He Unpacked the Bag
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Early Bird Membership Special $70.00

(good through May 31st)

Benefits of Membership:

  • One ticket to The Amish Project, Dancing and Lughnasa and Bosnian/American
  • Discounted tickets to All is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914
  • Free tickets to Fontbonne University Theatre Department shows
  • No credit card processing fees
  • Free admission to special events

 

An Invitation Out by Shualee Cook

April 17 - May 3, 2015

General Admission $30.00
Students/Seniors(65+) $25.00

Thursdays - Saturdays at 8:00 PM
Sundays at 2:00 PM

Group rates available!

 
 

Mustard Seed Reads at Left Bank Books

...with Shualee Cook

April 29th at 7:30 PM

Ready Player One

By Ernest Cline

In the year 2044, reality is an ugly place.The only time teenage Wade Watts really feels alive is when he's jacked into the virtual utopia known as the OASIS. Wade's devotedhis life to studying the puzzles hidden within this world's digital confines—puzzles that are based on their creator's obsession with the pop culture of decades past and that promise massive power and fortune to whoever can unlock them. But when Wade stumbles upon the first clue, he finds himself beset by playerswilling to kill to take this ultimate prize. The race is on, and if Wade's going to survive, he'll have to win—and confront the real world he's always been so desperate to escape.

Super Sad True Love Story

by Gary Shteyngart

In the near future, America is crushed by a financial crisis and our patient Chinese creditors may just be ready to foreclose on the whole mess. Then Lenny Abramov, son of an Russian immigrant janitor and ardent fan of “printed, bound media artifacts” (aka books), meets Eunice Park, an impossibly cute Korean American woman with a major in Images and a minor in Assertiveness. Could falling in love redeem a planet falling apart?

Click here to purchase books at 20% off regular price!

Auditions

Mustard Seed Theatre announces general auditions forThe Amish Project and Dancing at Lughnasa to be held on April 18 between 1-3 pm.  Roles are available for 6 women and 3 men (show details below).  Auditions and callbacks will be held in the Fine Arts Theatre at Fontbonne University; directions to the theatre are available at www.mustardseedtheatre.com.     

For actors who have NOT previously worked for MST, please call Jane at 314-401-8771 to make an appointment.  If auditioning for Dancing at Lughnasa only, please prepare a contemporary dramatic monologue.  Women auditioning for both shows should prepare two sharply contrasting contemporary dramatic monologues with a smooth transition between the monologues. All actors should bring two headshots/resumes to the audition.

Actors who HAVE previously worked for MST and are interested in being considered for these shows, please send an email with current phone number to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  Actors will be invited to callbacks at the discretion of the director.  Callbacks will be held May 2, 1-4 pm. 

The Amish Project runs August 28 – September 13, 2015, directed by Deanna Jent.  Written by Jessica Dickey, this one-woman show is a fictional exploration of the Nickel Mines schoolhouse shooting in an Amish community, and the path of forgiveness and compassion forged in its wake.  The actress plays eight unique roles which range from young female students to the male shooter to a Hispanic teen who works at a local store.  

Dancing at Lughnasarun February 5 – 21, 2016, directed by Gary Wayne Barker.  Set in Donegal, Ireland in 1936, the play explores the tension between dogma and free choice in the lives of five sisters and their brother, a priest recently returned from service in Africa.

Characters:

Father Jack (50's) --  gentle, elder brother of the sisters. Left home as a young man to work as a missionary in Uganda.   Returns home confused and sick.   Perhaps has strayed from strict Catholicism, professing admiration for pagan beliefs of Africa.

Kate Mundy (40-50) -- eldest of the Mundy sisters and behaves as a mother figure. As a schoolteacher, she is the only wage-earner.  Fiercely devout Catholic.   Stern but loving.

Maggie Mundy (35-45) -- tom-boyish and chief family homemaker.   Fun-loving, defusing tension with humor.  Both challenger and confidante to Kate.

Agnes Mundy (35-45) -- quiet and contemplative, knitting gloves while also helping to keep the house in order. Silently infatuated with Gerry.  Protective guardian of Rose.

Rose Mundy (30-40)  --  behaves much younger than her years, due to a developmental disability.   Open and loving, yet vulnerable.  Very close with Agnes with whom she knits gloves to sell in the town.

Chris Mundy (25-35) --  the youngest of the Mundy sisters.  Unmarried mother of Michael.  Wrestles with both optimism and depression concerning on/off relationship with Gerry.

Gerry Evans (30-35) --  charming father of Michael.  Smooth-talking and fun.  Traveling salesman.   Unreliable in support of Chris and Michael.

Michael Evans (30's-50's) --  acts as adult narrator of this memory play, not only dictating the action but revealing the futures of the other characters. Childhood self is alluded to by other characters, while the adult Michael speaks lines as the boy from the side. 

  Many of you know that I have an 18 year-old son, Andy, who has severe autism – it was the subject of my play Falling, which premiered last August here at Mustard Seed Theatre.

Andy plans his life. Far in advance. He has 8 stacks of 8 videos each, and not only can he tell you the names of all the movies in each stack (in order from top to bottom) but he can tell you on which day he is planning to watch them.

See, life is pretty scary when your brain is wired like his – so knowing what’s ahead is a comfort.

During the week, when he goes to his summer program, he takes 2 DVD’s and 2 videos with him. The stacks of 8 videos are for the weekend, or special days when there’s no other activity.

