March 25, 2014
Blinn College alumnus Andrew Roblyer and second-year student Maxwell Duane are revolutionizing the concept of theatre in Bryan-College Station with the community’s first professional ensemble.
Andrew Roblyer, a 25-year-old former Blinn College student and Texas A&M University graduate, founded This is Water Theatre after several failed auditions at professional theatres in Houston.
“I look like a teenager,” Roblyer laughed. “I kept hearing, ‘You’re really good, but you look too young.’
So I decided I would find something to do while I waited for myself to age. I didn’t want to stop doing what I love.”
Last summer, Roblyer formed This is Water Theatre, the Brazos Valley’s first professional theatre.
“I wanted this to be more than just a community theatre,” Roblyer said. “Community theatre is important, but it doesn’t pay the bills. I knew I would have to ask to be paid, even if it wasn’t much. The act of exchanging money for a service raises the expectation for quality in that service.”
At intermission and at the conclusion of each performance, the audience is encouraged to pay what they think the performance is worth. Roblyer said the pay-what-you-can model is about brining theatre to a wide variety of audiences, specifically to college students and young professionals.
“We have a significant amount of education to do,” Roblyer said. “Theatre and ballet and orchestra are seen as antiquated art forms. Who wants to pay to go see people talk in ‘thees’ and ‘thous’ for an hour on a Friday night? Theatre doesn’t have to be boring.”
The company’s first production, “Going Dark,” opened earlier this month and centered on a group of “empathalogists” who can manipulate emotions in others. Duane starred as Kennedy, a fun-loving jokester who misuses his gift.
“I kind of love it,” Duane laughed. “The structure of this group is fantastic—it’s about questioning your choices and finding new ways to act.”
For more information on This is Water Theatre, visit thisiswatertheatre.com.