Simply Southern New England host Rebecca “Becky” Gibel has spent the past few years showcasing the unique qualities that make Rhode Island, Connecticut, and Massachusetts charming picks for settling down, and her personal success story as a working artist proves it’s possible to build an impressive career here, too.
Gibel most recently played a key role in CODA, the 2022 Academy Award Winner for Best Picture, and she is involved in three other films set to release this year.
“It’s such a deserving film and a story that needs to be told,” Gibel said of CODA. “It’s a perspective that hasn’t really been represented in our storytelling history as much.”
CODA is the story of Ruby, a child of deaf adults, who finds herself at a crossroads between helping her family continue their fishing business and pursuing her own goals as a singer at Berkley College of Music.
“I hope that it’s a statement to the industry that audiences know truth and audiences know soul and audiences are hungry for material that’s not right down the center of what we are always expecting,” Gibel said. “I hope it helps to create a greater market for independent films and films that are stories about folks who have been overlooked for decades.”
Becky’s CODA scenes were filmed on the docks in Gloucester, MA and about four miles out on the Angela Rose fishing vessel.
“I’ve never worked on a project where the setting is so much a character and influencer in the experience,” Gibel recalled of being out at sea. “It was unique.”
Also unique is Gibel’s versatility and ability to effortlessly jump between the silver screen, the small screen and the stage. Gibel plays opposite Ed Burns on the Epix show Bridge and Tunnel and recurs as Tina Harrison in NOS4A2, on AMC. She recently appeared as Louise Swig in the series premiere of David Simon’s, The Plot Against America, on HBO.
Locally, she can be seen hosting YurView’s Simply Southern New England and appearing on-stage as a member of the Resident Acting Company at Trinity Repertory Company.
The New Mexico transplant turned Ocean State homeowner fell in love with Rhode Island when she enrolled at Trinity Rep’s MFA program at Brown University fifteen years ago. At the time, she never imagined she could find the perfect balance between striving for big goals as a working artist and performer while achieving the personal dream of owning a home in a town she adores. When she and her husband, Charlie Thurston, were asked to become company members at Trinity Rep, the puzzle pieces started falling into place.
“It’s not only possible but happening that there are artists here who are able to carve out a living,” Gibel said, noting that Rhode Island and Massachusetts are particularly unique due to them both housing a rich theatre community. “It’s pretty exciting.”
Trinity Rep offers Gibel a great home base for honing her craft as a performer while providing creative freedom to pursue other projects outside of the theatre. She credits her educational and professional experience at Trinity to helping her develop the ability to translate two-dimensional words on a page into four-dimensional human experience. This skill, she believes, has shaped her entire experience as a performer.
“If Trinity had not invested so much time and resources into my artistic life and the artistic work of my colleagues,” Gibel said, “I wouldn’t be working at the level I’m working now.”
Whereas many theatres hire new artists with each show, Trinity was founded on the belief that there is value in a company of actors, designers, directors and stage managers working within the same community for a long period of time.
“Trinity Rep is so dedicated to the development of not only the community of Providence and the Tri-State area,” Gibel said. “But they’re committed to the development of the artistic life of their company.”
Gibel and fellow Trinity Rep company members are currently working on Fairview, a 2019 Pulitzer-Prize winning play by Brown University alumna Jackie Sibblies Drury. Fairview begins showing May 19th, 2022 and runs for one month through June 19th.
“I’m really excited to tell this story and I’m excited that it speaks to the difficult conversations that we are having in this country right now,” Gibel said. “But it does it with a Gonzo sense of humor, so it’s a real full meal.”
Whereas film and television roles reach a larger audience, Gibel loves the instant gratification the theatre offers. Performers craft what the audience will see as one big piece in the moment, which enables the actors on stage to feed off that energy and fuel a collective performance. The theatre is a piece of art that continues to grow.
Still, being able to jump between stage, film and television roles is the ultimate dream. Gibel can have a conversation in one way on the stage with Trinity Rep, then have a different conversation with the country and even the world with her work on film and television sets.
“And with Simply Southern New England,” Gibel said, “I’m able to record a love letter every month to this specific area and highlight businesses that people should know about and be supporting.”
Simply Southern New England – Sunday’s at 7:30 pm, Wednesday’s at 9:30 pm, and Saturday’s at 2:00 pm and 9:30 pm ET on YurView NE (Cox Channel 4) and right here on YurView.com.