Brave Spirits Theatre, founded in 2011, is a professional theatre company dedicated to bringing fresh, energetic productions of the works of William Shakespeare and other early modern playwrights to the Washington, D.C. region. We have a triangular focus: text, actor, and audience.
Text: We are unabashedly obsessed with language. We believe the text itself holds all the clues we need to perform an early modern play with truth and vitality. We examine imagery, verse, rhetorical devices, and embedded stage directions. Shakespeare and his contemporaries wrote beautiful poetry, but they also wrote bawdy, gritty, realistic prose and we embrace both with equal relish. In short, we trust the text and it is the basis of our work.
Actor: We are a company that believes the actor is at the center of the artistic process. We seek out artists who are willing to take creative risks, who are bold and courageous, who are ensemble-driven, and who are professionally-minded in their commitment to the art. The actor is the vessel through which the text comes to life, and as such the actor must be willing to bare his or her soul onstage, and must be intellectually, emotionally, physically, and spiritually adept.
Audience: We feel that the audience is the final ingredient needed to bring the play to life. In keeping with the early modern aesthetic, there is no fourth wall, and we engage the audience as a fellow actor, an active participant in the world of the play. Actors may turn the audience into a raucous mob, their confidants, or the butt of a joke. By playing with the audience rather than to them, we make these plays exciting, accessible, and relevant.
Victoria Reinsel is a classically-trained actor, teaching artist, and director, and a proud Equity Membership Candidate. Acting credits include: Hero in Much Ado About Nothing, Lavinia in Titus Andronicus, Anne Page/William Page/Rugby in The Merry Wives of Windsor, Lady Mortimer/Peto in Henry IV, Part 1, Cloris/Pallas/Luna in The Rehearsal, First Fairy/Moth in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Sordido in The Revenger’s Tragedy at American Shakespeare Center (ASC); Soothsayer in Julius Caesar and Maria (u/s)/Ensemble in Twelfth Night at Orlando Shakespeare Theater (OST); Woman 2 in the D.C. premiere of My First Time at Rasa Arts Collective; Arviragus/Helen/1st Citizen in Cymbeline at Chesapeake Shakespeare Company (CSC); Henry VI’s Consciousness in Hal Harry Henry at Shakespeare East; Caliban/Ferdinand/Antonio in The Tempest and Norfolk in Henry VIII with The University Wits; and Marina in Pericles at Mary Baldwin College (MBC; MFA production directed by Tina Packer). Other credits include Much Ado About Nothing (Co-Director) OST’s The Young Company; The Merry Wives of Windsor (Text Coach) at OST (Dir: Jim Helsinger); Cymbeline (Dramaturg) at CSC; The Insatiate Countess (Workshop Director) with MBC’s M.Litt/MFA program; and Much Ado About Nothing (Director) at Marlboro College. Victoria holds a MFA and M.Litt in Shakespeare and Renaissance Literature in Performance with a concentration in acting from MBC in partnership with the ASC, and a BA with High Honors in Theatre/Literature from Marlboro College. She has trained at Shakespeare & Company, OST, the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, and the British-American Drama Academy in London. Visit her website at www.victoriareinsel.com.
Charlene V. Smith is an actor, director, and scholar, living in the DC metropolitan area for the past six years. Her acting credits include Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing, Isabella in Measure for Measure, Rosaline/Costard in Love's Labour's Lost, Portia in Julius Caesar, Millie in Picnic, and Helen in The Cripple of Inishmaan. She played Witch 1 in Push/Pull Theater Company's critically acclaimed production of Macbeth at the 2010 Capital Fringe Festival. She has also performed in the premiere of two works by John Moriogello, Jack the Ticket Ripper and A Thing For Redheads. Her directing credits include Thomas Kyd's The Spanish Tragedy and Richard III and she has worked as an assistant director for The Comedy of Errors and A Long Days Journey into Night. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the College of William and Mary with a BA in Theatre and English and studied at the London Dramatic Academy. She is a licensed DC tour guide, a freelance web designer, and a member of the Shakespeare Association of America. She is currently a student in Mary Baldwin College's MLitt/MFA program in Shakespeare and Performance. Visit her website at www.charlenevsmith.com.