It was sometime within the first 10 minutes of callbacks for BrickaBrack that I knew: this group is something special. I have never had so much fun in an audition environment before. We stretched, we played, we moved, we improvised, we wrote, we CREATED - all within an extremely supportive group environment. I didn't know any of these people. But I felt that they were kindred spirits. Members of the creative community. Fellow artists at heart. We all marveled at this together when the 3 hours of callbacks were over. If nothing else came of this, we were at least grateful to have had this experience, and to know that such a supportive ensemble existed.
But that was just the beginning. To my great joy, I was asked to be a part of BrickaBrack as an Ensemble Member by its director, Gabriel Grilli (or GG, as we affectionately call him). Once the ensemble was established, we were all invited to meet up at a bar in midtown, and get to know each other a little better. The air that night was electric. Everyone had huge grins on their faces, we were so happy to be there. It was the feeling that we all had our hands on something fresh, smart, vibrant, and alive. And now, every Monday night, I look forward to stepping into a studio that is full of collaborators, ready to play. We share ideas, methodologies, and exercises from each of our walks of life, and see what emerges. It is an evening full of creation. I have come to look forward to these nights, where I know that I can contribute my unique assets as a performer, and that I will simultaneously be inspired by those who are creating with me.
Being a part of BrickaBrack is also an opportunity for me to develop ALL of my creative outlets as an artist, not just acting. As someone who considers myself a mover, but who does not fit into the box of most classically trained dancers, BrickaBrack has been an invaluable playground for me to express myself physically, without the bothersome pressure of trying to “look good.” The same goes for the opportunity to write poetry, which I rarely share with others. But I know that whatever outpouring of my brain I am putting into the room is going to be supported by those whom I trust and respect. It’s amazing how comfortable we have become with each other in such a short period of time. We have said this before to each other, that it feels like we’ve all been working together for much longer than a few months. And that says so much about who is in this creative community of people.
One of my favorite Monday “Jams” (as we’ve begun to call these meetings) was just a few weeks ago, when GG asked us each to create a tableau based on a few words that he gave us, as a springboard. For example, we were to create an image with our bodies inspired by the phrases, “Russian Revolution,” “In the drawing room, waiting for my lover,” and “At the theatre.” After we created these frozen images with our bodies, we were then asked to speak from the point-of-view of the people we were depicting. One at a time - while frozen in tableau - we asked each other questions about each character’s life story, which the actor had to invent on-the-spot. Every story was so full of imagination and detail - some humorous, some sad, some full of intrigue. We knew the stories weren’t true, but we became invested in them anyway. And that is so much of what BrickaBrack is doing; we are focusing on how we can tell compelling stories. This means that we are constantly questioning what use of images, sounds, movements, and words can come together to create a story that is not only engaging, but also full of humor, compassion, and truth. A story that is told from an angle that maybe you would not normally expect, but that tugs at your heartstrings and inspires you to look at the world from a new perspective.
Please continue to keep your ears peeled for our upcoming projects - we’re going to make some great art together, and can’t wait to share it with you.
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Musings by the BrickaBrack Ensemble