Thursday, July 28, 2011

Spotlight On...Rachel Buethe

Name: Rachel Buethe

Hometown: Milwaukee, WI

Education: Fordham University – I just graduated in May!

Select Credits: As an actor: Richard 3 (Elizabeth, FringeNYC '10), Schmoozy Togetherness (Ensemble, Williamstown Free Theatre), Laughing Pictures: A Hollywood Odyssey, Tales of the Lost Formicans, Poodle With Guitar and Dark Glasses, The Good Person of Szechwan, Hamlet, The Tempest, Careless Love, Gertrude: The Cry (Fordham University). As a director: Cowboy Mouth (Fordham University).

Why theatre? I think that my favorite thing about theatre (and about working with a company, for that matter) is how team-based it is. You absolutely cannot do it alone. I love working with a lively, opinionated, creative group of artists, and theatre is the perfect medium for just that. It’s an inherently collaborative form; that’s what’s so great about it. I can’t imagine myself doing anything else or being a part of any other community of people.

Tell us about Little Town Blues: Little Town Blues is a new play currently being produced by my company, Less Than Rent Theatre, that runs until August 7 at the Wild Project. It’s a modern adaptation of Chekhov’s Three Sisters that I co-wrote with James Presson, one of the other Co-Artistic directors of Less Than Rent. Set at a boarding school in the middle of Iowa, it follows three high school girls and their friends at a neighboring military school over the course of the 2010-2011 school year. The play is about the simultaneous joy and pain of growing up in a time where anything and everything seems possible. It’s got a kick-ass, fast-talking ensemble of 13 actors, many action packed musical numbers, and lots of heart.

What is it like to write and act in your own piece?:
I feel incredibly lucky because I’m working along side a group of actors who I think are the most talented people in the world. Not only are they fun to share the stage with, but it has been nothing but pure joy for me to get to watch them flesh out the characters that I spent so much time with as I wrote the play with James. There was one thing that was a little tricky about the rehearsal process… I had this idea in my head that because I wrote the play, I’d magically have all my lines memorized! For some reason, it didn’t work that way! In all seriousness though, the rehearsal process was actually incredibly similar to if I was working on a play that wasn’t my own. Now that we’re in production though, it’s a blast to get to live out a play that I wrote each night. It’s the most fun I’ve ever had onstage.

What kind of theatre speaks to you?: When I watch theatre, I’m looking to have a strong gut reaction. I want to go to the theatre and be moved. I love plays that are smart and funny, and I definitely appreciate witty, fast paced dialogue… but at the end of the day, if I don’t feel something, if I’m not viscerally affected by a piece, I feel unsatisfied. My company and I are trying to create theatre that couldn’t be anything but. I’m sick and tired of seeing plays that would make better movies! I love plays that embrace their theatricality and unapologetically use bold, theatrical devices to tell a story.

What’s up next?: Less Than Rent is producing an incredible new play in the New York International Fringe Festival called Cow Play starting August 13th. We had a great time at the Fringe last year, and we’re thrilled to be doing another show there this year. Check out, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter to get all the details!