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Theatrefolk’s Top 10: Ensemble Pieces

Time for a Tfolk Top Ten Plays For…

Ensembles! It’s not about the leads and the chorus, it’s about the ensemble. The definition of the word ensemble is to have parts that come together as a whole and are only considered in relation to the whole. It’s all about working together to make a great production. Here are 10 plays that explore the concept of the ensemble.

Click the link and you’ll be taken to the webpage for each play. There you’ll get the details and read sample pages.

All the best with your search!

The Blue and the Grey
This play starts with the sound of drumming and the words of Walt Whitman. This sets the tone of the play and lets us know what to expect. This is the work of the ensemble. In this play of ghosts, the past, and those left behind – The ensemble creates the aural world in The Blue and the Grey – haunting, necessary.

Finishing Sentences
Sometimes an ensemble is needed to populate the world of the play. In Finishing Sentences Kendra finds herself surrounded by camp life – that’s what the ensemble provides. And besides, you can’t have a colour war without them! (even if the blue team can’t get their chant together)

Quite often, the world of the play is, well, out of this world. It’s built in the imagination of the playwright, and in order for the audience to buy in, they need to see characters who also buy into the world. Storied takes place in a magical dimension inhabited by characters from fiction. Everyone from Javert to Santa Claus to Elizabeth Bennett lives there. The ensemble is crucial to the audience leaving the real world behind as they watch the play.

The Happiness Shop
In this play an ensemble of “Roppets” – robot puppets litter the stage. They are on stage for the entire play. They visual demonstrate “happiness.” They smile, they laugh, they hi-five all the time. It isn’t creepy at all. Aren’t middle schoolers happy all the time? They’re too young to have problems….

The Scarlet Heart
The Scarlet Heart is a commedia dell’arte piece which can be played as scripted or off of scenarios. To play off a scenario means a group really has to know each other, listen to each other, improv often together. They’ll have to become a true ensemble.

Being Bianca: The Semi Complete Guide
Being Bianca has a huge cast – it can include up to 50 actors. And that means everyone has to be on the same page and working toward the same goal. Bianca has to do some community service. She decides the best service is to teach the world what it’s like to be her. Who wouldn’t want to be Bianca?

Ariadne’s Thread: The Adventures of Theseus and the Minotaur
Ariadne’s Thread has an ensemble in the classical sense of the word – a greek chorus. Again it’s all about creating the world of the play and in this tale of Minotaur’s and mazes the greek chorus observes and comments. They are the voice of the audience and they share that voice in perfect unison.

Stupid is Just 4 2day
We can’t avoid stupidity. It happens. To everyone! But it’s just temporary. The characters in this vignette play are all named after orchestra instruments. And that’s because all the transition pieces are performed like music rather than theatre. Everyone speaks, and gestures in unison. Win the Best Ensemble award!

Chemo Girl
Camille is given a video game system from her mom as a form of recovery therapy for cancer. The ensemble creates the video game for Camille as she is drawn into the world and takes on the name “Chemo Girl.” Think video games can’t be done in the theatre? The ensemble makes it happen.

In Anonymous everyone is just trying to get along, get by, make themselves heard. It’s hard when you don’t have a face or a voice. The teens in this play have no names because they’re everyone. The ensemble brings this theme to life.

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