Centralia College drama professor Brian Tyrrell, center, looks on as his daughter, Megan Tyrrell, the lead of the play, greet Jack Arend, on the first day of rehearsal for "Once on This Island" on Monday, April 4. "The first rehearsal is like the first day of school," said Brian Tyrrell. "It's all about introductions to the world of the play. It's one of the coolest things about the theatre."
Brian Tyrrell, the director of "Once on This Island", works with Austin Fuentes, center-left, playing the role of Papa Ge, and Megan Tyrrell, playing the role of Ti Moune, during a rehearsal on Tuesday, April 19 at Corbet Theatre in Centralia. Brian Tyrrell, who will be retiring at the end of the spring quarter, has been teaching drama at Centralia College for 25 years. Tyrrell said that during the 25 years he has been producing plays at the college 544 different actors have "crossed the boards" on stage.
During a rehearsal of the emotional nadir of "Once on This Island" Tyrrell urges the actors to look inside themselves to find a place where they can recall sorrow. "There is no one way to get there," said Tyrrell, who stressed to the cast about finding that authentic emotion so the audience can relate to the story that is being told on stage.
Brian Tyrrell, head of the drama department at Centralia College, watches a rehearsal of "Once on This Island" from halfway up the Corbet Theatre. At the beginning of rehearsing a production said Tyrrell that he tends to focus on the little details, but as the production progresses takes a step back and tries to see the bigger picture. "At this point I am trying to see the show from the audience's point of view," he said. "I ask myself: 'Are we telling this story clearly and succinctly? Is the audience going to get it?'"
The cast of "Once on This Island" plays hacky sack during a break in a rehearsal on Tuesday, May 19 at the Corbet Theatre in Centralia.
As the cast of "Once on This Island" sits in place, Tyrrell goes over the details of a scene with Paige Flock, playing the role of Andrea, during a rehearsal on Monday, May 9 three days before the show begins. Until the moment the curtain was raised on Thursday, May 12, the production's tiniest details continued to ebb and flow.
Longtime Centralia College drama professor Brian Tyrrell, center, holds Margaret Page, 3, the youngest actor in "Once on This Island", during a break in rehearsal on Monday, May 9 at Corbet Theatre in Centralia. This evening will play host to the last performance of Tyrrell's final production in his 25-year career as head of the college's drama department.
Brian Tyrell walks into the green room at Centralia College just 15 minutes until the start of the first performance of "Once on This Island," on Thursday, May 12 at the Corbet Theatre in Centralia. This evening will play host to the last performance of Tyrrell's final production in his 25-year career as head of the Centralia College's drama program. "Working with kids has kept me really, really young," said Tyrrell. "Their youthful energy is life affirming."
Tyrrell takes notes during the first performance of "Once on This Island" on Thurdsay, May 12 at the Corbet Theatre in Centralia. Once the show's run begins Tyrrell admitted the rarely makes any changes to it. "I only write notes down if absolutely necessary. Just tiny little fixes," he said. He admitted that in the past he would jot down ideas for the upcoming productions, but with his final show there was no need for that, he enjoyed just being in the audience.
Tyrrell quickly pulls the scrim, a temporary background used throughout the play, during a performance of "Once on This Island" at the Corbet Theatre on Thursday, May 19. "That sucker is heavy," said the 64 year old of the 150-pound weight he has to raise and lower 12 times a show. "But, it allows me to stay attached to the show."
Brian Tyrrell talks to his wife, Jana, who is playing the role of Erzulie, Goddess of Love, in the hallway behind the Corbet Theatre during the intermission of Thursday's performance of "Once on This Island". "She's a dream to work with," said Tyrrell of his wife, who has been in at least 20 of his shows over the past 25 years. "Every time she steps on stage its subtly different," he added. "She always says that she found something new, and thats why we do it. We do it so we can find new things. If it's going to be the same every time we should just film it and show them the film version."
Tyrrell's office is lined with over 300 pictures from various plays, performers and moments outlining his 25 years as the head of the drama department at Centralia College. "Every picture is a reflection of my life," he said. "It's a tribute to a life of telling stories."
Brian Tyrrell, the longtime head of the Centralia College Drama Department, gets a standing ovation while being recognized by his cast after the final performance of "Once on This Island" on Saturday night at the Corbet Theatre. After 25 years, Saturday marked the final performance of Tyrrell's last directorial effort at the college. He plans to retire after the spring quarter to pursue an acting career.