Sunday, February 01, 2015

Jess the Mastodon Stomps Through The Hub

This weekend, The Impracticality of Modern-Day Mastodons will be featured as part of the Hub Play Fest down in Fairfax, Virginia outside of DC!

The public reading of my piece takes place at 2:00 PM on Sunday, February 8th at the John Swayze Theater in the New School of Northern Virginia.
If you misread that theater name, like I did, you might assume that dramatic lifts and/or ghosts were involved, and unfortunately you might be a bit disappointed. There is, however, a reading of a new play about Albert Einstein and African American opera singer Marian Anderson on Saturday, and a mixer on Saturday night, which is pretty much the same thing, right?

Now, this reading is awesome and exciting news on its own, but it is extra exciting because it means reuniting with two friends and collaborators, which I always, always love to do.

Last spring, Mastodons was selected for a First Contact Reading with The Inkwell, a marvelous development organization out of DC. I came down for the weekend and got to spend hours in a room with a crackerjack creative team playing with the script and expanding the world of the piece. We focused on exploring the actual physical presence of the mastodon. What's it like to have something that size in the room? How could she move? How would you show her affection?

Without a puppet-maker (or a budget or any time at all), we ended up using the actors to build our mastodon. (photos by dramaturg and mastodon wrangler Anne Meredith McCaw) They lumbered in tandem, knocking things over and reaching out with their trunk. We improvised a disastrous meeting with Delores and an ill-fated date with Clint, and painted and stomped and trumpeted and really deepened and strengthened the piece. One of my favorite moments came when Ricardo, who is reprising Clint in the workshop this weekend, was improvising a scene relaxing with Jess, played by the lovely Sarah Tisdale, and he suddenly started petting her. It made complete sense - she's a big soft fuzzy creature, she's become more of a pet than a girlfriend. And, it gives him simultaneously a new way to interact with her, and a new way to absolutely drive her crazy. It was a great insight and just a little example of what a roomful of smart collaborators can lead you to.

For Play Fest, the Inkwell and I are undergoing a longer, more involved rehearsal process that I fully anticipate will kick my ass. I can't wait to see what we come up with.

And speaking of continuing collaborations, the lovely Emma Kate Jackson will be reading the role of Jess! Emma and I go way back. She was Neil Swantrick Harris in my adaptation of The Ugly Duckling with Serenbe Playhouse, and Meg Murray in A Wrinkle in Time when I assistant directed at Theatrical Outfit, and one of my go-to smart actresses when I was workshopping new scripts in Atlanta. When we workshopped Mastodons with the Collective Project and the script grew 25 pages overnight, she was our Jess, and I am absolutely thrilled to have her back.

Here's to old friends and new drafts! Hope to see you at The Hub Play Fest this weekend.

Labels: , , ,

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Things get Chilly at Serenbe

This December, Serenbe Playhouse in Palmetto, GA will be presenting my brand new adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen's The Snow Queen. It's my fifth family show with Serenbe, and the second Hans Christian Andersen tale we've tackled. Details below, photography and artwork by the lovely BreeAnne Clowdus

Audiences will join brave Gerda on her epic quest to save her brother from the icy allure of the mysterious Snow Queen and the chill creeping into his own heart. A triumph of love over cynicism, this stunningly visual piece will be a holiday show like nothing you’ve ever seen before. Before there was FROZEN, there was The Snow Queen …

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Video Mastodons and a Trip Back in Time

We've got two more weekends left for "The Impracticality of Modern-Day Mastodons" at Hole in the Wall Theater, and I've got two videos to share.

First is the charming and towering Robb Ecker, who puppeteers half of Jess the mastodon.

Second is me, talking about where the play comes from and doing my best imitation of a girl in a brown sweater trying to be a mastodon.

It's funny, I actually posted a snippet of the mastodon script on this blog way back in March of 2010 - the beginnings of the first Clint & Jess scene.

Here's what Past-Rachel had to say about that:
I recently joined The Playwrights Center, partly for access to their kick-ass opportunities list, and partly to keep tabs on my Workhaus Collective buddies, and I'm definitely going to try and submit more scripts around this year. I was particularly inspired by Centenary Stage's Mastodon Challenge and decided to write a short Mastodon play in a month. And open a show. And find a day job. And stop being a hermit in my apartment all the time.

