Training Theatre Artists to Make a Difference

An Interview with Rachel Rios, M.F.A. Playwriting Candidate Playwright of Tilting

Who or what inspires your writing the most?

Well, for this is an adaptation of Don Quijote de la Mancha. I found myself revisiting him while I was in grad school. To be frank, grad school is very trying on your mental health. I kept returning to him and how he was such a light in his story, even though he saw things completely different than everyone else. There was definitely a point where he was considered mad, so I wanted to take that empowerment, spin it,  and do something positive with it. I feel like I usually write negatively or critically so I ended up writing the show as something I needed to hear.

What message or lesson do you want your audience to draw from Tilting?
I really just want everyone to leave feeling loved. You know, I think there are some questions  about how you treat others and how you treat yourself. My main goal is for everyone to leave feeling embraced just the way they are. This is a subject matter that I believe a lot of people on a college campus and relate to.

What has been the most challenging aspect of bringing your work  to life? How did you overcome it?
Our production team is great. The actors, designers, and director are wonderful; I’ve been really blessed with that. However, the challenge was finding out how I wanted to tell the story. This is a character we all know and I wanted to revisit his spirit in a new body and a new way so it is the figure is actually a young woman  I think I had to continually revisit why I was doing it. It wasn’t because I wanted to rewrite it. Allowing these characters to be the same and separate from their source material was the greatest struggle.

Is there a particular course or set of courses that prepared you to be the writer you are today?
My first playwriting class was with Beth Henley; she wrote Crimes of the Heart and actually won a Pulitzer for that play. I was super star struck by her. I came in not really considering myself a playwright at all, I was an actress. I wrote the weirdest thing: it was about people living in a refrigerator, it was very silly and I was really embarrassed by it. I felt like my story wasn’t a play but she reassured me that it was. She said that you don’t have to write like anyone else to write a play. I think that is the biggest gift I could have been given as a writer because I don’t really enjoy writing in realism. She really inspired me just follow the weird and allow individuality.

If you would like to see Rachel’s thesis project come to life, buy your tickets now for Tilting


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This entry was posted on February 14, 2019 by .
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