Interview Column: Rachel Josselsohn '17
This week, justArts spoke with Rachel Josselsohn ’17, who is directing Brandeis Ensemble Theater’s “She Kills Monsters,” to be performed at Brandeis this weekend.
justArts: Without giving away any spoilers, can you tell me a little bit about the plot and premise of the play?
Rachel Josselsohn: [It’s] a really interesting show. It’s very unique. There’s a girl whose name is Agnes, and she lives a very average life, nothing too spectacular. Her entire family dies in a car crash, including her younger sister Tilly. So the story is about her younger sister, who was really into Dungeons & Dragons and created a game with a couple of friends. Agnes finds this module and decides she wants to play it. The whole premise of the show is Agnes getting to know her sister through the lens of the game. So there’s a lot of really funny moments, but it can also get pretty intense, because she’s learning about her sister in a way that she really didn’t know, because there’s such a huge age gap between the two girls. And it’s kind of a story of just appreciating people in your life and getting to know people.
JA: How did you come across the opportunity to direct this play?
RJ: I am a stage manager by training, so I’m not really used to the whole directing thing; it’s something brand new to me. But, my high school [put on the play,] and I saw all these pictures of Facebook — I didn’t get to see the show — and I was like, What is happening? So I read the play, and I fell in love with it. I went to the proposals meeting for Brandeis Ensemble Theater (BET) and I said [that I was] interested in directing this show, and through a process of proposing it, finding people to work on it and voting, people decided they had faith in me, and the show is here!
JA: What’s been the most rewarding part of directing?
RJ: I think the most rewarding part of directing has been seeing how excited everybody is about the show, because it’s a very unique show, and it’s just so different. I think it’s probably the biggest tech-heavy show [...] that we’ve had, so seeing all the tech people get so into it and creating these awesome lights and sounds was really exciting. And the actors, also, they just jumped in and embraced a really interesting show. I think just that everyone’s been so enthusiastic about it, and that’s just making my time even better because I get to work with all those different energies.
JA: What’s been the most challenging part of directing?
RJ: The most challenging part would have to be the show itself — because of its uniqueness, it walks a fine line a lot of the time between being funny versus being cheesy or being really sad, but really overdramatic. So finding the nice balance between all of those different emotions that are in the show has been very difficult. I’m really lucky because all of my tech people, my amazing assistant director, Elana Kellner ’19 and all of the actors have been so involved in giving feedback and proposing new ideas that I think together we have [been able] to really circumvent those things and make the show really a great piece of theater.
JA: Anything else you want to add?
RJ: The show is going to be a lot of fun! We had a lot of fun doing it, and I hope the audience enjoys it!