Former College of Charleston student Brennen Reeves found his outlet on stage when his lifelong battle with cystic fibrosis made him unable to participate in sports. The Hilton Head native was told that he wouldn’t live past his graduation, and received a double lung transplant at 19. Now, at age 23, he’s chronicled his unusual story in the form of a one-man show entitled Breathe. A True Story, to be performed for one night only at Theatre 99 on Nov. 13 at 8 p.m.
The show will be an honest representation of Reeves’ journey, offering a different perspective of life to people who may have never known this type of struggle. “Although I try and seek out being normal, it’s only a word to me. Normal is so far from what my life is and was and will ever be,” he says. He describes himself as a private individual, saying that before this, he never really sought out the opportunity to publicly discuss his life story.
It was the influence of playwright and CofC professor David Lee Nelson that inspired Reeves to bring his personal struggle into the spotlight. “My last year in school I took a solo performance class [with Nelson] and piece by piece started sharing more of my life story, and that started evolving into us meeting and talking more frequently about the possibility of turning it into a show,” Reeves explains. The opportunity to work with a talented mentor and friend, along with the idea that sharing his story could be beneficial to people he’s never met, helped motivate him to bring Breathe. A True Story into reality.
Reeves says this project doesn’t have any particular agenda; he wishes the audience to do with it what they will, even if that’s nothing. “A lot of people might be able to relate,” he says. “But if I affect one person with my show every time I do it, it’s enough for me.” Tickets are $8 and can be purchased at the door or at theatre99.com.