Thursday, August 7, 2014

Spotlight On...Brennan Pickman-Thoon

Name: Brennan Pickman-Thoon

Hometown: San Rafael, California

Education: Drama BFA from NYU Tisch School of the Arts, Stella Adler Studio of Acting

Select Credits: The Lion in Winter (Prince John) with the Phoenix Theatre Ensemble, Project Unspeakable (Nikita Khrushchev) with Convergences Theatre Collective, King John (Louis the Dauphin) at the Stella Adler Studio of Acting, and Stalled (Doug) - 2014 Winner of The Unchained Theatre Festival Best Play, Best Director, and Best Ensemble.

Why theater?: There is an electricity to theatre that cannot be found anywhere else in the world. A sensation that draws an audience and an ensemble together and leaves both of them breathless. I'm addicted to it.

Who do you play in The Mormon Bird Play?: I play three oddballs: Yvette, a goofy tomboy from Gooding, Idaho who might be a prophetess, Brother Finch, a warmly authoritarian member of the Ornithological Priesthood, and Sister Fantail, a pioneer woman who has just given birth on the hard road to Utah.

Tell us about The Mormon Bird Play: This play challenges us to think about childhood, faith, and the myths we create to make sense of our lives. What would it be like if an impressionable group of Mormon kids suddenly had a mysterious, unspeaking stranger in their midst? Where would they place her among their beliefs and the stories they tell each other? And then throw in a forbidden romance, a temple ceremony, and boys dressed as girls dressed as birds dressed as pioneer women.

What is it like being a part of The Mormon Bird Play?: Roger Benington, our director and playwright, has a crystal clear vision of the show. Our process has been exacting as we attempt realize this vision through our performances. The cast has a wonderful sense of camaraderie and play, which frees us up to explore.

What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?: I saw The Mysteries at The Flea earlier this summer and it reminded me why I love theatre. That kind of enrapturing theatre, the kind that grabs you and holds you and sticks with you, that is what drives me. It also inspires me to be working with my peers, these energetic young artists just starting to show the world the depth of their talent.

Any roles you’re dying to play?: I’d probably chop off a limb or two to play Prince Hal. Definitely two limbs if it could be throughout the full Henry cycle. Besides Shakespeare, I’d like to take a crack at playing Jared in Annie Baker’s play Body Awareness.

What’s your favorite showtune?: "The Confrontation" from Les Miz. They mangled it in the movie and I was very upset.

If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?: Several of my friends have had the pleasure of working with director Laura Braza, who runs the Attic Theatre company. Hearing about their experiences and seeing the resulting shows, I’d love a shot to work on one of her productions.

Who would play you in a movie about yourself and what would it be called?: I bet a young, dopey Tobey Maguire would be fun to see in my biopic, "I’ll Be Fine Without An Air Conditioner, And Other Mistakes."

What show have you recommended to your friends?: I’m involved with a big ol' rumpus of a production called The Brawl Crawl. It’s a bar crawl through 5 bars in the Village, and at each bar there’s a different Shakespearian fight scene. It’s a punchy, drunky kinda evening.

What’s the most played song on your iTunes?: “Islands,” by The XX.

What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?: Eating cheese. Chunks of it in various sizes.

What’s up next?: I’m finishing up writing a one-act play which I plan to submit to festivals here in the city. Keep an ear to the ground for more about that!