|Brigham Mosley [credit Erik Carter]|
Describing Brigham Mosley's work, Clint May of Chicago Theater Beat wrote "To say he has a lot of panache would be an understatement...[A] beautiful curio—at once poetic, raw, and intimate...Mosley is yet a young man in the world of theatre, but shows a talent and wisdom beyond his years."
Brigham is a Dallas-based theatre artist. He is presenting his show Mo[u]rnin'. After. at the 2015 Dallas Solo Fest. He sits down here to answer some questions for us at TSP.
Here we go...
Q: Please give us a brief bio, where you are from and how you started in performance?
A: I'm from southwest Oklahoma - went to school for theatre studies at SMU where I first got into performance work - moved to NYC after graduating; got into the downtown, queer theatre scene and then moved back to Dallas last summer!
Q: What event or desire brought you specifically into the world of solo performance?
A: At SMU I took a workshop with acclaimed solo performer Tim Miller - it just opened up my world. I realized how immediate and charged solo work can be - it changed the way I saw theatre! After graduating I moved to NYC where I pursued solo work at spaces like PS122, La MaMa, and The New Museum.
Q: Could you tell us about your show Mo[u]rnin'. After.?
A: Mo[u]rnin'. After. is a "mythic autobiography for the queer, prodigal son" - a journey to the ancestors and back to the homeland through magic, musicals, and time travel. There will be dream ballets.
Q: What is your favorite thing about doing this work?
A: The immediacy. I love being in a room with an audience and having that agency to break from the script and explore a moment - to have that conversation and acknowledge what's happening in the space. No fourth walls! No walls!
Q: What has been the biggest challenge?
A: Getting perspective. It's hard to step back from a piece - especially autobiographical ones. Removing myself from the show and looking at it from above or beside - that's a toughie for me!
Q: What inspires you to keep going and how do you keep yourself motivated?
A: The work keeps me going - the exploration - I love digging deep and when creating new work all these new little germs of future pieces bubble to the surface. To stay motivated I read a lot, I see a lot. I love everything - high-brow, low-brow - it's all good! It's all meaty!
Q: What is your approach to the development process when putting together a new project? Do you create a lot on stage, improvising? More on paper? Tape or video record? Hold readings? Go to a mountain top?
A: I'm so text-based - I love scripts - I love having the work on paper. For me it's about knowing a show backwards and forwards and then on the other side of that is all this freedom to break from the text. For creating new work I do a lot of uncensored writing - often I have impulses for pieces - whether that's a character or a topic or a metaphor - and from there it's about unpacking and unfolding and then re-shaping into a new vehicle.
Q: Who are some of your influences or people that inspire/embolden you? Particularly as a solo performer?
A: Tim Miller started it all - I think he's incredible. Taylor Mac is divine - I adore his aesthetic and style and humor. Charles Ludlam and the Theatre of the Ridiculous, Young Jean Lee, DOLLY PARTON! Dolly is God.
|Brigham Mosley in Mo[u]rnin'. After.|
Q: How do you bridge the gap between the business side of theatre and the creative aspects?
A: Oh goodness - that's the challenge! To quote Dolly (so much Dolly!): "Find out who you are and do it on purpose." I think all artists are brands - we're all entrepreneurs and inventors and we have to be able to represent the work we make. For me it's about knowing who I am as a writer and performer. It's about being able to sum up the work for an elevator pitch, for a grant, for an application, etc. Once you know who you are and what you want you can sort of piece together what that life looks like - and then you can add in the day job on top!
Q: What do you see for the future of solo performance and for you personally as an artist?
A: You know people always talk about Theatre as a dying art form - which I so don't agree with. [Editor's Note: Neither do I ~ Brad] I think theatre is Experience and that will never be something humans don't hunger for. I think theatre must become more theatrical (because theatre will never be able to do film better than film!) - I think that solo performance as a medium is one with strengths in immediacy and intimacy - it's also inherently theatrical because it's so much exposed-wires and torn-down fourth walls. Film can't do that - TV can't do that. I want more collaboration (which is maybe paradoxical in solo work but whatevs!) - I think making theatre that's more dancerly, more musical - big costumes! Makeup! Wigs! That's the future for me!
Q: Any links you'd like me to list?