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We’re Hiring!

We’re adding a new member to the TEAM!

The General Manager will work in close collaboration with Artistic Director Rachel Chavkin and Producing Director Manda Martin in handling the day-to-day operations of the company.  Position will be focused on financial, contract, and office management, with additional fundraising and development responsibilities.  Position is part-time, with opportunity for growth.

FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT

  • Support the Producing Director in regular financial management and budgeting.
  • Work with Producing Director and Artistic Director to create and track operating and individual production budgets.
  • Perform weekly financial functions, including payroll, cutting checks, accounts payable and receivable, managing and reconciling all bank accounts and credit cards, and tracking cash flow;.
  • With support and oversight from Producing Director, record all financial transactions into Quickbooks and maintain orderly and accurate financial records.
  • Work with Producing Director and Auditor during yearly financial audit and 990.
  • Prepare monthly, yearly, quarterly, and other financial and operating reports for the Finance Committee, the Board of Directors, and funders as necessary.

OFFICE MANAGEMENT

  • Correspond and coordinate with vendors; negotiate contracts for employee benefits, insurances, maintenance, and other services as needed.
  • Order supplies, marketing collateral, and office equipment as needed
  • With Producing Director, ensure that computers, devices, and network are running properly and efficiently, including Archive and Database strategy and management.
  • With Producing Director and company members, maintain an up to date inventory of all company-owned equipment and materials.
  • Assist with supervision of interns.

PRODUCTION AND MARKETING SUPPORT

  • Support Producing Director in negotiating and executing all artist contracts and collaboration agreements, and union agreements.
  • Maintain relationships with artists unions.
  • On an as needed basis, offer production and marketing support to Artistic Director, Producing Director, and company members/production staff.

DEVELOPMENT AND FUNDRAISING SUPPORT

  • Assist in maintaining up to date individual and institutional fundraising records.
  • Support AD and PD with all grant applications and reporting, including financial reporting for all institutional and local, state, and national government funders.

QUALIFICATIONS

The ideal candidate will:

  • Be self-motivated, organized, collaborative, and a strong team player.
  • Have experience in administration at a cultural organization, GM office, or comparable business experience.
  • Have knowledge of budgeting and accounting practices.
  • Have experience in fundraising and marketing.
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills.
  • Strong computer skills, including: Microsoft Excel, Word. Basic knowledge of Quickbooks is also an asset.

COMPENSATION

This is a salaried, part-time position. Salary is $250/week for two days each week; weekly schedule is flexible in consultation with Producing Director.

TO APPLY: Send cover letter and resume with three professional references to Manda Martin, Producing Director at Manda@theTEAMplays.org. The TEAM is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

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2013: A Year In Review

Believe it or not, the TEAM turned NINE this month!

As we end the year (and celebrate our official December anniversary!), we’re taking a moment to look back at a whirlwind year, and mark the achievements and adventures of 2013.

January: The TEAM was selected for the 2013 class of Creative Capital grantees for Primer for a Failed Superpower.

AUS HK collage

February/March: 

In collaboration with Sojourn Theatre Company, we presented a workshop production of Waiting for You on the Corner Of (13th and Walnut) as part of Kansas City Rep’s First Page New Work Festival.

On our first tour to Australia and Asia, Mission Drift tours to sold-out performances in the Perth International Arts Festival and Hong Kong Arts Festival.

“With [Mission Drift], the TEAM takes both its thematic ambitions and theatrical skills to giddy heights…I have never seen anything better than Mission Drift in the theatre…It has everything I think theatre should have, and does everything I believe theatre should do.” The West Australian

“it sweeps you up, momentarily converting you with its ambitious reach and raw energy.” The Australian

May: Residency at Playmakers Rep in Chapel Hill, NC for early development on a new project with Taylor Mac.

MD London collage

June:

Mission Drift performs for four weeks in London at the National Theatre’s temporary Shed space, to unanimous critical acclaim, packed houses, and resounding positive (and positively profane) tweets.

Oberon Books publishes Mission Drift, our first published play. (want a copy?)

The Stage streams The Team Makes a Play for a single day to over 1,000 viewers.

