Sunday, September 19, 2021

49 Questions with Luke Brown

Theatre director Luke Brown has had a busy 19-20 season. In addition to his work as Director of New Play Development at Theatre Aquarius, where he is spearheading the company’s first indie theatre festival, he also directed the Hamilton Theatre Project‘s successful debut musical, Ordinary Days, co-produced The Surprise Show with friend and performer Nicholas Wallace and even found time to get married.

Most recently, Brown has launched Diversion Entertainment (previously Flat Earth Global Productions) with wife Vicktoria Adam. The company is committed to creating memorable experiences by producing high-quality productions with a touch of hospitality. Their first production, Every Brilliant Thing, co-produced with Rook’s Theatre (and directed by Brown) opens on March 14. If Brown’s recent track record is any indication, this show is set up to be another hit for the director.

I posed 58 questions to Luke, and asked him to pick and choose which questions he wished to answer (minimum of 15). The unedited responses formulate the interview below.

1. What are three things that make you love living in Hamilton?
1) Waterfront;
2) Proximity to amenities and other cities;
3) The ever-growing arts community.

2. What is your default drink of choice?

3. Name your favourite venue in Hamilton.
Staircase Theatre, a lot of varied and good memories of seeing and doing shows there. Colette and Keith are unsung heroes in the performance community.

4. Who are your role models?
My Dad. I’ve never met anyone as kind and generous as him.

5. What makes you the happiest?
When something makes me laugh uncontrollably.

6. What makes you the angriest?
Artists celebrating the failure of other artists.

7. What stage or performance work could you watch over and over again?
Rich Aucoin is incredible live.

8. What is your favourite sound?
The purring of a cat.

9. What is your least favourite sound?
People eating.

10. Under what circumstances would you join the army?
If World Peace was declared

11. What is your favourite smell?
Freshly baked bread

12. What is your least favourite smell?

13. What is the strangest road you’ve ever travelled?
Google Maps once took me on a “short cut” through Northern Vermont on my way to Quebec. It was a dirt road for 2 hours. There were no houses, no cars, nothing. All I could think of was The Hills Have Eyes.

14. What is your favourite word?

15. What is your favourite animal?
Tough question. I’m an animal lover. It’s a toss-up between cats and dogs.

16. What animal scares you the most?
Fish. Those fuckers don’t blink. They stare right through you.

17. What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Hamilton?
Waterfront Trail.

18. Name three books that you read that have really made an impact on you/your life/your career.
The Undoing Project – Michael Lewis; The Time Traveller’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger; The Tsar of Love and Techno – Anthony Mara

19. What is the title and author of the book closest to you right now? Bossypants – Tina Fey

20. What television show could you watch over and over again?
Star Trek: The Next Generation or The Simpsons seasons 2 – 6. I grew up on them, they’re like comfort food.

21. What are the first three things you do every morning?
Pee, make coffee, sit with our cat Max (he’s needy first thing in the morning)

22. Where was the last place you traveled for work or pleasure?
Cancun for my honeymoon

23. What was the first play that made you love theatre?
When I was 15, I saw a high school production of Guys & Dolls. I kept going back and seeing it over and over.

24. If you could board a plane today, where would it be taking you?
Today? Some place warm.

25. What is the one place you have the least interest in visiting?
New Brunswick.

26. What is the game you are best at?
MLB Tap Sports Baseball, I’m not even good at it but I can get lost in it for hours on end.

27. What is your biggest phobia?
Swimming in water where I can’t see the bottom

28. If you had a motto, what would it be?
“Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.” Samuel Beckett

29. What is your signature meal to cook at home?
Bacon, eggs & homefries

30. What is the strangest talent that you possess?
Not sure if this qualifies as a talent but whatever lineup I choose when shopping will immediately grind to a halt. Apparently I have the ability to turn the shoppers ahead of me into forgetful, clumsy or chatty people.

31. What talent do you wish you possessed?
Small talk.

32. What relatively normal piece of clothing do you believe you look ridiculous in?
Bow tie. To be fair, I find anyone over the age of 10 wearing one suspicious.

33. What different career path you could have gone on?

34. What sport did you give up and why?
Most sports. When I was 14 I had an accident that severely dislocated my right shoulder. It took surgery to repair it. Today there is very little cartilage remaining making any sort of throwing/swinging motion painful.

35. What is your ancestry? – I’m honestly not sure. Whenever I’ve asked, it leads to a seemingly unending number of ever-changing European countries. So, European mutt?

35. What are you listening to as you answer these questions?
Anthropocene Reviewed by John Green.

36. What are your three favourite films?
Ghostbusters; Don’t Think Twice; The Fantastic Mr. Fox.

37. What is your major character flaw?
I can be very impatient.

38. What character flaw in others can you not stand?

39. How do you know when you can trust someone?
I tend to trust unless I’m given a reason not to.

40. What is the best way to die?
Quickly and painlessly but ideally with 24 hours’ notice so I can break a few laws without any consequences.

41. Have you ever fired a gun? If so, what were the circumstances?
Yes, one of my Mum’s boyfriends wanted to teach me how “man up” by showing me how to fire a gun. We shot at empty beer cans. I never hit a target. When the zombie apocalypse happens you don’t want me on your team.

42. What are you the most proud of?
My marriage and the good friends I am able to surround myself with.

43. What artist do you most admire?
So many! I’m on a big John Green kick at the moment. Duncan MacMillan, Regina Spector, Mike Birbiglia.

44. What was the luckiest moment in your life?
Meeting Vicktoria, who on August 12, 2019, became my wife.

45. What was the unluckiest moment in your life?
I’ve had my fair share of “unlucky” things happen to me but every time it’s eventually lead to something wonderful.

46. What’s the biggest mistake you’ve ever made?
Too painful answer in detail but let’s go with “repeatedly ignoring the red flags people have thrown up.”

47. What is the best thing about your work?
You get to collaborate with people on things they’re passionate about. It brings out the best in people.

48. What is the worst thing about your work?
It’s fleeting. You work so long to create something and then it’s over in a flash.

49. Name three things that have no monetary value that you own, but you love dearly and will keep forever.
1) A scarf that was knitted for me.
2) A photo that was taken of my family in August of 2000.
3) An inscribed flask that my bestie gave me for being a groomsman at her wedding.

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