By Katie Tabeling
Elm Staff Writer
“Drink Me (Or, The Strange Case of Alice Times Three)” could be described in a plethora of words. Some may call it a playful, subversive whodunit. Others classify it as a fantastical satire with a spectacularly comic-ghoulish end. In a word, director Brittany Rankin simply said, “It’ll be awesome.”
“Drink Me” centers on Chief Inspector Gordon Fossmire and a rather unusual investigation. Disreputable men are disappearing off the streets of London, leaving only buttons behind. Fossmire, while stumped, is approached by an anthropologist (who specializes in feminism and the occult) with a few clues. She believes that her “demonic” triplets, who speak in archaic literary English, may be responsible.
Rankin explains her choice in play thoughtfully. “It sounded really intriguing… I read it and I was like this was so creepy, I kind of want to direct this now. It was funny yet creepy at the same time, which isn’t something you see very often on stage, especially for a senior thesis,” she said.
“Drink Me” is Rankin’s first full-fledged experience in stage direction, and every moment over the past few months has spent perfecting it. “Spare time is limited,” Rankin said, “but I try to have those moments of fun and relaxation.”
But she is the first to admit when the final curtain closes on Saturday night, sleep is on the top of her priority list. “The first thing I’ll do when my thesis is over? Sleep. For Sure,” she said.
However, directing “Drink Me” is not the only item on Rankin’s impressive resume, nor will it be the last. While attending middle school in Crofton, Maryland, she started with small choir roles in theater productions. Rankin said she did not play an active role in her high school’s drama department. “I took one theater class in all of high school, which is really surprising because I really like it now,” said Rankin. Despite her late start, Rankin is no stranger to performing on a stage; she has taken dance for a great deal of her life and plays the viola.
When Rankin first arrived on the Washington College scene, she was unsure of what she wanted to do. “When I first came here I was a completely different person…I didn’t know what I was coming here to do and my sophomore year I ended up saying ‘Hey, why don’t I try my hand at drama?’” she said. After a CNW in Theater and Performance Class, and a following semester in Acting I, the rest was history. “It wasn’t until sophomore year I thought, ‘Hey, maybe I can actually do this,” she said.
Rankin has appeared in several Fakespeare productions, “These Shining Lives” in 2008, “Troy Women” in 2009, and “Spring Awakening” in 2010. She has also played a major role behind the scenes, working on sound board, running crew, and assistant stage management.
“I want to be successful in my field of study,” she said. She easily explains her extensive role in the Drama department. However, the one aspect Rankin has not dabbled in is the one area she plans on specializing in. “I’m a drama major, but I’m actually more of a writer at heart. I was thinking about doing a playwriting thesis before I decided on a directing thesis. Where my passion for the theater lies is in creating plays.” After catching up on her sleep, Rankin plans to finish writing a play.
But for now, Rankin is thrilled for “Drink Me”’s premiere this Friday at 8 p.m. “I really want to have the audience come up to me afterwards and say ‘Wow!’ and just be shell shocked at what they saw.”