We taught our workshop, “Devising Within A Democracy”, to students at the National Theatre Studio and Central School of Speech and Drama.

We began work on a new collaboration with the National Theatre of Scotland, inspired by the Scottish Enlightenment, the legacy of Adam Smith on American capitalism, and Scotland’s own looming referendum on independence.

Road trip collage

July:

Rachel, Libby, Kristen and film crew drive for 8 days from the Badlands, South Dakota to Graceland in Memphis, capturing footage for RoosevElvis all the way. (Read the road journal here.)

Matty, Rachel, Libby, and Jess attended the Creative Capital 2013 Artist Retreat in Williamstown, MA and presented Primer for a Failed Superpower. (Watch our pitch here!)

August: RoosevElvis in residence at The Drama League.

RoosevElvis collage

October/November:

RoosevElvis world premiere at The Bushwick Starr, Brooklyn to widespread praise:

“[RoosevElvis is] the company’s most intimate work that I’ve seen, and also its warmest…a lot fresher than most new plays you’ll see this season.” – Ben Brantley, New York Times

“A stirring, absurd, and grandly human historical-cosplay road-trip fantasia.” – Village Voice

“More buoyant than theatrical material has any right to be…The audience laughs—not with recognition or self-satisfaction, but with the purest kind of astonished delight.” – Time Out NY

And this also happened.

We released our first ever series of digital short films, which received over 1,500 views (and counting!).

December: We turned 9 years old! RoosevElvis and Mission Drift are listed as top shows of 2013 on THREE continents (see here, here, here, and here)! Boo-to the-yah!

We couldn’t have made it this far without the support of so many friends, family, colleagues, and fans around the world. We’re grateful for all of you, and for another fantastic year. We’ll see you in 2014!

Love,

the TEAM

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TagTEAM: Jess interviews Jake

Each month (ish) for the next year, TEAM members are taking turns interviewing a fellow artist in the company. In our first post, Jess Almasy interviews Jake Margolin about joining the TEAM, meeting his husband, and making art about America.

Jake and Jess interview

Jess: pls state your name for the record: :)

Jake: Jacob Orion Margolin

when did you join the TEAM?

I joined the TEAM for Particularly in the Heartland which I think was 2005.  I was in transit from somewhere (California maybe?) and because Rachel was in Edinburgh with Shocks and Give Up! Start Over! she let me stay at her place in Inwood.  When she returned from Scotland we got to talking about the next TEAM project and I got involved.

what made you want to join?

The TEAM was a bunch of my best friends, and I was psyched to be included on a project that they were all working on.  

what was your first TEAM project?

Officially I guess it was Particularly in the Heartland, although we created HOWL originally in college and that later became a TEAM piece.  While I know that the TEAM started in 2004 with Shocks and Give Up! Start Over! (neither of which I was involved in) it has always felt to me like the company was a continuation of the work that many of us were doing together at NYU, specifically starting with HOWL which was our first foray into devising work collaboratively.

what was that like?

What was Heartland like?  Well, one really big thing that happened with Heartland happened towards the end of the first development process.  We were looking for a set designer and Rachel had seen a bunch of things that a guy named Nick Vaughan had been designing up at Columbia (where Rachel was going to grad school) and she invited him on to design Heartland.  The first day that I walked into that basement rehearsal room at Shapiro Hall I was smitten, and Nick and I got married almost exactly two years later. It’s hard to remember how it felt making Heartland  . . . I remember at times thinking that we were really coming up with something new and really touching the pulse of something, and I remember at times feeling like we were just barely keeping our heads above water and just kinda muddling through it all.  There was an extraordinary hours long “open session” at a Chashama space – an abandoned bank in Queensboro Plaza – where such wonderful things were created like the Sarah Springer/Audience Q&A and a wild ship ride on rolling office chairs (the latter did not make it into the final production . . .) 

Jake Margolin and Kristen Sieh in Particularly in the Heartland, 2006.

Jake Margolin and Kristen Sieh in Particularly in the Heartland, 2006.

