Meet the cast: Molly Brennan

Moly Brennan

Red Queen, Caterpillar, Tweedle Dum, the Dormouse and the Walrus in Lookingglass Alice

Brennan, MollyAt the Theatre Company: Debut. Molly is an AEA actor, singer and clown. Credits include: Second City’s American Mixtape, Madam Barker in Red Tape’s The Life and Death of Madam Barker, Second City’s Guide to the Opera at Lyric, Peter Pan: A Play at Lookingglass, Animal Crackers at The Goodman, Theatrical Essays at Steppenwolf, and 500 Clown Macbeth and 500 Clown Frankenstein in multiple venues in Chicago and the United States. Molly served as Artistic Director of Barrel of Monkeys for three years. In 2016 she looks forward to presenting a new Clown Rock Musical collaboration co-written by Malic White and produced by the Neo- Futurists. Molly was named Chicago’s “Queen of Mischief and Make Believe” by American Theatre magazine, February 2015. She’s also received a couple of Jeff Awards.

  • Hometown: Chicago
  • Training: University of New Hampshire
  • What was the role that changed your life? There have been a lot of great ones. I’ve had a lot of opportunities and worked on all sizes of stages all over the country. For 10 years, I toured with an extraordinary physical theatre company called 500 Clown. I learned so much of my craft doing that work, and for it I am grateful. David BowieSomething more recently happened that also feels that it’s changed my life, but it was so recent I can’t yet tell exactly how. It sits in me like a fire, and it’s waiting for more. I was invited to devise a piece for opening of the David Bowie exhibit at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago. My partner Malic and I performed Heroes, and did all these things on stage that made us feel like heroes. Malic cut themself out of a box, then saved me from the prom dress I was wearing. We gave the audience decorated mirrors that when looked at, gave the user Bowie’s “Aladdin Sane” makeup. So THEY could be heroes. We rode our bikes around on the stage. Being on stage with my love, committing outrageous and generous acts, was such a thrill. We have continued making this variety of work and have a full-length piece being produced in Chicago by the Neofuturists in February.
  • Why are you an actor? My favorite way to be with people is through theatre. Onstage or in the audience. I love to be with people that way, in story, in voice, in action, in reaction.

  • What would you be doing for a career if you weren’t an actor? I would work with animals.  Dogs are my other love. I’d run a sanctuary for senior dogs, or maybe train service animals.

  • Tom WaitsIdeal scene partner: Tom Waits. That guy has everything. His theatricality is delicious in his own work, and when he’s using someone else’s script. I’d love to make and perform a play with that guy.
  • Why does this play matter? Lookingglass Alice matters because we attempt the impossible, as Mr. Carroll suggests. We do these physically challenging feats, then coax the audience back inside their racing hearts. We show that difficulty and challenge can feel like magic, and that becoming “adult” doesn’t have to be joyless or free of whimsy.
  • What do you hope the audience gets out of Lookingglass Alice? A boost of whimsy. A racing heart. Some big laughs. Maybe a tear or two? The want to do six impossible things before breakfast. Maybe want to take a circus class?
  • Finish this sentence: “All I want is … ” 

    To hear what people who are hurting have to say.

    To assume that if someone is saying they are hurt that this is true.

    To address a person’s expression of pain, not the tone or the vernacular.

    To reject notions of a correct and polite way to express hurt.

    To ally with the injured.

    To ask how I can help, then do it to the best of my ability.

    To demand that leaders hold themselves to the same responsibility to our people that I have.

More ‘Meet the Cast’ profiles:
Molly Brennan, Red Queen and others, Lookingglass Alice
Maurice Jones, Orlando in As You Like It

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