Jan Eliasberg ’74 of Aquinnah Films directs the episode of N.C.I.S.-Los Angeles that airs on Nov. 8 on CBS at 9 p.m. The episode, entitled “Greed,” marks the second time Eliasberg has been tapped to put her directorial perspective on the dramatic action series featuring a Naval Criminal Investigative squad working in conjunction with local Southern California law enforcement.
Eliasberg, a theater major at Wesleyan who earned her graduate degree in directing at the Yale School of Drama and studied in London, says that she enjoyed directing plays by Bertolt Brecht and Shakespeare for “the large-scale themes, examining where the tears are in the fabric of our society, who is fighting on the front lines, who is impacted by it, and why.
“Yes, there is violence,” she says, “In the culminating scenes of Hamlet, or Macbeth, or any Greek tragedy, because the stakes are so high. That was the component of theater that really interested me.”
She finds those same aspects in some of today’s most popular television series and savors the directorial challenge.
“Action is thematic story-telling at its richest, in a funny way. It’s not just the ‘flash and bash’ — the action — ultimately it’s about what is at stake and why. What story and character threads have woven together to culminate in that action scene, and how the power is going to shift from that moment on.”