The Brass Tacks Ensemble Theater is proud to announce the 2017 Acting and Directing Troupe:

Brittany Batell
Amy Bogetto-Weinraub
Mary Conley
Isaac Ellis
Craig Ester
Ethan Gibney
Sara Long
Veronica Long
Kathleen E. Marinan
Maegan Murphy
Amanda Photenhauer
Anne S. Rhoades
Russ Schwartz
Kate Topham
Aaron C. Wade
Elizabeth Wagner

The Brass Tacks Ensemble is excited to announce its brand-new Season Ensemble.

Three shows.  One ensemble of actors and directors.  One year of learning and fun.


What is the Brass Tacks Ensemble?

IMG_4761Since 1999, with their inaugural production of King Lear, The Brass Tacks Ensemble has been dedicated to producing shows that strip away the excess and focus on the essentials of theater: Actor. Text. Audience. The Brass Tacks Ensemble is devoted to connecting to the audience through the essential  elements of theater to spark the imagination; presenting established and original works with a focus on clarity, universality, and entertainment; and providing actors, directors, designers, and writers the opportunity to develop as artists.

What is the Season Ensemble?

Miss Prism and The Handbag

Miss Prism and The Handbag

It’s a group of dedicated actors and assistant directors who have committed to creating a truly unique theater experience.  Starting in January 2017, the actors and assistant directors will meet once a week to participate in workshops on basic acting techniques, voice and movement exercises, status exercises, Shakespearean language, and the BTE philosophy.  The ensemble’s work will culminate in three productions over the course of the year–Spring, Summer, and Fall.  All three productions will be works by William Shakespeare.

Part of the BTE’s mission is to help artists grow and to allow them to practice their crafts.  As part of that mission, we have made a commitment to educate by developing workshops, by teaching classes, and by using the rehearsal process to further artists’ understanding of theatrical presentation (generally) and how the BTE might approach it (specifically).  We hope this makes for stronger, bolder actors and directors–people who would be perfect candidates to graduate from members of the Season Ensemble to Members of The Brass Tacks Ensemble proper (with all the benefits that that entails).  Actor Applications and Assistant Director applications are available now.

Why would anyone want to do this?

090805_0082For starters, it’s free.  The main commitments are your time, your energy, and your willingness to be a part of something special.  

You’ll have an opportunity–many opportunities, actually–not only to hone your craft but also to look at all of the elements of theater in a different way:  What is an effective warm-up and what is its purpose?  How does Shakespeare’s language actually help me as an actor?  What are the pitfalls of directing and how can I overcome them?

For actors, it’s a chance to be in multiple shows, to stretch yourself, and to develop a rapport with others that will give more time (in the long run) to explore and experiment.  For directors, it will be a chance to connect with other directors, to practice some techniques without stress, and to hit the ground running with a fully formed ensemble.  Not to mention that it is excellent (and required) prep for helming your own production with the BTE the following year.  For both actors and directors, it’s an opportunity to be a part of something unique in the area AND to get the ball rolling on a path to membership in the BTE–where you will have an artistic voice.

What would the Season look like?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA♦ The shows will be decided upon and cast in November 2016.  

♦ We will also select two or three candidates to participate as Assistant Directors for the productions.  (All three shows will be directed by the Artistic Director, James Ingagiola.)  

♦ Kicking off in January 2017, the Season Ensemble will meet about once a week–days and times determined by applicants’ availabilities–for three hours to work on techniques and exercises that will serve the actors and the assistant directors once they get into rehearsals (and beyond).  

♦ Actors and assistant directors will commit to attending at least 28 of their 35 workshops (80%) over the course of the year.  

♦ Actors will be cast in–and must commit to–at least two of the three shows.  Availability of roles and actors’ schedules will help determine which shows the actors are cast in.  Assistant Directors will be employed on–and must commit to–at least one of the three shows.  Again, schedules will help determine which shows.  

♦ We will try to achieve a balance of size of roles throughout the season–in other words, everyone should have a fairly equal amount of stage time when all is said and done.  We will also be looking to stretch each actor’s range in our casting.

♦ There will be 35 scheduled workshops for actors and 30-35 scheduled workshops for assistant directors.  Some of the workshops will overlap so that actors and assistant directors have an opportunity to work with each other.

♦ In late February, we will begin rehearsals for our Spring show, while still meeting once a week outside of rehearsals to continue the growth of the entire ensemble.

♦ We will continue the same setup of workshops and rehearsals for the remaining two shows (Summer and Fall).

♦ We will attempt to have short recap sessions outside of workshops, rehearsals, and performances to assess how each performance went and what we can learn from it.

What are the shows?

498The shows will be decided on based on who is cast in the Season Ensemble and when those people are available.  The plays produced will all be works by William Shakespeare.   Why Shakespeare, you may ask?

1. It would allow for a unifying theme for the season as a whole

2. It would give focus to our classes for the year–different plays & playwrights would require much more class time that would dilute the portions of classes devoted to basic acting techniques

3. It would allow us to connect to our roots (three of our first four productions were Shakespeare plays)

4. The plot-subplot structure of Shakespeare’s plays would allow opportunities for assistant directors to take charge of portions of the script (which the director would then integrate)

The focus will be on ensemble pieces, level of difficulty (“easier” Shakespeare will be done early in the year), and a mixture of better-known pieces with lesser-known (but still great) plays.

Here is the short list:

The Comedy of Errors

Romeo and Juliet

The Merchant of Venice

Much Ado About Nothing

As You Like It

Twelfth Night

Henry IV, Part One (and Two)

All’s Well That Ends Well

Measure for Measure

Troilus and Cressida

Macbeth

Coriolanus

Cymbeline

How do people get involved?

_dsc0203Actors and Directors interested in being a part of the Season Ensemble can fill out an application available at our website.  People interested in being involved in both an acting and a directing capacity should fill out both applications. Applications can be found at our website, www.btensemble.org, or by contacting us at thebrasstacksensemble@gmail.com.   Applications are due via email by October 30, 2016.

Once all applications are reviewed, we will contact people for an audition session.  The acting session will comprise a cold reading of a Shakespeare text, one or two acting exercises, and a brief interview of the applicant.  The assistant directing session will comprise an interview and possibly an “audition” (direction of a brief scene with actors).  Audition sessions will be November 7-10, 2016 with a callback session on November 14, 2016.  If you are interested in auditioning but have conflicts with the audition dates, please contact us, and we will try to work out an alternate time.  (We may record auditions for reference purposes only.)

We will choose the plays and cast the Season Ensemble by November 21, 2016.

An informational open house will be held on Sunday, October 16.  Details are forthcoming.

Applications are available here:

♦ Actor Application

♦ Assistant Director Application

Any questions?  Please contact us at thebrasstacksensemble@gmail.com