This One Goes to Eleven: David Benedict Brown

David finished theatre studies at Douglas College and kept his education rolling by forming Enlightenment Theatre, which launched with Collage: Homage to Kurt Schwitters at Studio 16 in December 2006. Their second effort, Zastrozzi, The Master of Discipline, just wrapped at the waterfront theatre, which David produced, acted in, and provided lighting design. He was also seen on stage recently in Fighting Chance Production‘s Autobahn at the Beaumont.


1.) In one word, describe your present condition.

No Comment.

2.) What is your view of the current state of Vancouver theatre?

Great in arithmetic, poor in grammer [sic], decent in gym. There are a lot of great SHOW-BIZ acts without the backing of an indigenous theatre feel but we are being exercised and I believe we will mature into a great and diverse theatre community.

3.) What has been your biggest challenge in starting your own theatre company?

Finding an intention of our own amoung our numbers, and sticking with it.

4.) How well did your college training prepare you for producing theatre professionally?

It didn’t! Aside from hinting at its level of difficulty with sceptical remarks.

5.) Zastrozzi is a proudly Canadian play, how important is nationalism in your choice of material?

I don’t believe it is of any monumental importance.

6.) Who are your main influences?

Samuel Beckett, Oscar Wilde, Terry Gilliam.

7.) What do you know about theatre now that you didn’t before you created Enlightenment?

No Comment.

8.) We as theatre artists rely on the critics for box office. Discuss.

Unfortunately critics seem to be one of the best prescriptions for putting bums in seats. We are forced to rely on this because the general public is not capable on a wide scale of researching theatre on their own. If then people do wish to see theatre with this layman attitude then they must consult the reverent entertainment rags. My only request as an individual at the mercy of critics is that they at least provide an informed opinion. To me there is nothing worse than: “…this person did well…” as per our Zastrozzi Globe and Mail review, or on the flip side “…this person did not so well…”

9.) Where do you see Enlightenment in ten years?

I hope for us to have a steady funding base, a following and perhaps our own theatre.

10.) What are your top three must-reads for the aspiring theatre artist?

The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles – Steven Pressfield
Mis-Directing the play: An Argument Against Contemporary Theatre – Terry McCabe
An Acrobat of the Heart: A Physical Approach to Acting Inspired by the Work of Jerzy Grotowski – Stephen Wangh

11.) What’s next?

We hope to regroup, hunker out of the madness of producing such a large show so early.


  1. I don’t know you, David, but my first reaction to this interview was: come on, think! Get a purpose for doing theatre beyond just making a buck — if your 10-year vision is about funding and a space, you haven’t figured out what you have to contribute, so why do you deserve funding and a space.

  2. If the general public “is not capable on a wide scale of researching theatre on their own” how can we call this lack of capability an attitude, as in “this layman attitude”? Is a disability an attitude?

    This seems like another way of putting the blame for lack of interest in theatre on some mythologized, all-powerful “public” who’d rather watch Hollywood blockbusters than support the ever-pious local theatre troupe. The public is under no fundamental obligation to prioritize theatre. It’s up to us – as theatre makers – to argue the case for its vitality through our work.

  3. The way I see indie theatre’s responsibility right now is this: choosing a play, casting it, staging it, staffing it, and listing it is exactly 1/2 of the work involved in the production of a play. Fully 50% of our work load must be engaging the public and educating them as to why it’s important for them to make our plays a nutritious part of their balanced art intake. It is incumbent on us to find out what it is that today’s potential audiences are going to respond to, and put that flavour on our menus. Eventually, when going to theatre here is as hip as checking out the new bistro on 4th, we can start putting out more experimental fare.

  4. Editor’s note: by way of explanation of the above comment; in his endorsement of Mr. McCabe’s book and my link to a seller’s site, Mr. Brown had added an extraneous ‘a’ to the spelling of the author’s name and had left out the second, and more importantly capitalized, ‘c’, a slight to which I, as editor, overlooked. I have, as per Mr. McCabe’s wishes, corrected said flub in the blog interview to which it was attached, and offer my most humble apology for any pain or embarrassment this oversight may have caused. I hope this serves as a cautionary tale to those who refuse to see the value in googling themselves.

  5. It’s people like that who make the world a less enjoyable place to be; them and serial rapists and genocidal dictators.

    I think egotistical authors are by the far the worst though.

  6. Strictly speaking, though I am indeed worse than serial rapists, it is not by all that far, and I am actually better than several individual genocidal dictators (again, not by far).

    I appreciate the opportunity to make this clarification.

    Terry McCabe

  7. As a web resource for corporations and know-how enthusiasts to observe the newest and greatest breakthroughs in Unified Communications, IP Telephony, Hosted Communications and VoIP.

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