Batavia's Brisbane family focus of one-act play featuring feuding brothers
Albert and George Brisbane are not history's first feuding brothers, of course, but their divergent ways are a part of Batavia's history, as is the role their father played -- James Brisbane -- in the settlement and development of the little village by the bend in the Tonawanda.
James Brisbane became a very wealthy man in Batavia and Albert and George were his heirs, with George and his wife Sarah settling into the mansion that James Brisbane finished building in 1855. The family sold the mansion and property that is now Austin Park to the City of Batavia in 1917, and until 2004, the building was City Hall. Since 2004, it's been the city's police headquarters. Since that is to change within a few years, the city has acquired a $20,000 grant to study what might be best for the historic building.
To help educate the public about the importance of the building, the Landmark Society of Genesee County, with a grant acquired through GO ART!, produced a play written by local historian Derek Maxfield about the Brisbanes, or more specifically, the feuding brothers, Albert and George.
The play is set in 1878 and centers on George's resentment of Albert. George, the younger brother, stayed home and tended to the family's financial affairs while Albert traveled the world, married multiple women, sired several children, and extolled the virtues of a socialist utopia.
The play was set, in part, in 1878 because in that year native son Gen. Emory Upton paid a visit to his hometown; so for Maxfield it was a chance to bring this important historical figure into the drama.
Brothers at Odds: The Brisbane Story debuts tonight at the First Presbyterian Church, 300 East Main St., Batavia. There are additional performances on June 11 and June 15. All performances begin at 7 p.m. and are free.
- Daniel Snyder as Albert Brisbane
- Derek Maxfield as George Brisbane
- Quincy Maxfield as Sarah Brisbane
- Jessica Maxfield as Anna the Servant
- Michael Gosselin as Gen. Emory Upton
- Wesley and Wyatt Fisher as the children