I was actually making really good headway, and I was
an interrogation scene and a mystical visitation away from actually finishing my Mastodon Play, when February 27th rolled around, and I had all day rehearsals for one show and performances for another all weekend and a brand new job and Doctor Who to catch up on, and I decided that I loved that Mastodon Play too much to vomit out an ending and let it out into the big wide world.

Four years later, I'm in the midst of a fully staged workshop production with a full sized mastodon puppet. It's a pretty cool feeling, actually.

Also, the original title was "Dress Up Trunk." Huh. Interesting call, Past-Rachel. Interesting call.

Labels: , , , , ,

Thursday, August 07, 2014

Mastodons Thunder Through New Britain (Again)

Mastodon with Castodons
Hi Blog.
I know it's been a while since we posted together, but know this, it's not because I don't care about you. It's that I forgot I had you.
Kind of.

Anyway, let me satiate you with a brief cross post. I'm in the midst of a workshop production of "The Impracticality of Modern-Day Mastodons" down at the Hole in the Wall Theater in New Britain and about to go promote it on a local radio show with host Virginia Wolf (who I am only mildly afraid of).

There is so much to say and think about and muse on and whatnot, but for now, here's what reporter Scott Whipple of the New Britain Herald had to say:
Playwright Rachel Teagle calls her play “a brand-new, off-beat comedy about ambition, vocation, and impractical beasts.” But if you ask Lisa DelCegno of Rocky Hill, who plays Jess in “The Impracticality of Modern-Day Mastodons,” Hole in the Wall Theater’s current production has a serious message.

“You can find a place to fit [in this world],” DelCegno says. “It may take time, but eventually you’ll find where you supposed to be and what you’re supposed to do and it will feel right.”

Teagle explains that her play, which opened Friday for an August run, is about “what happens when everyone becomes what they wanted to be when they grow up. The world is suddenly full of astronauts, ballerinas, and one bewildered mastodon.”

Brett Aiello of Middletown plays Clint, a journalist writing for a weekly newspaper who longs to be a James Bond character. He wakes up one day as a crazy, grown-up James Bond. His girl friend, Jess awakes as a prehistoric monster, a mastodon. How do they deal with the change? Says Teagle: “Anyone in a long-term relationship has to look at where they are now and ask if it’s still working.” “…Mastodons” is in the tradition of HITW productions that have included Brendan Behan’s “The Hostage” and William Saroyan’s “The Time of Your Life.”

Check out the full article, and come down and see the show. We run weekends through August 23rd up in New Britain, CT. Show details at

Labels: , , , , , ,

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Science Fiction Double Feature

October. The pumpkin lattes return from their seasonal hibernation, costumes are rendered inexplicably sexy, and it's time to do the Time Warp again.

Yes, it's Rocky season.

For those of you out in Chicago, Underscore Theatre is producing their live Rocky Horror show for the third year, hot on the heels of their critically acclaimed casting couch musical comedy, Pr0ne. Their vocal arrangements are both beautiful and at times surprisingly difficult (as one little Transylvanian has discovered while using some of the fabulous David Kornfeld's arrangements in her own production)
Plus, if you buy tickets online, you may win beer! Beer and Rocky go together like Laura Stratford and 30 day blogging experiments.
Chicago is a lucky town indeed.

For those further North, my handsome buddy Scottie Heverling (pictured at left in adorable glasses) will be playing Brad over at Mad Myrna's in Anchorage, Alaska.

 It looks like a blast from their horror-infused promo pictures on Facebook. Zombie-tastic!

And over in my neck of the woods, we're positively crawling with Transylvanians.

In fact up in New Britain, CT, there are two productions directly across the street from one another. And actually, they're shaping up to be very different, very cool takes on this classic tale of a flat tire gone terribly wrong. Don't dream, be it...twice!

Full disclosure, I'm involved in the Hole in the Wall Theater's rendition of Rocky (and have the residual hair glitter to prove it). We're definitely coming to hang out with our neighbors, and I highly suggest you do the same.

