Theatre a family passion for RIC grads David Brassard
and Alexandra Rickoff
David Brassard, who performed in “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” in his senior year at RIC, earned a bachelor’s degree in communications/theatre/secondary education in 1979. Now, 30 years later, his stepdaughter, Alexandra Rickoff, graduated in May from his alma mater with a master of fine arts degree in theatre.
Alexandra Rickoff and her stepfather, David Brassard, at graduate commencement.
“I chose RIC for its unique MFA program,” said Rickoff. “As part of our training, we spent the second year working as interns at local or national theatre companies. The internship was vital to my growth in the program and made me a stronger artist.”
She worked as both the directing intern and curriculum developer for STAGES: The Performing Arts Academy for Kids in Scarborough, Maine.
“I liked the fact that RIC’s program wasn't a concentrated approach to theatre,” said Rickoff. We don’t label ourselves as directors, actors or playwrights. Instead we are artists, who are capable of performing and/or teaching all fields of theatre.”
Rickoff received her bachelor’s degree in theatre from Elmira College in New York. She will be working this summer at Maine’s Ogunquit Playhouse as the director of the Rising Stars Children’s Theatre.
Brassard, of Cape Elizabeth, Maine, is a literacy integration coach at Windham High School, working with administration and faculty on integrating literacy instruction into all content areas. He is also the building representative to the Windham School District Literacy Committee, but says he is first and foremost an English teacher.
RIC trained me to be a teacher, an actor and a communicator,” said Brassard. “The theatre department, as a whole, was very open and welcoming, and the professors were very approachable.”
Brassard described his “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” director, David Burr, as “inspiring and very patient." Though the play was supposed to be set in the early 1960s, most of the production's cast members in 1979 had facial hair, recalled Brassard. "Though Burr did not want us to have any facial hair, he gave in and, through some set and costume changes, gave the play a '70s feel.”
During Brassard's time at RIC, Raymond Picozzi was chair of what was then the Theater and Communications Department. “He was a great professor,” according to Brassard. Picozzi, a RIC professor emeritus of theatre, taught a class in children’s theatre, which Brassard said has been very useful to him in his teaching role.
RIC Theatre, which has evolved to become a thriving, independent program over the years, proved to be the perfect fit for two family members – 30 years apart.