So imagine my dismay when I came down last Tuesday morning to find that he’d packed his bag with 8 videos and was ready to embark on a “special day” outing. I assured him that it was Summer Program day, and he gently walked me to the calendar, where I saw what had happened. I had written “Summer Program” on Monday and then drawn an arrow pointing through the days until Friday. It was perfectly clear to me, of course, but Andy interpreted it to mean that he only went to the summer program on Monday.

When I explained to him what had happened, and wrote “Summer Program” on Tuesday, he took a pen and crossed it out. (“No fair changing the rules,” I imagined him thinking.) He was getting agitated, and my husband Steve and I began to gear ourselves up for an aggressive incident. I took him to his room, wrote out a note explaining the schedule for the week, handed it to him, and said “Read that and think about it. I’ll be outside the door.”

I closed the door. Steve and I braced ourselves for the screams that would start, indicating his frustration and an explosive meltdown.

It was quiet.

After a minute or so of quiet, there came a small knock on the door. We jumped.

“Mom will open the door,” Andy said.

“Yes I will,” I replied. “And then what will you do?”

“Andy will go to Summer Program.”

Suspicious looks were exchanged. “Is he setting us up … we’ll open the door and he’ll come out swinging?”

“Andy, how do you feel about going to Summer Program,” I asked cautiously.

“Happy.”

I opened the door. A smiling face greeted me. He walked down the stairs and went to his bag packed with the 8 videos.

He unpacked the bag.

He UNPACKED the bag.

(Here is where those of you who know a person with autism are doing your own amazed happy dance, saying, “He unpacked the bag? He unpacked the bag!”)

He repacked for Summer Program. Where he went and had a great day.

! ! !

Most parents watch for milestones like going to Kindergarten, getting a driver’s license.

Extreme Parents (like us) watch for the day he “unpacks the bag.” He met an obstacle in his path, and instead of doing all in his power to destroy the obstacle, he changed his path.

And do I know why? Maybe the new medication that has helped him focus and think more clearly? Maybe the raging hormones of his early teens are waning? Maybe it was just time for the brain to mature that little bit more?

So after days of simply being excited about this amazing event (or non-event, if you think of it a certain way), I began to realize that there’s a lesson for me in all of this.

To unpack my bag. Metaphorically.

It’s the lesson Tami finally learned in FALLING – that sometimes you have to let go. Of the plan. Of the dream. Of the battle for control.

Sometimes I just need to unpack and repack and face the new plan with a smile.

Mustardseed Blog

So This Is A Thing That's Happening Now


by Shualee Cook

I just checked my computer for verification, and it tells me that I created the document that eventually became An Invitation Out on Wednesday, December 9th, 2009. Which means I've been working on this script in some form or other for a little over five years now, hoping that one day it would fully exist. See, just like a tadpole is not yet a frog, a script is not yet a play. There is still more growing to do, a few more appendages to acquire. You can dot the last i, type out the final stage direction, but you didn't write those words to be read. You wrote them to be seen and heard, and for that you need other people.

Deanna Jent read one of the earliest drafts of my script back in 2011. At the time, it was precisely one bazillion and eight pages long, and full of a great many ideas that were quite interesting in theory, but pretty much a mess in practice. Yet even in that state, she saw something in the sprawl, believed in it, and decided to take a chance on me.

In the summer of 2013, I had been working on a new draft, trying to solve its very problematic ending, but I'd essentially been working in a vacuum, and had reached the end of where I could take the script alone in a room by myself. And lo and behold, an email from Deanna showed up in my inbox. She was teaching a playwriting seminar, and had someone drop out at the last minute. Would I possibly be interested in filling the empty slot, continuing to work on the play in the company of other playwrights? 8 weeks later, I walked out of that classroom with a completely new ending and a tighter focus on what the story was. Deanna said she might be interested in producing it for Mustard Seed Theatre if I'd be open to making some more revisions. I kept at it, and in early 2014, I got the official good news: the play I'd been working to see onstage for what seemed like ages would be a part of Mustard Seed's 2014/2015 season. At the very end of it. So, four years of waiting down, one to go.

For most of the last year, this upcoming production hasn't seemed quite real. I'd spent so much time thinking about that it became more of a fuzzy idea that people would ask me about occasionally, a theory rather than a tangible fact. But then, early this February, we had the first cast read-thru. I entered the theater, and there it was - the tables pushed together with clusters of chairs around it, the stack of scripts, the pencils, the cups of coffee - all the signs of a rehearsal process. Suddenly, there were tech people talking about how on earth to make the things I'd written actually work, the sounds of actors chatting in the lobby. Then Nicole came in - an actor and good friend who's been in both of the other shows of mine that have been performed so far. On the way to her seat, she gave me a huge hug, and just like that, it didn't seem like only a script anymore. A play was coming together. With my arms around her, it finally flashed through my mind. "So this is a thing that is happening now."

March 24th was our first rehearsal. Before the actors arrived, Maggy and Katie - our S.M. and A.D. - snuck me into the theater where our crew were already hard at work on the set. It seemed gigantic. Even in pieces, it was already grander than I had imagined. I just stood there and stared at it all until Maggy asked me what I thought, bringing me back to lucidity. All I could stutter out was "All of this is here because of something I wrote down on a piece of paper once." The implications of that seemed enormous, but Maggy and Katie just smiled.

A script is not yet a play. You can dot the last i, type out the final stage direction, but it doesn't become real until other people pour in their talents, their time, their passion even when it's very difficult work. "This is a thing that is happening now." But it doesn't happen alone.

 

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