 

And then the piece ran for a long time and we continued to develop it for years.  There was staying in the Salvation Army Campus in London (which was actually very beautiful) and long bus rides with show laundry.  There was extraordinary press in major newspapers which felt so edifying.  There was the tour through the UK with such highs as spring-time in Kendall with lambs bopping around on pristine fields and such lows as the Peckham Lodge in London.

It was my first experience of being taken seriously as an artist by people who I didn’t know – both people like presenters and press as well as people like audience members who didn’t know me from Adam.  And that was huge, and I suspect is a large part of why I have continued in the arts for the last decade.

why do most of the roles you play right now get named “Chris”? :)

Just to clarify a bit, the last few roles that I have created for the TEAM are named Chris.  That started with Mission Drift – I think the point of that name was that it felt so normally American.  Kind of like “Jake” or “Mike”.  And then I’ve been trying to compartmentalize the various different strains of my work and to step back a bit and look at them as continuations of a line of inquiry.  So my work with Nick (we make installation art together) has all been organized under the umbrella of “A Marriage . . . ” a series of installations that deal with how our same sex marriage fits into the iconography of the American Dream.  And with the TEAM I wanted to start looking at all of the roles that I created for it as different attacks at the same question of “what is it to be an American right now” (which is of course basically the TEAM’s mission statement anyway) and specifically a continued exploration of “American Masculinity”.   I also don’t think this fundamentally means anything – I am a dude making theater about America, so obviously everything I make in that context is an exploration of American Masculinity.  So maybe this is just semantic, but I want to be looking at my contributions to the TEAM as a single body of work, and naming all the characters I make “Chris” feels like an overt way of doing that.  I don’t think it really changes what I make any more than calling all of my visual art “A MARRIAGE” changes what I make there, but it provides a frame through with to look at all of that work.  Maybe someday I’ll make a retrospective catalog of Chris.  Like Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego, or something. 

what is your interest in your independent career? what are you working on?

My independent career is making visual art with Nick – “visual” in a pretty broad sense in that it incorporates every media we can get our hands on and performance.  In that work I’m increasing interested in how to be engaging directly with the subjects of the work.  For example in A MARRIAGE: 1 (SUBURBIA), our installation at HERE last spring (that featured a series of stunning vignettes written by TEAM member and interviewer Jessica Almasy), we did a documentary style series of interviews with icons of the downtown queer performance world and teens involved in LGBTQ issues in which we had them talk about gay marriage, suburbia, nostalgia, and the mainstreaming of queer culture.  I loved making that.  When the show went to North Adams, MA in September we used 20 students at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts in a day long performance action in which we read the 13 days of oral arguments from the California “Prop 8” case into clear plastic bags, capturing that breath in an enormous sculpture of text. 

PERRY V. SCHWARZENEGGER: TEXT AS A VOLUME OF BREATH, part of A MARRIAGE: 1 (SUBURBIA) at HERE, 2013

PERRY V. SCHWARZENEGGER: TEXT AS A VOLUME OF BREATH, part of A MARRIAGE: 1 (SUBURBIA) at HERE, 2013

We’re currently working on A MARRIAGE: 2 (WEST-ER) which is all about the West and explores the gay history of the Wild West, a part of that history that I grew up knowing nothing about and through researching this show, am increasingly excited about.  I didn’t know that the 19th century West was full of queers.  I always bought into the hollywood version of the hetero cowboy.  The first parts of A MARRIAGE: 2 (WEST-ER) will go up at the Invisible Dog Art Center in March and April of 2014.

how has working with the TEAM fed or factored into this work?

That’s a great question, and I don’t know the answer. Outside of my work with Nick, The TEAM has been the main place that I have worked creatively and thought about aesthetics and narrative and political art.  So I can only assume that everything that I think artistically is formed in so many ways by my work with the TEAM.  Practically, I know everything I know about the administrative side of the arts from the TEAM. And the support that we’ve gotten from TEAM members has been huge, and no small part of what has kept us making work.  It is of course hard to distinguish what of that is “the TEAM” and what of that is that many of our best friends are members of the TEAM. 

what makes you interested in the TEAM today?

