Driven to Perform, Trinity Teacher Stars in Musical

Matthew Craven and Liam McGaha, Staff Reporters

Beneath his mathematics exterior beats the heart of a true thespian. Trinity math teacher Mr. Brian Bowles knows what it takes to have a lead role in a demanding musical. Bowles starred in the Time Slip Theater production of Jonathan Larson’s “tick, tick…Boom!” last fall. The musical is a semi-autobiographical look at Larson’s move toward success and his writing of the acclaimed musical “Rent.”

Trinity Campus Minister Mrs. Mary Emrich and Trinity teacher Mr. Chad Waggoner were two of many who attended the production.

Trinity teacher Mr. Brian Bowles

As a kid, Bowles attended his older sister’s shows near the University of Louisville and thought to himself how impressive it was. During the summers, his parents took them both to see plays at Iroquois Amphitheater, and he knew he wanted to pursue acting. Bowles always saw acting as an opportunity to express himself in his own way. He said, “This is my art; this is my version of artistic expression.”

As for why he chose “tick, tick…Boom,” Bowles said he has been a major fan since high school. His sister burned a CD of the soundtrack for him, and he played it repeatedly until he was eventually able to recite the entire soundtrack from memory. When Bowles heard that Time Slip Theatre was selecting actors for that musical, he grabbed the opportunity.

Bowles’ acting career is not the only thing he has to manage. Being a teacher, volleyball coach, and actor all at once is not easy. 

Do it for the right reasons and work hard.

— Trinity teacher and actor Mr. Brian Bowles

Of Bowles’ ability to juggle so many tasks, Waggoner said, “He has great time management and knows he has some amazing resources here at Trinity.”

To say Bowles is good at time management is a huge understatement, as he was given only eight weeks to prepare for his role. In those two months, he had to play the piano, sing, and memorize 60 pages of script. The last time he had touched a piano was as a child. In “tick, tick…Boom,”  he had to play four songs while turned so that the audience could see him.

As a group, the performers rehearsed for more than three hours three or four days a week. On his own time, Bowles studied the piano and his script for more than an hour a day six days a week.

Bowles said one doesn’t have to be on the big stage to be considered a valid actor. He said, “You can do it on a community level, and you can do it well on a community level.”

Bowels enjoys working with local theatres but is not afraid to step up for a bigger role in front of a larger crowd.

Emrich commented on what made Bowles stand out. She saw well he worked with other performers on stage.

“It’s not just his presence on stage,” she said. “He has great chemistry.”

Bowles said to succeed as an actor, you need to be kind and a team player. Even when days are hard and actors are exhausted, they must keep a positive mindset.

He said it’s important to be “someone who, when it’s really tough and exhausting, can still stay positive, can still work together, and can still exist in the community. My show is only as good as your show, so I need to build you up, and you need to build me up. We need to work together.”

A common reason people don’t pursue acting is a fear of performing in front of people. Bowles has always thrived in front of audiences, but that doesn’t mean he’s free of mistakes. He said he “understands that the show is going to be what the show is going to be; relax and have fun.”

Bowles knows that some people chase fame or money, and he knows that without putting the work in, they’ll get nowhere.

When asked what advice he would give to young performers, he said: “Do it for the right reasons and work hard.”