Carolyn McBurney Talks When Love is at its Best, It's UNEXPECTED
Carolyn McBurney has worked with John Perovich as a director and a student and has been active with Brelby Theatre Company for several years, directing and co-writing After Hours at Rosie's Pub with the women of Brelby. She has received Arizoni nominations for her roles in Be a Good Little Widow and Nearly Naked Theatre's Phaedre. Other shows she has performed in at Brelby include The Importance of Being Earnest, The Tempest, Beyond Musketeers, Love's Labours Lost and Little Women, the Musical. She is remembered in the Valley for playing the title role in Hedda Gabler, Mrs. Tilford in The Children's Hour, Jill in Equus, Katherine in Taming of the Shrew, and Prospero in The Tempest.
"As a young mother of three daughters," McBurney said of her unexpected character Ann, "she was abandoned by her husband. She has dealt with her grief by becoming aggressively defensive about protecting her girls. Ain't nobody gonna mess with these girls - but what happens when the girls grow up and are interested in learning more about love?," she asked.
Cliff Williams, who plays unexpected's Merchant - both a pivotal character and the show's narrator - boils it down. "This story is about love. The best kind of love - when love is at its best - when its unexpected."
"The story," continued McBurney, "examines an extraordinary array of characters who meet love in a variety of incarnations and at each intersection, they meet with joy, fear, wonder and disaster. I am loving this script," she said. "It is a character unlike any I have portrayed before - an exciting role with a huge range for a woman of a certain age. I am lucky to have a sensitive director and cast to work with who are so generous with me as I explore this role."
Williams has been seen at Glendale Community College where he performed as Señor Sanchez in Cactus Flower, Sigmund Freud and Pontius Pilate in The Last Days of Judas Iscariot, and Richard Hannay in The 39 Steps. With the Grassroots Shakespeare Company, he said he "met the love of his life" by playing Benedick to her Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing. Last fall, Cliff appeared as Banquo in Brelby's Macbeth, which is also where he met unexpected's director, Gerald Thompson. Cliff's other Brelby credits include Prentiss in Peter and the Starcatcher and Charlie in Better Half, which was part of Brelby's Night of Shorts.
About his role in unexpected, Cliff says it's one of the most challenging he's undertaken, but also the one to which he feels the closest.
"The Merchant is the narrator of the story who doesn't really know how it's going to end. He is kind-hearted and warm with a wisdom that comes from regret. And he's telling this story for a reason. John has written an amazing script with beautiful, poetic language that is still so relatable. As an actor, it's such an interesting experience to perform with words that were written by a man sitting not 20 feet away. I've never had that before. I'm very proud of the work we've already accomplished and I can't wait to show everyone what we'll have in the end," he concluded.
Brelby partners with local downtown Glendale businesses to offer more options for audience members. By showing their digital ticket, audiences can receive 10% off of their bill at the Hop Stop Diner, 10% off of any entrée at Haus Murphy's Restaurant, and 10% off of a customer's bill at the Olde Towne Glendale (OTG) Beer & Wine Bar or the Gaslight Inn.
UNEXPECTED plays May 19-20, 26-27, June 2-3, 9-10 at 7:30pm May 21, 28, June 4 at 2:00PM. Tickets are available by visiting the official website at brelby.com/tickets. General admission is $25 per performance. Admission to unexpected is included in the benefits of Brelby's ShowGO subscription:brelby.com/showgo. The Brelby Playhouse is located at 7154 N 58th Dr, Glendale, AZ 85301.