I am so interested in how the company evolves as its members continue to pursue and excel at ventures outside of the TEAM.  I am thrilled by how the process of making the plays changes as the members themselves change.

what do you consider your interest in America / making art about America?

I think I use the idea that I am making “art about America” as a way of acknowledging that my world view is particular to being an American.  By which I just mean that everything I write or create is necessarily about America because that is my context.  I think that similarly to how white people often mistake our interpretation of the world as the neutral or universal perception (relegating everyone else’s to minority identity politics or something) it is easy to fall into the trap of thinking that the American view of history or the current world is somehow the standard view.  Everything I make is similarly through the lens of being a gay white man, not because I think it is better or anything, but because it is who I am. I’m reading Samantha Powers’ A PROBLEM FROM HELL about the American response (or lack thereof) to genocide in the world in the last hundred years. I am so struck by how much we continue to behave in the same way as a country.  That fundamentally we don’t evolve much.

as you look back on the last ten years, how have you changed as an artist, or alternately how have you strengthened your committed ways of being, with or without knowing it?

I’m not sure that I am more committed in my ways of being now than I was 10 years ago.  I have more, and deeper doubts about being an artist than I did 10 years ago.

One way that I have changed is that I think I’ve grown from really trying to do things “right” according to some perceived structure of what “good art” is to really trying to find my own voice and be true to my own agenda as an artist.

where do you see yourself in 3 years OR what would you be really happy to imagine?

I’m trying to become comfortable with the fact that my projections for what I’ll be doing in the future have proven consistently wrong.  I hope that in 3 years I am proud of whatever I am doing and that it is adding some good to the world.  I also hope I’m making a bit more money and have kids.  But three years is really very soon.  It takes three years for the TEAM to make a play.  It takes three years for Nick and I to make an installation.

what have you learned from other TEAM members?

I think it is impossible to codify that into a single answer.  It’s like wondering what I have learned from my family.  Everything ranging from the mundane of learning how to create a computer file to the big things of learning how to function ethically in the world.


Nick & Jake’s A MARRIAGE: 2 (WEST-ER) will be presented at The Invisible Dog Art Center in Brooklyn March 8 – April 12 2014. For more information, visit their website at nickandjakestudio.com.

We Like to Party.

closing party blank

Stick on your sideburns! Come croon and swoon with RoosevElvis one last time for a hip-shakin’ celebration!

Join the TEAM to celebrate the closing night of RoosevElvis, their critically-acclaimed production running now through November 3rd at The Bushwick Starr. Following our final performance, join us onstage and on the roof for a fantastic final hurrah, featuring raffle prizes, Mt. Rushmore photo ops, rooftop views, and (always) exceptional company.

…Did we mention admission includes all the beer and wine you can drink?

Sunday, November 3rd

Performance at 5pm
Please note: tickets to the party do not include admission to the performance.
Buy tickets to the performance

Party at 7pm
Tickets are $15 in advance, $20 at the door (cash only)
Buy advance tickets to the party

All proceeds benefit the TEAM.

The Bushwick Starr
207 Starr Street, Brooklyn [between Irving and Wyckoff]

Raffle prizes include:

Atlantic Theater Membership and wine vouchers;
Four lessons with vocal coach Danielle Amedeo;
A print by Jake Margolin and Nick Vaughan;
A pair of tickets to see Cheri at Signature Theatre;
Dinner for 4 at Riverpark and a private tour of Riverpark Farm;
A custom made cake by Kristen Sieh;
A “Treat Yourself” basket;
Two bottles of G’Vine boutique gin;
Two, 1-hour audiobook tutorial sessions with Jessica Almasy;
A stitch + bitch knitting lesson with the head of sweater design at American Eagle;
A personal investing lesson with Will Hunter and copy of The Little Book that Beats the Markets by Joel Greenblatt;
A bottle of wine and Coq Au Vin cooking lesson with Libby and Jaime King.

And more still to be announced! If you can’t join us but still want to enter the raffle, absentee raffle tickets can be purchased here. Just shoot us an email with the items you’d like to enter to win!

RoosevElvis Reviews Are In!

