Rapture, Blister, Burn – Get to Know Rachael Rhoades

20% Theatre Company is thrilled to present Rapture, Blister, Burn by Gina Gionfriddo at the Minneapolis Theatre Garage April 26 – May 10, 2014. In the weeks leading up to the show, we are giving you the chance to learn a little bit about the artists involved in this production. This week, meet Rachael Rhoades, our fabulous stage manager!

Stage Manager
Stage Manager

Can you tell us a little but about yourself and your background? How/when/why did you get into theatre? 

I started as a performer when I was really young. I have a really strong background in dance and vocal music. I actually wanted to be an opera singer for most of my life, and was advised to take some acting classes to help improve my stage performance – and I just found that theatre was a better home for me. It’s been a torrid love affair ever since. Theatre and I have been together for over a decade now. I think it’s getting serious.

Tell us how you originally got involved with 20% Theatre Company?

I started with 20% Theatre Company last May, with “Changes in Time”. I got an email from Claire Avitabile, as they were starting rehearsals, after she came to see a different show I was working on, and the rest is history!

What is your favorite part of the rehearsal/production process? What are some of the challenges?

Does it make me sound like a big nerd when I say everything? My favorite part of the rehearsal process is all of it. I’m sure it does. I don’t care. I particularly enjoy the first day of technical rehearsals – it’s like navigating a boat through a hurricane, and I am an adrenaline junkie.

What types of plays/shows do you enjoy stage managing the most, and why? What are some “dream shows” you’d love to stage manage? 

I love working on new works – there’s something really exciting about being the first people to put something onstage. Theatre is really the only truly collaborative art form, but there’s something really magical about watching.

Rapture, Blister, Burn is often called “a feminist play”. How would you describe the play? How do you feel about feminism and what it signifies today?

Do I think this is a feminist play? Yeah, I do. It’s a snapshot of age-old dilemmas about a woman’s role in the home, in relationships, and in our careers.   This show has some real zingers, and what I love is that it fearlessly forges ahead with important material, but there’s definitely a sense of humor about it. I feel it makes it feel less like a lecture, and more accessible to both the creative team and the audience.

How do you personally balance the expectations of being female in our society with the concepts of feminism in your daily life?

My parents raised me to be a very independent woman; someone who could stand on her own. It was incredibly important to them that I take pride in my work, and what I’m able to contribute, versus how I look, or how I fulfill a typical gender role.   I wasn’t particularly raised feminist, but from the time I was very young I was told that everyone is beautiful, valued, and created equal, and you should always treat everyone with respect. I certainly try to keep that with me every single day. As far as expectations of being female, well…I’m not sure how to answer that. I guess I’d have to hear what you think I SHOULD be doing/feeling as a woman in 2014. And even then, I’d probably just laugh and keep on rockin’ in the free world. Ya know? I’ve never been one to read too deep into what people think of me. I’ve got better things to do.

What else do you do in the world, outside of theatre and/or working on this production?People do stuff outside of theatre?

Huh… I recently got into cooking – which to anyone who knows me is HILARIOUS. The only thing I successfully created in the kitchen was a mess…and maybe a few small fires. My brother is a trained chef and he has been helping me figure out how to make the culinary arts more accessible. He’s pretty much awesome. I can make edible things now. And they taste GOOD!

Favorite place to eat out in the Twin Cities?

Some friends and I really love wings from Tracy’s Saloon. It’s just great comfort food. We make it a weekly thing.

How did you get to Minneapolis? (Where did you grow up? Where are you from?)

I grew up in the South, but I’ve been a Midwesterner for a long time. January marked one year living in Minnesota. Before I coming here, I was in Des Moines, IA, as the Production Manager and Technical Director for StageWest Theatre Company and a Musical Theatre instructor for Brekke Dance Center. I certainly miss my family and friends in Iowa, but I’m so happy I decided to move here. Minneapolis is wonderful!

Do you have any pets?

Sadly, no. Before I moved, I had two kitties, but I couldn’t bring them with me. My roommate has a three year old miniature Schnauzer, though. I find great joy in tracking down tiny costumes and crazy haircuts for the dog. I think my roommate is less than thrilled.