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Artist Spotlight: Briandaniel Oglesby - Small Steps

Meet Briandaniel Oglesby, the Playwright of Shrewd Productions' World Premiere of Small Steps! Get Tickets to Small Steps today!

Raul Garza plays Sherman Park in "Greetings from Shrewd Mountain Lodge: A Holiday Whodunit"
Briandaniel Oglesby - Playwright

About Briandaniel Ogelsby Briandaniel is a mixed-Latino LGBT playwright based out of Austin and Sacramento. He writes plays for both teens and mature audiences. His play Small Steps was developed at the JAW Festival and Playwrights' Week at the Lark. His play Halfway, Nebraska was developed at Playwrights’ Week at the Lark, and went on to win the award for Outstanding Playwriting from the New York International Fringe Festival. His play She Gets Naked in the End received the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival Latinidad Award, and he is a three-time National Finalist for the festival for his short work. He frequently develops his plays-for-teens with a group of teenagers, using devising techniques and kinesthetic dramaturgy. For ten years, he was Literary Manager for Barnyard Theatre, a company he co-founded that produced new work in a historic dirt-floored barn. He has an MFA in Creative Writing and Writing for the Performing Arts from the University of California at Riverside and a second MFA in Playwriting from the University of Texas at Austin. Briandaniel worked with Shrewd Productions previously as a lead playwright for Letters from Camp Shrewd: an episodic play by mail.

A Message from Brian

I love that Shrewd is doing Small Steps, and it’s a great gift to have the premiere at Hyde Park Theatre. Small Steps started as a ten-minute play at Hyde Park with ScriptWorks’ Out-of-Ink (a short play festival) about this guy waiting to go Mars because he’s sure no one will ever love him. And I wanted to spend more time with him. I wanted to see his journey to Mars. I’ve seen plenty of these ‘everyman’ ‘see you later fam, going to space’ movies, and I love them, but what if it’s about someone who’s gay and mixed, and what if it’s a comedy? Online hookup apps are so absurd, and they do make you want to flee the planet. So I wrote it summer 2016. It went down this crazy development path. The JAW Festival in Portland, Playwrights Week at the Lark in New York, local readings, B Street’s New Comedies Festival. So many wonderful people helped shape this oddball campy comedy about gay loneliness.

And theatre companies looked at it. Barely a nibble. I’d hear, "we like it, but we’re already doing a space play this year or we don't think it’s for our subscribers". Then the pandemic happened, theatre paused, and my agent changed careers. Not to mention, all these theaters needed to catch up with what they’d wanted to do before the pandemic. And I thought, did Small Steps miss a window?

But Shannon (Artistic Director of Shrewd Productions) had seen something unique in it, as had these folks at Bike City Theatre in California. Bike City joined with what’s now called Catalyst Theatre Festival (at UC Davis) so I could develop the play for distance and add actors. One more amazing workshop online, and the script was ready for Shrewd for the Fall of 2021.

A breakthrough Covid infection skidded Small Steps again, and I thought, well, what now?

Now, it’s summer 2023, and we have a brilliant young director and a fabulous cast, and I’m so excited to have this world premiere in Austin, coming to Hyde Park Theatre. It's a play that’s coming home.


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