RoosevElvis is far too empathetic a play to lend itself to cold deconstruction…[It’s] the company’s most intimate work that I’ve seen, and also its warmest…a lot fresher than most new plays you’ll see this season.

“…researched to the teeth, [RoosevElvis] offers a spirited and insightful commentary on two archetypes of American masculinity, while finding teasing ambiguities within both that suggest that machismo is a shaky existential choice.”

– Ben Brantley, New York Times

“..More buoyant than theatrical material has any right to be…RoosevElvis‘s velocity sweeps us into gorgeous, buoyant nonsense without our noticing…The audience laughs—not with recognition or self-satisfaction, but with the purest kind of astonished delight.”

“This glorious show is strong precisely because it focuses, at long last, on individuals. It fully, totally revels in King’s gravelly, bourbon-soaked tones; it exploits to the last degree Sieh’s titanic comic gifts…Some astonishing scenes, several the best I’ve seen this year, are the result.”

– Helen Shaw, Time Out New York

“a stirring, absurd, and grandly human historical-cosplay road-trip fantasia…a big-hearted and affecting examination of that most American of faculties: imagining yourself as bigger, grander, and more, no matter how little you might be.”

Village Voice

The most awesome buddy comedy in American history…in typical TEAM fashion, it explores so much more, from the limits of hero worship to the impossible standards of masculinity in America, and all with thrilling athleticism and unfailing intelligence.”

– Theatermania

Command performance[s] by King and Sieh who carry the whole production by weaving in and out of their characters and counter-characters seamlessly…[they] deftly spar across the stage through historically biographical reflections and witty one liners.”

– Grace Moon, velvetparkmedia

Photo by Sue Kessler.

Updates from the Road II: RoosevElvis

Here’s the second installment from assistant director Kevin Hourigan’s RoosevElvis road journal.

Read about the first half of the trip here. You can see more pictures from the trip in our Facebook album.

elvis and alice hair salon

Day 5
We have hit the height of our sleep deprivation. Accordingly, we have been operating heavy machinery, shooting guns, and driving for long stretches. We have reached the point where the boundary between wakefulness and sleep has blurred. The benefit is that we have been able to do an immense amount of dreaming in the daytime.

Our pursuits have been as follows:

We woke up and drove to Lincoln, Nebraska to do a shoot at a meat processing plant. Libby has set us up with a whole series of contacts to get some really incredible material shot in the Lincoln area (her hometown). When we arrived at the meat processing facility, we were greeted with a warm welcome by Larry, the owner of the establishment, and his daughter Lisa, an old friend of Libby’s. He gave us complete access to the floor. We were bowled over by his eagerness to support us and our project.

Several of the meat workers were in several of our shots. They were tremendously gracious in teaching Libby how to use the machines and in diverting their workflow to accommodate our shoot. When we wrapped, we looked for our keys to the car, and Lisa handed Libby a pair of keys encased in a vacuum sealed packaging. It was a funny prank.

After a short stop for burritos, we headed to Lisa’s salon, Lason. Again, we had the location mostly to ourselves. There was one other stylist working in the salon, Jason, who answered all of our questions. We wanted to use Jason in the shoot, but he was working with clients, so I was cast as the hair dresser. We ran a little over at the salon, but Jason was very lovely and let us stay after he left. Once we wrapped, we made a mad dash to Lisa’s house to beat Sunset.

We arrived at Lisa’s at the height of magic hour. We entered, and Libby was reunited with her four best friends from Nebraska in the golden light of sunset. Lisa’s neighbor gave us a lesson in gun safety and stood by as the ladies fired off. Turns out both were a pretty good shot. We wrapped with Ann, alone, just as the sun set.

We retired to Lisa’s house where a full spread of barbecue food awaited us. Skewers of meat and shrimp, grilled chicken, potato salad and coleslaw. It was a midwestern feast. We stayed on for an hour or so, ate, and took a moment to relax before heading back to Grand Island.

Day 6

We rose early to catch the light of the sunrise. We shot behind Libby’s cabin in Grand Island, in the brush surrounding the dried bed of the Platt River. It was a serene and almost surreal location – very beautiful. We even got some shots of Kristen kayaking pretty expertly across the nearby pond.

