The Theatre Y Ensemble
Theatre Y's 16 member ensemble has become a unified and sustaining team with the help of Georges Bigot – central to Ariane Mnouchkine's Théâtre du Soleil during the '80s and '90s and one of France's most celebrated actors. Mr. Bigot has formed ensembles in Cambodia, Mali, and France, as well as Tim Robbin's company in LA - The Actor's Gang. He has now also helped us to form and nurture a vibrant, hard working, and multitalented ensemble originally built around Theatre Y's Macbeth at the Chopin Theatre, as part of Chicago’s Shakespeare 400 Festival in 2016.
Theatre Y had long wanted to form an ensemble. In a city that hires mercenary actors or can't afford to pay at all, the hope was all but gone. Then in 2015, Georges Bigot’s lifelong experience with ensemble work and his true faith in all there was to gain provided the event and the form. The 16 ensemble members are rehearsed Macbeth collaboratively for one year, casting three-quarters of the way into rehearsal, relaying roles around and around until the course was clear. This collective labor challenges the ego to long chiefly for awe in front of one another; to receive the flattery of being in each other's company.
According to Bigot “The ensemble makes all the costumes and cleans the toilets.” The Theatre Y Ensemble built an Education Program to offer International Movement Training (Tadashi Suzuki Training - which the Ensemble practices weekly), Story Time for children each month, and Movement Therapy for Trauma Rehabilitation in prisons and children’s hospitals. These individuals are maintaining day jobs and sacrificing an enormous amount of time and talents for token compensation. And all in the wild hope that something truer is available in community.
The final pieces of this new model were ensemble Designers who create as a team in dialogue and the ensemble Stage Manager (who trains and performs alongside the actors).