On Subjects That Should Be Harder to Write For – With Rheanna Atendido

The Great Noise opens tonight, and we had the pleasure of working with not one but two songwriters. Today, I sat down with one of them to learn more about her experience working on the show, what the show means in today’s society, and being an artist in Seattle.

Rheanna Atendido

Rheanna Atendido

Aaron: What are some of your favorite things about the show?

Rheanna: The fact that all these musicians that are in the show are either beginner-level instrumentalists or had never played the instrument that they play in the show. Like James has never played the guitar before, and now he’s accompanying himself on two songs. That’s incredible! And same with the witches band. It’s so much fun.

A: So you’ve enjoyed working on the show so far?

R: I really have! It was so much fun getting to write these songs with such a strong cast of people. I haven’t been in the rehearsal process that much since I’m in another show, but every time I’m in there it’s such a great energy in the room and so much creative vibes going around. It’s just nice to be part of that sort of atmosphere with people who are ready to jump in and dive into material that’s really important.

A: What’s it like working with such personal subject matter?

R: it was tough in that it was so easy to write for it. It was upsetting that I didn’t have to try hard to put myself in the witches’ situation, you know. But it’s cool getting to work on a show like this because I think it will… hm… well I feel like it’s an important story. I think that the convention that they’re using is really clever and will be done in a way that will reach people that need/want to hear it.

A: And who would those people be?

R: I don’t want to just be like “cis het white boys” but like… well it’s also the people who are on the fence or people who are caught in a sort of gray area of “oh that doesn’t really count as sexual assault” or “oh did they really” sort of a thing, the people that disregard the experience of victims and survivors. I think the story is also for the bystanders. Man, interviews are hard.

"When it’s so their passion and so the story they want to tell, you feel that"

Hannah Knapp-Jenkins in  The Great Noise

Hannah Knapp-Jenkins in The Great Noise

A: How has the Seattle creative community supported your growth as an artist?

R: Seattle’s great. It’s great a number of artists who are really trying to create new works and do new things on their own and push for their own voices to be heard. I feel like it’s a great place to not only meet with people who are developing their voice but also for me to develop my own, and to find spaces and opportunities to share it with my community. It’s awesome. So I’m always grabbing any opportunity I can to work with the artists here.

A: What inspires you as an artist?

R: Other people. That’s so generic, but just seeing other people and getting to see shows that they’ve produced and they’ve created that’s truly from their heart. You can just tell when a show has a lot of heart in it or a lot of passion because it’s like – to be in such a tough career, it’s easy to get lost in doing a job for a job. When it’s so their passion and so the story they want to tell, you feel that when you watch a show, especially an original show, you can feel it in the music or in the words that they say and how they say it.

That sort of stuff inspires me to keep doing what I’m doing and to keep writing and to keep doing new works. That’s why it’s so important to support and to fund and go watch new works of theatre, and art, and all of that. Because you never know what that ignites in you to create.


The Great Noise runs June 9-10 as part of On The Board’s NW New Works Festival at the Merrill Theater. Tickets available for purchase here.