Tadd Morgan has been a part of BRASS since its very beginning, playing a wide variety of roles in all of its incarnations–Vincent Law and the Graveyard King on the podcast, Oscar Wilde and the Phantom both in audio and onstage, and as unfortunate hireling Theo in Red Widow and the inventor Donisthorpe in The Kinesigraph. He’s featured not only as an actor in The Devil in Whitechapel but as co-writer, and we talked with him about the whys and hows of his new role.
Why did you want to move from being our resident MVP actor to co-writer on a BRASS Show?
I love writing, and it was a thrill to work as both an actor and a writer for The Devil in Whitechapel! I remember being intrigued by the invitation to explore darker, heavier themes in a Halloween miniseries. I was eager to stretch myself artistically, and I especially enjoyed the opportunity to write in tandem with the creator of the Brass world, Mr. Longenbaugh.
You seem like such a nice young man. What drew you into writing about cultists, the occult, and all the other creepy aspects of this story?
I have long been fascinated by the shadows which lurk in between the familiar foundations of consensual reality. I am a fan of the works of H. P. Lovecraft, Robert Anton Wilson, Matt Ruff, H. R. Giger, and others who delve into the unknown. Our heroes must shine all the brighter when matched against such impenetrable darkness.
After acting alongside all of the Brass family, what was it like writing for them?
It was a delight to write for such well established, sophisticated personages! Instead of building from the ground up, I had the opportunity to experiment with characters whom I already somewhat understood. It felt like a headstart in the writing process. I remember that our cast also offered some insight when we got into the studio: as an actor and a writer myself, I think it is always wise to trust the instincts of the actors portraying your characters!
What were the challenges, if any, that you found in writing audio drama?
Writing for audio is a curious process because of the way one must handle action. Especially in a series like Brass, where our characters are adventurous heroes in extraordinary circumstances, the audio writer’s approach to combat or other threats is different than almost any other medium. I feel like we must come at these elements almost tangentially, considering the sounds these events create and what characters would say, what sounds they might make in response, before ultimately deciding: will this work?
Why does the criminal genius Peck in the Crown sound a little like Dean Martin?
We needed an American, but there was very little else about Peck that had been established. We knew he was a con man with a supernatural theme. I liked the thought of subverting the expectation that he would have a snarling or raspy voice, and instead made him sound like a mellifluous crooner. I had been listening to a lot of Dino and his contemporaries at the time. Once those elements were set, writing for him became quite droll, especially with Lord Brass’ appreciation of his designs. It was great fun to explore their admiration for each other while Lady Brass remained so determined and professional.
You’ve played, in no particular order, a gurkha, a criminal henchman, a Theater Phantom, an inventor, Oscar Wilde, a aeronaut and at least a couple different master criminals in BRASS shows, including podcasts, films and stage. What are the roles you enjoy playing the most in BRASS, and why?
I will always come back to dear Vincent Law: the gregarious boss of the infamous Blackfire gambling club. His was one of the earliest voices I did for Brass, I believe. Just reading his name gave me the sound of his voice, and later the idea that he could barely hold himself up. Although I have never had the opportunity to portray him live, if I do I will find every possible opportunity to lean on people or furniture. Vincent never stands on his own if he can help it.
Who are you hoping returns for Season Three of the podcast?
My Irish dialect is a bit rubbish, but I did like Danny’s sneaky coup in season two. I would be excited to see if he’s progressed in the underworld hierarchy. Perhaps he’s been promoted, and is experimenting with villain names.
Aside from your stage acting, which seems to take up a tremendous amount of your time, what do you like to do?
My other main passion at present is for Dungeons & Dragons. I run a game for a group of actors and friends, and we’ve been playing in the same campaign for over three years. Writing plays feels very much like Dungeon Mastering, to me: it calls on a lot of the same skills and delights me in similar ways.
What can we see you in next?
I’ve just opened a production of A Christmas Carol at SecondStory Repertory in Redmond, WA, playing Bob Cratchitt. After that, I hope you’ll hear me in Season 3 of Brass!