Last night was a momentous one for us, and for me personally - our first BrickaBrack NY Ensemble rehearsal. It was so wonderful to be in the room with this group of artists. We did a lot of "get to know each other exercises," warmed up with the ceremonial BrickaBrack "Zoom-Bang-Pow" energy game, and talked about the artists and productions that have inspired us / blown us away.
Here are a few things that stood out to me: the intelligence, sensitivity, good nature, and articulateness of these people. The fact that many found theatre as a place where they could fit in and express themselves when the rest of the world didn't make sense or seem to have a place for them. Although we're from all over the U.S. with a few foreign-born members, most of us are from small families and our parents are still married. I'm the only one who grew up in a house where we didn't lock the front door. Almost everyone has a plant and uses a mac. We have wine and cocktail drinkers, but very few who prefer beer. We have a few lefties and a few ambis. No one identifies as a conservative. We're a group of travelers rather than homebodies. We have a lot of directing/choreographing/writing skills. We teach. There are zombie people and vampire people, but no werewolf people. We prefer Gene Kelly to Fred Astaire, and Scorsese to Spielberg... Interesting!
Puppetry has been a big inspiration to the group, including Manual Cinema's recent piece Ada/Ava and Shockheaded Peter. Artists like Kneehigh, Complicite, Robert Lepage, and immersive performances like Sleep No More and Ivo Van Hove's Scenes from a Marriage were also cited as brilliant inspirations where the audience is very involved in deciding how they experience a stage piece.
I can't wait to see what we make together!
BrickaBrack is thrilled to announce the appointment of sixteen new Ensemble Members to the company. These new Ensemble Members will form the core of the company's artistic machine for the next year, developing new rehearsal methods, projects, and growing the company through long-term collaborative practices. This diverse group of artists hails from all over the U.S., Canada, South America, and South Africa. The sixteen new Ensemble Members are:
Alanna Blair, Amy Nielson, Angela Nahigian, Anika Solveig, Annie-Sage Whitehurst, Brian Knoebel, DeLance Minefee, Esther van Zyl, Garrett Gray, Jillian Jetton, Matt Renskers, Natalia Mendes, Nicole Cardoni, Rachel Aylward, Rachel Ritacco, and Rita McCann.
Read about these artists at www.brickabrack.org/about.
Artistic Director Gabriel Grilli says, "The talent, intelligence, diversity, range of training disciplines, and vibrant spirit of this group is just phenomenal. Bringing these artists on board as Ensemble Members is an amazing step in the development of BrickaBrack, and represents a major shift in the structuring of the company. It's also an experiment - We're three years old, and have never had a core group of this size! Personally, it's the fulfillment of a dream I've had to be part of a consistent collaborative like this. Where we work together in the studio every week, dreaming, scheming, experimenting with processes, and generating new projects. I’m so excited to welcome these wonderful people to the BrickaBrack family, and to begin creating with them on an ongoing basis.”
Over the past month, we conducted audition workshops with an amazing group of artists from around the world... Including movement exercises, space explorations, collaborative theatre pieces generated from images, character monologue writing/performance, improvisations, and more! Led by Artistic Director Gabriel Grilli and Ensemble Member Amy Nielson. Photos by Joana Cardozo.
Musings by the BrickaBrack Ensemble