Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Brett Ryback: Quintuple Threat

Brett Ryback
     Triple threat is a phrase often used to describe actors who also sing and dance, but Brett Ryback has a number of other talents at his disposal. His impressive acting resume tells only a small sliver of the story of this multi-talented and prolific artist. In addition to acting, Brett is an award winning playwright, composer and lyricist, with a number of musicals and plays to his credit. I have had the privilege of working with Brett for over a year now on The Prince of Atlantis, as it has passed through its various stages of development at South Coast Rep. On our breaks in rehearsal, I've had the chance to talk with him about the differences he perceives between his various disciplines.
     "Acting is a problem with only more problems and then more problems after that (like life), whereas music is a problem with a solution," he says. "Music is structure. It's math. It's physics. And its about as close to all of those things that I can stand to get, but I love it. Communicating through music is like trying to solve a puzzle, but the beauty is that when you've found the solution, and play it out, you end up with an infinite number of interpretations. 'Dominant to Tonic' is always just that, but it means a lot of things to a lot of different people."
     As we negotiate the difficult, intriguing and thrilling process of bringing a new play to life, we run into hidden bumps and snags that have to be solved in a fluid, complicated and collaborative dance. Sharing a drink after one particularly challenging rehearsal, discussing the day's discoveries, Brett turns to me and says, "I'm realizing more and more that acting is about surviving the mess. Nothing is clear cut about the way we feel and the things we want or how we're going to go about getting them. We just do the best we can."
     You can watch and listen to recordings of Brett's live performances of his songs. I would start with this one, Song of the Dead Fairy. Then continue your exploration of Brett and his music at his channel on YouTube, by following this link to Soundcloudand at his website.

1 comment:

  1. I really liked this quote: "I'm realizing more and more that acting is about surviving the mess. Nothing is clear cut about the way we feel and the things we want or how we're going to go about getting them. We just do the best we can." This is how I've been feeling these days. I am an actress in training, trying to work on my craft every day. The more I work, the more I can relate to the quote above. Thanks for the post! :)

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