Interview by Laura Ng
Since taking on producing the shows she wanted to see while in college, this month’s Featured Member and two-time Lemonade Fund benefit producer, Megan Briggs, exemplifies how a theatre artist can blow past the constraints placed on early actors to create her own play and develop works that support the field.
|TBA featured member Megan Briggs. Photo: Quincy Cardinale
Tell us about your path into theatre, and a favorite project/production you were part of or inspired by.
I started acting at age eleven, inspired by a teacher who wrote original musicals for kids. The need to perform has never let go of me since, despite the bumpy ride. In college, the head of the acting program told me that I didn't have the drive or passion to make it as an actor. It made me more committed to my creative goals, and I transferred to University of the Pacific where they fully supported my theatre endeavors. I wanted to bring a dialogue to my campus about many of the issues women face, so I decided to produce, direct and perform The Vagina Monologues. We sold out every performance and I was able to present a check for over $20,000 to the Women’s Center of San Joaquin.
Last year I was lucky enough to co-produce and perform in The Desk Set. It’s a fantastic play set in the 1950s, and producing it posed a set of unique problems. For example, we had to build a large, era-appropriate computer that had flashing lights, produced printed pages, and could only be visible during the second act. Even though we had a limited budget, our amazing team of hardworking people was able to pull it all together, and the end result was nothing short of miraculous. Our computer frequently got its own applause when it arrived at the beginning of the second act!
What off-route attributes, hobbies or experiences made a surprising contribution to your art?
I’ve developed a love of gardening in recent years, and it’s taught me to have more patience in my theatre career. If I plant something in the fall, I have to wait until spring for it to bloom. It’s important to realize that things don’t always happen as quickly as I would like, and often it’s worth the wait!
I love listening to all kinds of music (including hip hop), and I enjoy rapping when I go to karaoke. Amazingly enough, I’ve been able to share this skill a few times on stage! One of my favorite single moments is playing a character that does a rap about working in an office. I love it when a director asks me to rap for them in an audition because it gives me a chance to stand out and have a little fun.
What do you like about the Bay Area theatre scene, and being a TBA member?
I really enjoy the sense of camaraderie that I feel with the people in the Bay Area theatre scene. TBA helps to support individuals to network with the community through training opportunities, grants, the Awards, and especially the Lemonade Fund. Last year I helped coordinate two productions as
fundraisers for the Lemonade Fund, and to know that I was helping to support theatre-makers in need means the world to me. I'm thankful for the time I served on the TBA Individual Services Committee because I got to learn so much about the organization and to work with my peers to support individual TBA members.
Anything coming up soon that you are excited about?
I’m going to play Regan in a thrilling new production of King Lear–opening at PianoFight on November 21–one of the final shows being produced by Theatre Pub. I’m also in the (very) preliminary stages of developing a new play based on my exciting (and sometimes harrowing) dating experiences in SF, and I’m so excited to see where that journey takes me.
Theatre Bay Area members: Creative. Committed. Community.