Q&A with “Merge” director Brittany Rebhuhn

Brittany Rebhuhn

Note: This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

This November, DMACC Theatre is performing “Merge,” a dramatized look into the rise and fall of Atari, a video game-based company that saw its peak in the early 1980s.

Director of “Merge,” Brittany Rebhuhn, gives insight into this retro play. 

Q: Tell me about “Merge.”

A: OK, so “Merge” is a play about the rise and fall of Atari. We follow the story we open up with how Atari was generated and created and how the idea started and then we go to its demise — the story is reminiscent of a modern Silicon Valley. Kind of like startup life and culture. So there are lots of parallels to today.

Q: So why “Merge”? What drew you to its story?

A: I didn’t pick it. Carl reached out to me to see if I would direct. What excites me about the play is that it starts in the 1950s and ends in the 80s. So we cover many many years and many many places for the evolution of video games. That’s exciting for me because then were not stuck in a living room for two hours. There is lots of room to be creative in how we tell the story.

Q: After reading the script how excited were you?

A: I was excited to direct but the things that excited me also challenged me. I was also excited to learn more about video games. My video game knowledge is limited. I grew up playing video games but it was mostly Duck Hunt. I think those who grew up playing Atari will find it interesting.

Q: What’s the process of putting on a production like this?

A: Good question. It requires a community. We started rehearsals in early October, and before that, the production team met and discussed the concept of where we see it going. Including any ideas we had that we wanted to incorporate. Then we cast the show. I actually couldn’t be at auditions, I was directing another play at the time, so I let the production team cast the show. 

When we had our first read-through it was my first time meeting the actors and I think that process worked very well. In the rehearsal process, we do blocking and then we have a couple of weeks to work on it. We started rehearsing on October 10. Our rehearsals were Sunday through Thursday for three hours. It’s a big commitment for the students. Then it’s tech week.

Q: Is it a different experience directing here?

A: Different but kind of the same. I had never worked with anyone over here on the production team or with the cast. And the production team here are just exceptional creators and collaborators so the process just seemed seamless. Which is always something you want when making something like this.

Q: So, it’s opening night. How are you feeling?

A: I am excited. I’m excited for the actors and crew they are ready. I think we’ve peaked at the right time.

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