An Interview with Rachel Geinert

Stage Manager, Church and State

Church & State by Jason Odell Williams

Senator Charles Whitmore decides to tell the public precisely what he is really thinking with less than three days until his potential re-election. How could that backfire? A hilarious dramedy about God, Guns, and Politics, and where they all intersect. Church and State runs September 27 – October 20.

This interview has been edited for clarity.

What is your theatrical background?

I grew up in a very theatrical family.  Both of my parents have degrees in theatre, and we spent our summers working with the community theatre in Grand Rapids, N.D.  I attended NDSU for theatre, and have since worked with many different companies in many different positions. I’ve been involved with Theatre B since 2013 when I had the incredible honor of stage managing “Red.”  I haven’t gone a season since without working on at least one production.

Why is this show important to see?

This show tackles difficult, divisive, and important issues, but it does so in a way that no one watching will feel attacked or misunderstood.  Tim (the director) described it in our first read-through as “West Wing meets Gilmore Girls” and I think that’s a very apt description. This show is fast paced, witty, fun, and still politically hard-hitting. It’ll make you laugh out loud one minute, and then the next your guts will be in knots.  And, like the best Theatre B shows, we don’t leave you with any answers, but hopefully with a sense of purpose.

If you could pick any line from the show that speaks to you the most, what is it?

There’s a moment in the show where the senator is struggling with his faith and his role in a recent tragedy.  His wife is talking him down off a ledge. She says, “That’s good. Because we are helpless. And the sooner you surrender to that, the sooner you’ll be at peace.”

Tell me about something interesting that happened during rehearsals.

We had the unbelievable gift of speaking with the playwright during our rehearsal process.  We were able to talk about a lot of the small mechanics of the show, but at one point he talked about why he chose to set the show in North Carolina.  Because North Carolina is one of those purple, battle-ground states that can easily go either direction in any election, it makes sense that the comments, speeches, and revelations in “Church and State” could have more effect on a campaign there than in many other locations.  The stakes are higher and the outcome more uncertain.

Anything else about yourself or the show that you want to share?   

Every once in awhile, you get to work on a show that not only fulfills you artistically (an incredible cast, inspired directors, wonderful design team, and an quality finished product), but the work actually speaks to your soul.  It’s engaging and exciting. You feel committed and driven, and like the art matters. This is one of those shows. Come see it. It’s going to be one that sticks with you.

By Emily Clemenson