Coming Home to Write

It was my distinct privilege to work alongside Bren Dubay.

I served for thirty-six years as Director of Rice Players, the theatre program at Rice University. Thanks to the generosity of a private foundation Bren was Rice’s Playwright-in-Residence for seven years during my last decade there. Rice Players produced two of her plays: Secrets and Irish Mist both of which I directed.

I would characterize Bren’s writing as character driven, enigmatic, almost mystical. There is a deep emotional intensity to her principal characters as they search for clarity about or reconciliation with past actions or relationships. Bren’s own background as an actor and director serves her well in that her plays are solidly stage-worthy.

As part of our professional theatre workshop, Terence Lamude joined us from New York to direct an Equity Workshop of Secrets. He assembled an exceptional Equity cast and together he, Bren and the cast continued development of the script.

Under the direction of visiting Bulgarian director Peter Karapetkov, a third play Angleton Grill was given a semester long professional workshop in preparation for a production at Rice followed by a tour in Eastern Europe. In addition to her work as playwright, Bren developed a theater administration course for Rice University students. A dozen or so students in the course served in non-performance roles for the production—marketing, promotion, box office, technical crew, etc. Through Bren’s advocacy, these students traveled with the professional company on the Eastern European tour.

Bren was an admirable colleague and an inspiration to our students. She taught playwriting and was trusted and respected due in large part to her own openness and positive critical evaluations of student work. Her presence at the rehearsals of her plays was never marked by the kinds of tension that can occur between a writer and director. She was always helpful and encouraging to the student actors and worked in genial collaboration with her director. Likewise, the professional directors and actors loved her writing, loved working with her and loved her.

| Neil “Sandy” Havens
| Professor Emeritus
| Theatre
| Rice University