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Eastern senior takes directing and research skills to TheaterWorks, Hartford

Published on March 07, 2023

Eastern senior takes directing and research skills to TheaterWorks, Hartford

Ristow, fourth from left, with the production team for "Queen of Basel"

A senior at Eastern Connecticut State University served as assistant director of a recent production at TheaterWorks, Hartford. Rebecca Ristow ’23, a theatre major with concentrations in acting and directing, dramaturgy and cultural performance, was the assistant director of TheaterWorks' recent production of Hilary Bettis's 2019 play “Queen of Basel,” which was shown Feb. 3-26.

Ristow accepted an internship with TheaterWorks in December. “They had an open internship and, because of my dramaturgical and directing background, they offered me a spot as the assistant director for ‘Queen of Basel.’”

“I’ll also be working with the production side of the company on their next show, ‘The Rembrandt,’” she said.

The term “dramaturgy” refers to the theory and practice of dramatic composition. Ristow’s dramaturgical work for the classic drama, “Oedipus the King,” has been selected for several research conferences.

Rebecca Ristow '23.

Ristow reimagined the script of “Oedipus,” situating it within modern society. “The ‘plague’ was actually the COVID-19 pandemic, and all the characters were representative of different social and political leaders,” she explained.

Ristow’s research was synthesized into “a 25-page packet of media resources, analysis, drawn connections, design elements and overall justification for the project.” She hopes to present her research at Eastern’s CREATE conference in April.

Ristow has undoubtedly translated skills she has gained at Eastern into her contributions to TheaterWorks. “The most valuable thing about Eastern is the opportunity for individual growth and leadership,” she said.

“Assistant directing ‘The Rocky Horror Picture Show,’ which was done independently through Drama Society, was a beneficial learning opportunity in responsibility and leadership,” said Ristow. “Writing and directing my own one-act (play), ‘The Ethics of a Funeral,’ was also a great opportunity.

“The skills I learned in directing character-based works in intimate theaters like the (Fine Arts Instructional Center) Studio Theater here translated very easily to TheaterWorks.”

After she graduates, Ristow hopes to pursue further dramaturgical work, directing and graduate school. Deep down, she knows what she really wants: “In an ideal world, I’d love to be directing small, character-driven shows full time!”

Written by Noel Teter