Like the old saying goes “the show must go on,” and for senior Tristen Brown, his story is no different.
Brown who has been doing theater since he was five years old, made his way to Texas Wesleyan’s stage after successful recruitment from Wesleyans theater members, who made an impact on his life decisions.
“I took a break in middle school and tried other things, like sports, and I came back to [theater] in high school, and then realized I want to do theater for the rest of my life,” Brown said. “If I’m going to do something for the rest of my life, I might as well get paid for it, so I chose theater at Texas Wesleyan.”
While at Wesleyan, Brown has been a part of many productions put on by Theatre Wesleyan, onstage and backstage, as well as putting on his production for his senior project to achieve is Bachelor of Fine Arts.
“The “Universal Language” [Brown’s senior production] was really fun. I had quite a blast doing it. It’s also our first time doing a streaming production because of COVID. It was a really good first-hand experience, and the first experience doing on-camera work as an actor,” said Brown.
“It was a blessing that my senior project got to be all these amazing things all in one package.”
Like other people, COVID-19 has also had a big effect on Brown and his plans for his future in theater. Originally, his senior project was scheduled to be a musical that was canceled in the Spring of 2020, but he said that he would not let this get the better of him and keep him away from his plans for the future.
Brown’s optimism and his high spirits have not only been seen in times of hardship, such as COVID, but they have been seen throughout his time at Texas Wesleyan. During his time at Wesleyan, Brown has made an impact on those around him both on and off the stage, said Jacob Rivera-Sanchez, theater department business manager.
He went on to say, “Tristen has been involved in many of our productions since the moment he stepped foot on the Wesleyan campus. From doing onstage and backstage work, to the skills he developed being a part of the movement classes, I have seen a significant amount of growth in the four years he has been a part of our department. But he has always been a team player.”
Along with his growth in the theatre, he plans to use this moment in his life to also spread awareness about social issues and to ensure that he has a part in bringing diversity to the theater, said Brown.
“Originally I wasn’t thinking about an all-black cast, but when we do shows we don’t have to meet a [diversity] quota, but I’ve noticed that in Theatre Wesleyan there aren’t shows that talk about those problems, and they deal with those situations [diversity and social issues],” Brown said.
“I don’t think I can ever remember an all-black cast, at least at my time here at Wesleyan, so doing this I felt an extra sense of pride in it, knowing that even though it wasn’t a very big production, this is the first time, at least in four years, I have seen an all-black cast.”
This production, Brown’s senior project, is just one of the many accomplishments that he has had during his college career. Associate professor of theatre, Jeanne Everton, has worked with Brown from the moment he walked through the door, and she is proud of his accomplishments and knows his future is bright.
“Theater right now is very different, because of COVID. [Tristen] is trained to work both on the stage and on-camera so whichever route he ends up going, or perhaps he is going to go both, which I hope he does, he’s going to find success based on the fact that he is well trained and committed to doing the best work possible,” said Everton.
Brown said, he has not changed his plans for the future, but he has broken them down into smaller steps due to COVID changing the way the theater world is functioning currently. Despite those minor bumps in the road, he is excited for his future and grateful for the lessons Wesleyan has given him.