The Middle Part - a subway ride
  • Membership
  • 2015 Summer Playwriting Class

2012-2013 season rotator

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

 

Mustard Seed Theatre Lab Summer 2015 class: 

New Play Development

Playwrights, actors and directors will participate in the development and workshop process of creating new plays.  The class will culminate with a public showing of scenes developed by the class.  Slots open for 4-8 playwrights, 4-8 directors and 6-10 actors 

Teacher/Facilitator: Deanna Jent

June 1 – July 20, 2015 

Mondays 6:00 – 10:00 pm
Public showing:  Monday July 27, 7:00 pm

FEE:   $800
Also offered as a 3-credit hour undergraduate or graduate class through Fontbonne University

TO APPLY:

  • Send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Indicate whether you want to participate primarily as an actor, director or playwright.
  • Playwrights should also send scenes/play.

 

(Deanna reports on FALLING in NYC)

This first week of rehearsals has been amazing and emotional. I spent time sharing with the cast and staff some videos of young Andy, working so hard to learn how to communicate. They read the play and asked thoughtful questions. We had honest conversations about the challenges of love, faith, family, art. Now they’re on the journey of discovering these characters in action.

Our apartment is within walking distance from the theatre, which is great. Everything we need (and much that we don’t!) is within a few blocks radius. On Thursday, however, I had to attend several meetings in mid-town (see how I speak “New York” now?), so I did my first solo subway rides. Mostly success – I always got on the right train, but once went the wrong direction. (Sounds like a description of the artistic process – we’re always on the right train, we just have to switch directions sometimes!)

Perhaps I’ll soon become blasé about the variety of people you encounter on a subway – but not this week. I’m pretty sure I heard at least 8 distinct languages in just those four rides. The teenaged girl in a formal prom gown sits next to the construction worker carrying his dusty helmet and metal coffee thermos. They don’t speak to each other, but I like to imagine conversations, little plays.

We’re moving into the middle part of the process, where daily 6-hour rehearsals rub some of the “shiny” off the experience. Even though Lori (the director) and I have both done this play before – this is a new show, and we all still need to do the same hard work as before. The actors are asking smart questions about certain lines, working to understand actions. They’re discovering what this production will be, and in doing so, are helping me see the story even more clearly.

We’re on the subway. We’ve left our starting point, and are headed for our destination: September 27 preview performances. I’m looking forward to the unique journey!

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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