Photographing the artists of ACT – A Contemporary Theatre


WARNING: This post contains cute kittens. Continue at your own risk!


When I contacted actor K. Brian Neel to schedule his shoot, he emailed back saying he had kittens at his house.  Uh, yes please!  So forgive me while I mean to highlight Mr. Neel and his completely amazing talent and performance in “99 Layoffs“, it’s just not my fault for getting distracted by his adorable pets, Feriday and Charleston!

In all seriousness though, Brian is fantastic and photographing at his home (that he built himself) was a complete treat.   Thank you Brian, for your time, and inviting me into your home and allowing me to feature your kittens you for your work in “99 Layoffs” playing at ACT Theatre!


Q&A with actor K. Brian Neel

PhotoSister: When you were young, did you imagine you would be on this particular journey in life? Why or why not?
K Brian Neel: When I was in middle school, I wanted to be a hermit in the eastern mountains of Australia. In high school I flew airplanes for the Civil Air Patrol and dreamed of becoming a fighter pilot in the air force. After receiving a theater scholarship at university, I dallied with photography, architecture, the Russian language, and finally got a degree in psychology. In the end, theater was the only profession that would take me.

PS: Who or what inspires you the most in your personal life?
KBN: My two beautiful, brilliant, and compassionate daughters.

PS: And in your professional life?
KBN: Seattle theater. I’ve been to a lot of good theater all over the U.S., across Canada, and in a many other countries. The most inspiring and memorable stuff I’ve ever seen was written and developed right here in the Pacific Northwest. If only we could get over our insecurity complex.

PS: What is the one thing you splurge on for yourself?
KBN: Banya 5.

PS: What 3 countries would you like to visit and what would you like to experience while there?
KBN: To swim in the Mediterranean waters off the coast of Turkey… To perform in Prague… To visit the Russian State Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg.

PS: What made you want to do theatre?
KBN: Being on stage for the first time was the first time in my life I felt comfortable.

PS: If you could have anyone in history to be on stage with, who would it be and what scene would you play out?
KBN: I’d want to be on the “radio stage” with Orson Welles and the Mercury Theater on the Air performing their adaptation of Heart of Darkness. It was their first broadcast after the infamous War of the Worlds, so the energy in the room must have been electric.

PS: What is your hidden talent (any party tricks)?
KBN: House building. (Not at parties though.)

PS: The Beatles or Elvis?
KBN: Beatles.

PS: What is your favorite restaurant pick in Seattle and the best dish on the menu?
KBN: There are so many. Right now I’m craving La Isla in Ballard — slow cooked pork, beans and rice, and fried plantains.

PS:  Name one play or musical that you would like to perform in your life? What role would you want to play?
KBN: I’d love to play the male lead in the new musical by Scotto Moore and Rob Witmer. It’s about a lab technician who falls in love with her uber-intelligent mouse creation. Oh, wait, I am in that new musical! It’s called A Mouse Who Knows Me going up at Annex Theatre in October. Dream come true.

PS: What do you fear the most?
KBN: Unconsciously ingesting shellfish. I’m allergic. (I used to fear failure until I failed. Not that I like failure, for goodness sake, I’m just sayin’ there’s a sort of freedom and humor-in-perspective kind of thing when you’ve tanked in front of a bunch of people.) I also fear this crazy long hair growing on my eyebrow! Is it in the pics?

PS: Who is your favorite superhero and/or supervillain?
KBN: Koerl, who is both a superhero and his own supervillain nemesis. He ensues plots to destroy humanity, but is foiled again and again by himself.

PS: What makes you happy?
KBN: Kittens. [“like” from Photo Sister]

PS: What kind of people do you surround yourself with?
KBN: Crazy artists. My blokes. My family. I love meeting new interesting people; those first sparks of conversation — delving into the new perspective.

PS: What personal adventure do you have in store for yourself this summer?
KBN: I’m shooting a short film I wrote called Six Afraid of Seven. Not qualified to do that, by the way.

PS: What’s next on your horizon?
KBN: Figuring out what I’m unqualified to do and doing it.






Go see K Brian Neel in “99 Layoffs” at ACT Theatre

Catch “99 Layoffs” at ACT Theatre in Seattle, August 2 – 25, 2012.


Photography details

Nikon D700

Nikon 18-70mm 3.5-4.5 – Aperture: f/5.0 – Shutter: 1/200- ISO: 200
Nikon 50mm 1.4 – Aperture: f/5.0 – Shutter: 1/200 – ISO: 200
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