Q&A with Brian Toews, writer of Office Hours

Office Hours Writer Brian Toews
Brian (right) discussing the Office Hours script with actor John Gonzales

How does Office Hours relate to iDiOM’s audience?

Office Hours is a new and contemporary work that examines personalities from a college town reminiscent to (and inspired) by Bellingham. This makes this play unique to not only iDiOM audiences but the collegiate community in Bellingham.

Office Hours, though realistic in its presentation, includes moments of irreverence and absurdity that audiences familiar with iDiOM’s past productions will appreciate and recognize.

Ultimately, Office Hours, unlike my more experimental and subversive previous work, is modeled after traditional movements in theater, namely Greek tragedy and contemporary American theater.

What was your inspiration in writing this piece?

I was interested in examining the relationship between teacher and student in higher education; presenting the tricky balance between professional and personal relationships and how those lines can become blurred.

Around the time I was writing this play I was reading a lot of Salinger and Annie Baker and binge-watching Mad Men… so maybe some of that informs the play too.

At iDiOM Theater, there’s more freedom to take risks and experiment with theatrical forms and storytelling… the results are rewarding, educational and empowering for emerging and established artists.

What were your biggest challenges in writing Office Hours?

In the past, my creative work gravitated toward anger and shock value, and the quality of the storytelling suffered.

The challenge with Office Hours was to write a play that all theater audiences could appreciate and enjoy that also didn’t pander to sentimentality and pathos.

With that in mind, my job was to make sure the story and characters seemed like three-dimensional, living breathing people we all can relate to.

How is putting together a show at the iDiOM different than at other theaters?

iDiOM Theater is very “hands off” and do not micro-manage artists. This is excellent because there’s more of an emphasis on the creative process, and dare I say it, the “art.”

At iDiOM Theater, there’s more freedom to take risks and experiment with theatrical forms and storytelling. iDiOM Theater trusts its artists and because of that the results are rewarding, educational and empowering for emerging and established artists.

Anyone who has the opportunity to work at this theater is blessed.


Office Hours posterBrian Toews’ Office Hours, a new full-length drama.

The show opens Thursday, July 30th, and plays Thu/Fri/Sat for two weekends.

Tickets are $10 advance and $12 at door.

Learn more about the show.