Hailing from Saskatchewan and now residing in Vancouver by way of the Drama Department of the University of Alberta, Rachel has been seriously busy making inroads into our theatre scene. A director/writer/producer/performer, she has worked with companies all over town, including Bard, the Arts Club, Boca del Lupo, Neworld, The Playhouse, Radix, Yorick…the list just goes on and on. She was recently named Artistic and Administrative Associate of the Solo Collective alongside Aaron Bushkowsky; their new project True Believers launches October 29 at the Waterfront.
1. In one word, describe your present condition.
2. In your own length, describe the present condition of the Vancouver theatre scene.
Vital, broad-spectrum, supportive, strained, exploratory, rags and riches (from financially hobbled to smooth-sailing)
3. Why is theatre necessary?
It’s alive. It’s a shared experience. It’s the only way to witness magic in real life.
4. Does theatre resist the mainstream of the cultural entertainment arena?
It doesn’t actively resist it. If it does resist it is a self-protective response: “if the big kids won’t let me play then I don’t want to play with them anyway”
5. What should we as artists be doing better to develop the next generation of theatre-goers?
Keep making more and more exciting art – keep bringing new ideas and energy forward. Make it affordable.
6. What makes the work of Solo Collective “unique, intimate and completely original”?
Solo Collective has finessed the form of an evening of collective monologues – an exciting way to solo performance in many forms all in one night!
Also, Solo supports new scripts by Western Canadian playwrights (including emerging playwrights) in a climate where collective creation often leads, and provides numerous opportunities for freelance directors, which are often rare.
7. What’s your best advice to new directors learning on the job?
Be an idea fountain – bring a wealth of things to the table, but be willing to let ideas go. Refine your eye but trust your gut. Learn pith – express your ideas as efficiently and directly as possible.
8. Which 3 theatre artists, living or otherwise, would you like to have drinks with and why?
Shakespeare’s the obvious one – just to see if the man is anything like the work, and to clarify a few things…
Julie Taymor – I don’t always love her work, but I’d be fascinated to pick her brain and see how certain things come about. Plus I think she’d make for an interesting evening.
James Fagan Tait – he pushes the envelope of theatre and brings a different perspective to everything: expanding the art form in different directions. Plus he is my mentor and dear friend so we’d have a great time!
9. What is your career highlight to date?
Probably the one-woman show I wrote and performed as my graduation piece for Studio 58 called My Other Mothers. I put a great deal of myself in it, was very proud of it, and only performed it once, in front of a very loving audience. It’s a bit idealized in my memory, so it ill be tough to beat!
10. What are your top 3 theatre reads?
A Director Prepares by Anne Bogart, Angels in America Part One by Tony Kushner, anything written by my friend Darcy Bruce
11. What’s next?
Directing the Staged Reading for Solo Collective in November and then directing Écran de fumée for Théâtre la Seizième in the new year.