By OnMilwaukee Staff Writers   Published Mar 30, 2001 at 12:08 AM

Chris and Jane Flieller are the powers behind In Tandem, one of Milwaukee's newest and brightest new theater companies. Chris does technical work for the Skylight Opera Theatre, as well as acting on the boards all over Milwaukee. Jane is hardly the power behind the throne as she can more than hold her own. She, too, has acted and directed with a real flare. She does the vital book work without which no company can exist.

OMC: Has your marriage enriched your art?

C: Absolutely. If we hadn't met, it's hard to say what direction our artistic lives would have taken. Together, we encourage each other to keep learning and challenging ourselves. We bring out the best in one another and that allows us to experience more and channel that into our work.

OMC: Do you discuss your work with your spouse?

C: By virtue of owning a company together, it would be pretty difficult not to discuss work! What makes it exciting for us is that each project has us wearing different hats. It never gets dull because every day brings its own ups and downs and there's always something to talk about.

OMC: Does your spouse offer you constructive criticism?

C: We have the utmost respect for each other's observations, opinions and talents.

J: I don't see it as "criticism" but rather advice. I know anything Chris tells me is meant to help me and not as a recrimination. Taken in that spirit, "constructive criticism" helps me to be a better person and better at what I do.

C: I need Jane to let me know when my fly is open. Literally and figuratively.

OMC: What qualities do you most admire in your spouse?

J: I'm sorry, but you only gave me a 500-word limit! No really, I most admire Chris' versatility. He excels at so many things, I'm constantly amazed at what he can do. As a business partner, I love that he's resourceful and that he can think outside the box.

C: Aside from being an organizational genius, Jane is perhaps the funniest person I've ever met.

OMC: Given the ephemeral nature of theater, how do you plan to keep your

relationship stable?

C: Art is not ephemeral, it's forever. And so are we.

OMC: Some show business marriages seem to flounder when one spouse's career takes off while the other's languishes. Does this worry you?

C: If Jane becomes famous, I'll have time to search for languishing flounders and stuff them with crab meat.

OMC: What do you do to recharge your collective batteries?

DC: To relax, we enjoy the quiet things: playing with our dog, Pepper, having dinner with friends, playing Scrabble...even doing household chores. Summertime is a good time for us to really recharge. We don't have shows in the summer and we spend time our time resting, working on the house, hiking, camping, catching up with friends over bar-b-cue. Just normal stuff.

OMC: Curtain time is magic but how do you handle the day-to-day grind that wears all of us down?

C: For us the day-to-day "grind" is building our company (In Tandem); (it's) the most exciting adventure of our lives. It doesn't wear us down; it keeps us going.

OMC: What advice do you have for theater artists who want to have a career in show business?

J: Have a lot of interests. Listen. Learn how to type.

C: Learn how to do lots of stuff but never get really good at something you don't want to do.

OMC: What advice do you have for theater artists who want to have careers and a marriage in show business?

J: Respect each other, love the theatre, but above all else, respect and love your marriage.

C: Save the drama for the stage and just take out the trash.