Whilst braving a cold, cold winter in my home in NYC, I received a warming phone call from Bren Dubay asking me to direct a workshop of her play, Secrets. Bren and I had been introduced the previous year when I directed the premiere of Music From Down the Hill by John Ford Noonan at Houston’s Stages Repertory Theatre. Though I thought Bren’s play was a deftly written, character-driven tale with convincingly forceful dialogue, I respected her desire to further experiment. Characteristic of Bren’s resourcefulness, she secured a sponsorship for my residency and for an Equity workshop from Rice University. With the keen eye of a seasoned casting director, Bren engaged the services of four gifted actors to play two sisters accused of a horrific murder, their serpentine mother and an enigmatic nun. Over six plus weeks, the actors, Bren and myself chewed on the play initially like eager puppies, gradually abasing to rabid mongrels, eventually progressing to bloodhounds hot on the trail and ultimately emerging as best in show at two well-received and attended staged readings at Rice. Throughout the entire process, Bren was Zen-like in her patience, shrewd in her analysis, cogent in her probing, welcoming to all input and enthusiastic in her willingness to rework. Consequently, Bren deepened the characters, unearthing additional dimensions with language that was at once both intensely hard-boiled and sublimely lyrical. The workshop of Secrets was an exhilarating experience.
| Terence Lamude