Profile: Rachel Ruttenberg Has Been Happily Busy In The Pioneer Theatre Guild

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Rachel Ruttenberg is having a blast in theater. So it was only fitting that she play Hermia in the Pioneer Theatre Guild’s production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” which opens Thursday and continues with shows on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

The Pioneer senior says her character is a “fun girl.”

“When you first see her in the show she’s in a really tough position and she is faced with some pretty hard decisions,” Rachel says. “She goes on the long journey of excitement and confusion which is really fun to play onstage.”

Rachel has been having fun both on and off stage ever since got involved in the Pioneer Theatre Guild. She worked on the lights crew for “Willy Wonka” and also worked on special effects. Last year she acted in a student production called “Dear Lily,” where she played Lily, and her first PTG show was “In The Heights” last April. She was in the Dance Ensemble and also played Yolanda in the club scene.

She’s been happily busy in the PTG.

“Pioneer Theatre Guild is truly like nothing I’ve ever experienced,” says Rachel. “The collaboration between everyone, the cast, crew, creative team, producers, parent volunteers, etc., is truly amazing.

“Before I joined theatre I never realized how much work went into a production and where all the work came from and it’s really fascinating. One of the things I love about theatre is that it’s such an inclusive space because there’s so much to be done. Putting on a show is not easy. It takes a lot of people and a lot of hard work.”

And putting on William Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” is certainly a lot of hard work.

“I would say a challenge of this show is that it’s Shakespeare so it’s hard to know what your character is saying when you first read the lines,” Rachel says. “You really need to dig deep in the material in order to find your character’s thoughts and feelings for your lines and scene work. Also since it’s poetry, I would say keeping the rhythm of the lines while acting is a challenge.”

Rachel, who also plays field hockey and is on Student Council, is certainly up for a challenge. She believes the audience will enjoy the show, especially the comedic side.

“The mechanicals have a lot of comedy written in their lines, and watching them do their scene work is a lot of fun and really entertaining,” she said.

Rachel clearly has the acting bug and will pursue it for as long as she can.

“My theatre goals for the rest of high school are to just keep doing musical theatre and to grow as a performer,” she says. “After high school I hope to be studying musical theatre at Central Michigan University, where I’ll be playing field hockey. After college I would love to do some work with professional theatre companies, and hopefully make my Broadway debut one day.

“But really I’ll go wherever theatre takes me. I just want to be able to have a life doing theatre as a career because it’s what I love to do.”

Rachel also is grateful for all the support – she realizes she can’t do this alone.

“I would like to thank my family and friends for being so supportive of me in my life but especially in theatre,” she said. “I just started doing theatre last year and it’s been hard to know what to do and how things are done and they’ve been a big help.”

By Terry Jacoby