Updated: Jan 27, 2020
Cherish Rhodes is a director, stage manager, and budding playwright who currently serves as the Programming Director for Monument. Like the rest of the company she received her training from Indiana State University, where she where she was involved in numerous mainstage productions as well as serving as the President of the Student Theatre Association on campus. You can catch her next as the Director of Monument's first production; Hers is the head of a Wolf.
MONUMENT: Ok, Cherish, we’re gonna hit you hard early. You ready?
CHERISH RHODES: As ready as I’ll ever be.
M: This is already so intense…
CR: Just you wait.
M: (Begins sweating) I’m not sure I’m ready.
CR: Get on with it.
M: (Nervously fumbles with questions) Um…
(Cherish’s eyebrow cocks, unimpressed.)
M: What’s your favorite color?
CR: Yellow. Definitely yellow.
M: What’s your favorite food?
CR: Anything pasta.
M: Favorite article of clothing?
CR: Socks. Comfy, warm.
M: Any tattoos?
CR: No, but I want one.
M: Favorite time of year?
M: Are you a sports fan?
CR: A little bit. I wouldn’t say I’m a major sports fan but I did grow up watching basketball with my grandparents.
M: Do you have a favorite team?
CR: The Pacers. You know, hometown team. Gotta root for the Pacers!
M: Coffee or tea?
CR: Both. I love tea because my mother used to make it all the time, her own homemade tea, actually. So I do love tea but I can’t say I don’t also love my coffee.
M: Cat or dog?
CR: Dogs. Dogs. I love cats, don’t get me wrong, but I’m a dog person. I have a great dog at home and he’s the best.
M: What kind of dog is he?
CR: Well he’s a Shepherd mix. We got him from the humane society and so they don’t exactly know his other half, but we do know he’s half shepherd.
M: Do you happen to have a favorite breed?
CR: Um… I don’t know if I do. I like huskies but that’s a lot of hair and I do live in the midwest, so…
M: Outside of theatre, what are some interests or hobbies of yours?
CR: I may not look it but I love dance. I mean, I’m not a dancer, but I love dance. I love just listening to music and, you know, just letting it flow through me.
M: Do you have a favorite genre of music or dance?
CR: Not necessarily. I like freestyle, modern dance. I do like ballet. Again, I do not consider myself a ballerina, but I do enjoy watching ballet and I do like dancing. Genre of music, I like any music. I um… I do listen to nerd-core, because I’m lame like that.
CR: Yeah! Like, songs about games. Or songs that you hear in games, soundtracks, that kind of stuff.
M: What would be a dream vacation?
CR: I would say like a themepark or Japan. I want to go to Japan.
M: Why’s that?
CR: I like the culture. There’s this traditional culture that sort of defines their… heritage, their society, I guess. And then there’s this injection of a new culture that… what’s the word? Experiments, I guess, experiments with new trends and styles and things that other places wouldn’t.
M: If you weren’t in theatre, what else could you see yourself doing?
CR: Just to be clear, I am very set on theatre. But I think in another life maybe I would own my own bookstore?
M: Do you have a favorite author?
CR: Neil Schossterman is one of my favorite authors. As far as playwrights, I’ve read a good deal of Chekov. I don’t really have, like, particular favorite writers. For me it’s more about the individual piece of work and how I feel about it. The work is separate from the author, in my eyes, so I just follow individual pieces versus a single writer and a whole set of works. I guess that’s the best way to describe it.
M: Who is a personal hero of yours?
CR: That’s tricky. I think a lot of people probably have a certain individual that they look up to but there’s a lot of people that inspire me and I personally don’t have just one person like that in my life. So anybody in my life who-- or things like, you know, artists, or music, that’s where I draw inspiration from. The things that surround me in my life.
M: What do you admire in people?
CR: Drive and determination. I think seeing that in people and seeing them want to achieve something greater than themselves makes me want to do the same and I really love seeing that in others.
M: What do you despise in people?
CR: (Laughs) I think… I think maybe those who blindly do as they're told. Who don’t pursue a life for themselves.
M: What charms you in a person?
CR: Positivity. I like seeing people who persevere and stay positive. Makes me want to get to know them.
M: Where are you from?
CR: I’m from Terre Haute.
M: How did growing up in Terre Haute affect your worldview?
CR: Well, Terre Haute’s one of those places where it’s not too big, not too small, sort of in-between. But growing up here I’ve seen the differences between the growth of the town and I’ve seen the struggles of those in this community which has shaped a lot of what I think about things. And you know, I’ve lived with my family in Terre Haute and I’m very close to my family. But it taught me not to take things for granted and to appreciate what you have at any given time, because it’s not guaranteed and you don’t know what will change.
M: So, let’s transition to Wolf, do you have a favorite moment in the play?
CR: Without giving anything away, my favorite moment is actually the very end. Elise’s last lines, they’re very powerful.
M: How would you describe yourself as a director?
CR: That’s tough… I don’t know. I guess my ultimate goal as a director is to leave the audience with the same feeling or state of mind that I had when I first read the play or as I was working on it. You know, if I can make people want something more from it, to talk more about it, to question it, to come talk to me about it-- then I’ve done my job as a director.
M: Why do you think this play is important for people to see?
CR: Well, sexual harassment and assault are very important issues that are becoming more and more prominent in the national discourse, which is a huge step forward in dealing with these issues from a “macro” standpoint. But one thing that is key to remember is that this isn’t something new or that is perpetrated only by those in power or anything. This is an issue that women, and men, have been dealing with for as long as we can recall. So this play forces the audience to exist in the same realm and confront the same mysteries and realities that our protagonist, Elise, has to every day. It makes us all complicit and it makes us all responsible and my hope is that it reminds us to consider the minutia and the day-to-day actions and behaviors that contribute to these issues. And, if I’ve done my job as the director, our audience will be having a discussion about what they saw and my hope is that this can linger outside of the theatre.
M: Last question: In a hundred years, what would you like to be remembered for?
CR: Wow. Um… I think that I could rest easy knowing that I helped. In whatever way to whoever it may be, if I could go knowing that I had that impact or influence and helped someone through my work or my actions that would mean so much to me.
Now you know Cherish! You can find her in person after our performances of Hers is the Head of a Wolf at the 2018 IndyFringe Festival in the Indy Eleven Stage. Please go to www.indyfringe.org for more information, tickets, and your opportunity to see this play and join the conversation. Subscribe now to stay in the loop for the next installment of our Get to Know Series as well as other updates from Monument!