 At the Phoenix Theater, they're doing a classic take on Rocky Horror, adapting the stage script to fit the cult classic movie. More details can be found on their website. Special Midnight shows on Saturday!
From their press release:  
See mad scientist Frank N Furter corrupt the innocent Brad and Janet and try to make his perfect man. Join Magenta and Riff-Raff in their memories of happier days. Watch Columbia and Eddie have a good time…for a while anyway. See Dr. Scott roll around the stage and hear Rocky grunt. Heckle the Narrator as he abuses you right back! Prop bags will be sold so you can make yourselves part of the fun!

And over on the other side of town, we have my freaky family over at the Hole in the Wall, doing a disco-fabulous interpretation of the original stage show.  Details on the website. Special Midnight shows on Fridays, and Halloween!
From the press release: 
This ain’t your momma’s Rocky Horror Show. Or is it?

For the fortieth anniversary of the London premiere of The Rocky Horror Show, Hole in the Wall has returned to the original theatrical script to glean new and horrific inspiration.

On a dark and stormy night, Brad Majors and Janet Weiss, a wholesome and newly-engaged young couple, leave their hometown of Denton to meet with their mentor, Dr. Everett Scott. But a flat tire leads them to the castle of Dr. Frank N. Furter, his delegation of alien dignita
ries and Rocky Horror the monster he built in his laboratory. Over the course of their visit, Brad and Janet are put through many trials and their innocence is put to the test in this spoof of classic sci-fi and horror films.

Forget what you know of the film and come with an open mind, a roll of toilet paper and your best insults.


What the press release doesn't mention is how much glittery dancing and harmony singing one Rachel Teagle now has to do. And how hurty her feet are. 

But! It's all in the name of art and fabulous and fun. I mean, do you want to tell Frank no? 
Phoenix is already up and running, we open on Friday (eek!) And, because of the midnight shows, you lucky audience members could enjoy a Late Night Double Feature of your own, and see BOTH New Britain Rocky Horrors in ONE NIGHT.  ONE NIGHT! TWO ROCKYS!

I know, Downtown Bubbles Brown, it's freaking me out a little bit too.

Labels: ,

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Un Mystère Français

Unbeknownst to most of you readers, I have been watching you.
 Exhibit A: Peeps in a jar of vodka.

Watching you until my eyes fell off and floated around, like a marshmallow Peep in a jar of vodka.

 (Trust me, they do fall off and float around. Something about their waxy little sugar eyes makes them less susceptible to dissolution than their marshmallow-y, sugar coated bodies, making their inevitable demise extra morbid as you make your spring cocktails.)


I have a cute little device on the bottom of the blog from Sitemeter that keeps track of basic information about people finding this blog - what site referred them, how long they stayed, where they clicked in and out, and occasionally where they're from. Usually, it's because they're trying to find the source of a puppy picture, or because they searched for "Robo-Boobs" and were disappointed.

But today, I found a visit from someone in Strasbourg, France, capital of the Alsace region. This isn't particularly weird, I get hits from other countries fairly often, it's the world wide web, after all. But this person wasn't looking for a Ruth Orkin photograph, or even robotic bosoms.

They had gone to and typed in "the ever and after rachel teagle play."

I kind of freaked out. How did someone in France of all places find out about that script? And then find me, successfully? And why didn't they leave a comment or send me a message or something? They just passed through, like a French ship in the night.

I suspect it stems from Manhattan Theatre Works' recent announcement that "The Ever and After" was a semi-finalist for their Newborn Festival, which is pretty damn fantastic, given that there were 561 plays submitted. They announced it with a very dramatically scored video on their Facebook page; my favorite part is at about 2:08, FYI. So, perhaps they were googling all 57 finalists and semi-finalists? Or just the ones whose last names rhymed with majestic birds?

I'm just dying to know why they were looking for me, because if they're interested in my little post-apocalyptic adventure play about a talking cockroach, his feral human ward, and the robotic woman they rescue, I definitely want to be found. 
So, if, on August 23rd at 12:22 AM,  you were googling "the ever and after rachel teagle play", come back and leave me a comment or a message. S'il vous plaît?


Labels: ,

Friday, June 07, 2013

A Snippet of Delicious Animals

Atlanta Fringe Festival marketing guru Chris Alonzo snuck in and snapped this quick video of last night's Queen of Delicious Animals. This is an excerpt from the Avian Bowl story, and unfortunately, it only goes downhill from here (the anecdote, not the show. The show is an expression of the triumph of the human spirit, the redneck-with-a-knife encounter just doesn't go well).

Labels: , ,