When he’s in a play, Ryan Ross barely sleeps.
His marketing and social media job at Karl Strauss Brewing Co. starts at 8 a.m. and usually ends at 5 p.m., unless he’s representing the brewery at a community event or evening function after that. Then he heads to rehearsal or performance, getting home close to midnight.
Ross is one of a handful of college friends who started Triad Productions, a fledgling theater company that has been performing around town since 2006. Their audience comprises “more young people than blue-hairs,” he boasts.
Perfect example of when that 8-to-5 structure falls apart: This weekend was the brewery’s biggest annual event, the Beach to Brewery Beer and Music Fest.
Meanwhile, Ross is acting in Triad’s current show, “Curse of the Starving Class,” running at the 10th Avenue Theatre through May 28. (In a review for SanDiego.com, Bill Eadie said Ross “was appropriately oily as the con man.”)
I chatted with Ross this morning. His schedule these last few days sounds brutal.
He acted in the show Friday night, then woke up Saturday morning at 7 a.m. to get to the brewery for the big beer and music festival. He and a handful of events and marketing people at the brewery set up the tents, tables and signs.
“And then 2,500 of our closest friends showed up to drink beer all day,” he said.
Ross gave tours of the brewery all day, and left early at 6 p.m. to get home in time for a quick shower before getting to the theater for the Saturday night show. Sunday, Triad put on a matinee show; Monday, Ross was at work all day and then did another show for theater industry people. And this morning at 7:15 a.m. was the brewery’s all-staff meeting.
He’s in a bit of a daze, he said.
Ross isn’t the only member of Triad’s board with a crammed schedule. The others have day jobs, too: Brendan Cavalier is an electrical engineer at General Atomics. Scott Amiotte is a fulltime actor, playing a historical character on the Star of India. Adam Parker works for a beer and wine shop, and interacts with Ross in their day job worlds. Eve Parker is a community organizer. And Rich Soublet is a photographer.
In October, Ross said he, Parker and Amiotte will reprise their roles in “Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me,” the show that the trio acted in together at SDSU eight years ago, and afterward launched Triad. They’ll use the three-night run to try to raise money for a spring production of “Othello.”
And Ross keeps going. When he’s not writing beer-themed Twitter or Facebook messages for work, he’s writing a play about “how social networking impacts the way we communicate in person,” he said.
Meanwhile, there’s still a handful of more shows this weekend and next before “Curse of the Starved Class” closes. It’s proven really hard to get people out to see the play, Ross said.
The friends behind Triad aim to extract themselves from the mindset of the avid theatergoers when choosing what works to perform. It’s an uphill battle to break even, even if the theater sold out every night. No theater in San Diego can survive on ticket sales alone. But Ross said he thinks the troupe is close to being able to secure corporate sponsorships and grants to offset the costs of putting on plays.
“We made it through the recession without folding because of our willingness to contribute our own personal money,” Ross said. “We’ve gotten to a point where the fatigue is starting to set in. But we’re almost there.”
A lot of people in the theater scene in town are watching what happens next for Triad. We’ll keep you posted.
Want to go to “Curse of the Starving Class”? Tickets for performances Thursday to Saturday at 8 p.m., or Sunday at 5 p.m., are $25 or $13 for students.