when we leave school. But it doesn’t. Indeed, it’s helpful and healthy when we nurture our artistic sides. I’m glad you have done so.

A lot of people probably already know this, but you and I work together a great deal, and I am grateful! Indeed, I’m your AD for The Zoo Story. Anyway, we have lots of opportunities to talk story and I have always enjoyed that. One thing that we share is our love for specific actors and actresses. If you really had to pick one out, single one out, what actor or actress do you revere and why? How has that person impacted your work?

John Goodman. First, he never sucks. Never. Look as his films and his TV career. He is universally good. Second, he’s a big dude, like me. It’s not easy being an plus-sized actor in a business obsessed with how people look. The leading man role is almost always given to a good looking, weight proportionate actor. But John Goodman gives me hope, and has helped me understand that there are good roles out there for talented actors, no matter what size they are.

Right on. I have some of the same idols for similar but different reasons. For example, I identify with Janeane Garofalo, a short, quirky, funny woman. She is not the leading lady type, but I can’t help but think we are a great deal alike, regarding our strengths and our “type” (one of my least favorite words in our field). It’s nice to have somebody to look up to, and to remind us that success in our heart is possible! With that said, I know you want to be a full-time director and actor, but until that big break comes for you, what do you when you are not acting?

Offstage, I am a government bureaucrat. No really. Most people find that hard to believe. But in my job I primarily use the rational side of my brain. Acting and directing helps me exercise the creative side of my brain, which, I firmly believe, makes me a better at my job. It’s hard to explain, but my involvement in theatre and acting helps me see problems differently — it helps me rotate problems in my head and see them from all sides and helps me develop solutions to problems that may not be obvious.

I agree, you do see problems differently on stage and off the stage, and it’s fantastic how you’re able to use both of those drinks in the real world.  Thank you so much, Brian, for taking the time to talk with me today. I know you are super busy, and we all have a great deal to do to get rid of our evening with Edward Albee. Personally, I’ve been so excited to see the progress in the zoo story, and I think audiences are going to love this one!


TAG, you’re it!

The world needs theatre and TAG needs you!

An Evening with Edward Albee: The American Dream and The Zoo Story runs May 6th through the 29th. Tickets can be purchased online at http://www.taghawaii.net or 808-722-6941

 

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