by Brad Delzer
If you ask any of us in the Theatre B Ensemble the reasons why we have an ensemble, you’ll hear the phrase ‘intentional family.’ For us, who we get to make stuff with is just as important as the stuff we get to make. Making theatre can be terrifying; it’s easy to feel lost at any step of the process. So we try to surround the process with people who care, and especially with people who care about each other.
Alie and Joel Farren have been constants at Theatre B and in our intentional family for years. It wasn’t easy to tell people of my own impending departure (off to Pennsylvania with my wife for a Great Adventure), so when I heard that two more ensemble members were moving (down to the Twin Cities) for their own Great Adventure, it hit pretty hard. They helped build this theatre, both literally and metaphorically.
They were one of the first of many great B “show-mances.” They met in 2005 during their high school years while working on Summer Shorts, a Theatre B – Trollwood collaboration. Here’s a disgustingly cute photo:
They started dating that summer, and their showmance grew into true romance. They were married by Ensemble Member Matthew Burkholder in 2009, holding their wedding at the place where they first met, Trollwood.
They have been together longer than I’ve known them. We were a part of each other’s wedding. They have been a constant example of how to grow together through love.
They are also extraordinary artists.
Joel is the kind of guy you always want on your team. Dedicated and talented, he creates incredible worlds through sound and music. For Jacob Marley’s Christmas Carol, he took us from the pits of damnation to the top of St. Paul’s Cathedral. He flew helicopters over our heads and shook the seats during Kuwait. He made trains, planes, and automobiles for The 39 Steps. Also a deft hand with lighting, he made the stars come out and UFO’s land in A Tuna Christmas.
Alie is the best stage manager I’ve had the privilege of working with (sorry other SM’s; I hope you understand). Again and again, her steady offstage presence made the work of Theatre B possible. She kept everything together as revisions and new pages came in day after day during the world premiere of Scrooge Macbeth. Every time we came up with another impossible challenge, like, “hey! let’s put together a huge production of Laramie Project: 10 Years Later at The Fargo Theatre with microphones and pipe in a national livecast with one tech rehearsal!” or “hey! let’s do that again for 8 the Play, but with a cast of 17!” or “hey! let’s do this reading of Standing on Ceremony at MSUM!” Alie was there, keeping it all together.
Being behind the scenes people, they never really get the accolades they deserve. It’s impossible to imagine the success of Theatre B without them. Through their passion, their commitment, and their love, they have made many things better. MSP is enriched by their relocation; our community is diminished.
Alie and Joel, from all of us whose lives you have touched, thank you. And have a Great Adventure!