Each year CCM graduates thousands of students who go on to work across the country in all facets of the arts. But it sure is nice when our stars return home to share their craft.
The Other Rhine, a haunting theatrical collaboration by Know Theatre and Hit The Lights! Theater Co., features the work of CCM alumni and even some current students as they unite to create an intriguing Halloween spectacle that is unique to the Queen City.
Part walking tour and part haunted house, The Other Rhine guides audience members through The Mockabee and the Reliance Metal building in Cincinnati’s Brewery District to create an immersive theater experience. The show opened Friday night and runs though Halloween. It begins with an invitation:
Join us for the Bring Bellevue Brewery and Beerhall Back tour! Our Executive Director Scott Kaufman will lead you on a journey back into Cincinnati history to learn about brewing and the intriguing story of those who made beer at the old brewery.
With your help, we can bring the Bellevue Brewery back to its former glory!
“Audiences should expect to have fun, be thrilled, uncover some dark secrets of Cincinnati history and have nightmares,” said Mikayla Stanley (BFA Drama, 2011), of The Other Rhine.
Stanley founded Hit the Lights with Casey Scott Leach (BFA Drama ’10) and Kristopher Dean (BFA Drama ‘12) in 2013. The group also includes Claron Hayden (BFA Drama, 2012) and Carli Rhoades (BFA Drama, 2015). Hit The Lights’ productions typically center around shadow puppetry and use darkness and light to tell stories.
“We were interested in building an artistic agreement using the tools we learned at CCM, specifically those learned in Transmigration, the CCM student-led theatre festival held each winter that began while we were in school,” Stanley said.
After Hit the Lights’ production, “dungeon,” won Audience Pick at Know Theatre’s Cincy Fringe Festival in 2015, the two groups began to develop The Other Rhine. “The Know Theatre has created such an engaging and welcoming community atmosphere with their Fringe that we soon became friends and colleagues,” Stanley said.
Know’s Artistic Director, Andrew Hungerford (MFA Lighting Design and Technology, 2005), approached Hit the Lights with the H.P. Lovecraft-inspired concept for The Other Rhine. Neither group has done a show quite like it before.
“It’s an immersive theatrical experience that will really blur the lines between the world of the show and reality,” said Michaela Tropeano, a senior CCM Acting student involved with the show. “No two experiences at The Other Rhine will be alike. The audience is truly a piece of the puzzle.”
Like Hit the Lights, Know Theatre has several CCM alumni in its ranks including Hungerford, Design & Production Associate Sarah Beth Hall (BFA Scenic Design, 2014), Managing Director Alice Flanders (BFA Stage Management 2012) and Technical Director Nick Koehlke (CCM, 2007-12).
There are also seven current CCM students that are cast in The Other Rhine: Tropeano and her fellow Acting majors Sarah Durham, Ryan Garrett, Spencer Lackey, Julia Netzer and Josh Reiter, as well as Musical Theatre major Marissa Hecker.
“Working with CCM students is always amazing, particularly since we all went through the same training and have the same theatrical vocabulary,” Stanley said. “The students, mainly due to the training given to them by powerhouse instructor Richard Hess, have an incredible work ethic and are game to try anything. This is especially important in a project like this, given that it is so experimental.”
Tropeano felt the same kinship with the CCM alumni that Stanley experienced with the current students.
“Our similar training and kindred dispositions make it all come together very organically,” she said. “Working with Hit the Lights has been an invaluable opportunity to see how these four years of training fare outside of CCM, and witnessing the brilliance of Hit the Lights makes me excited to know that this is only the start.”
You can see these CCM students and alumni in The Other Rhine through Halloween. For performance and ticket information, visit Know Theatre’s website at http://knowtheatre.com/the-other-rhine/.
Story by CCM graduate student Alexandra Doyle