We finished up the shoot and went back to the cabin to attempt to wake up and move out of Grand Island. First step: tick check. Results: four ticks found. All safely removed. Luckily, Nebraska does not host deer ticks, which are the carriers of Lyme disease, but I will make sure to get the necessary incident reports.

We packed up and hit the road. Before leaving Nebraska, we needed one last shot: a long shot of the women eating at the diner. We went to Coney Isand, a local diner famous for their hot dogs. While Libby and Kristen shot this long scene, one of the waitresses told us about the evil spirits and haunting she encountered in the Badlands. As was the case with all the other locations we shot, all of the staff at the restaurant were incredibly gracious, sweet, and so supportive. We stuffed ourselves with hotdogs and milkshakes and then hit the road for good.

We made it as far as we could, stopping only a few times to switch drivers, or to get food or gas. As the sun started to set, we sought the refuge of a motel. Our criteria: the shittiest, most dilapidated motel we could find, with a romantic little door frame which we could shoot both from the outside and the inside. We found our dream in the Cortes Motel.

There was an almost fully naked obese man sitting practically pressed up against his window in the motel room next to us. Luckily, I think our videographer was able to avoiding framing him in any of our external shots, though we considered his enthusiasm a good blessing for our project.

We wrapped around 2:00am and went to bed. The road to Memphis awaits us.

Day 7

We arose yesterday morning and quickly packed our bags, eager to complete the final leg of our pilgrimage to Graceland, the mecca.

We zipped through Missouri and Arkansas, stopping only occasionally for gas and bathroom/snack breaks. We were surprised by the amount of Pro-Life propaganda we encountered on the road. The scenery was otherwise quite pleasant.

As we neared the Arkansas border, we passed through Mammoth Spring, a gorgeous little spa town, and a honky-tonk specialties store sitting right on the Arkansas border. We found a restaurant built in a converted gas station serving some pretty intense Southern food, so we figured it was a good match. We pulled over to grab a quick meal.

When we got back on the road, we filmed some extended driving scenes with Elvis/Teddy. The acrobatics involved in this shoot were among the most impressive physical feats of the week, both for the level of physical skill required and for the sheer disregard for the law that some of these activities demonstrated. Libby spent some of the trip totally backwards, leaning on the dashboard, and at other times, she or Kristen shared the passenger seat with our videographer AND all of his camera equipment.

As we got closer to Memphis, we let Ann take the wheel, solo. We abandoned the front rows  of the car and rolled sound and video continuously as we approached Memphis. All sat in silence, with only the comforting sound of the GPSlady’s voice filling the car. This was the final leg of the journey. Next stop Graceland.

Before anyone realized it, we were driving through downtown Memphis. In no time, we were turning onto Elvis Presley Boulevard. We approached Graceland. No one could have expected the sight that greeted us. All along the sidewalk is a stone wall ranging from 4’-6’ high. It is clear that the wall has become a major sight of devotion, as every inch of the wall is covered in signatures, pictures, and love notes to the beloved Elvis Presley. The combination of the scale and humanity of this object was quite staggering to all of us.

Ann at wall

When the light faded, we went to Corky’s for some Memphis barbecue. We had a delicious meal and a wonderful waitress.

We arrived to stay at David and Rose’s house around 9:30. It was a beautiful home, very generously prepared for us. Rose made us drinks and peach pie, and sat and talked with us as we swam in the pool. It was very nice to swim. It was a relatively early night, as everyone was very excited to get a substantial amount of sleep.

Day 8

We woke up around 9:00 and hit the road to Graceland. This time, we went inside.

We were warned that we would most likely be underwhelmed by the mansion. We expected something kind of small and gaudy, not like Disneyland but also extravagant in its own right. Aspects of these expectations were fulfilled to various degrees, but we were moved and surprised by the way you could feel Elvis in the house as a peculiar, young kid. So much of the house was incredibly bizarre – the jungle room, the billiard room – and it was clear that only he could have invented such a domain.

After saying goodbye to Graceland, we headed over to Beale street to have our last meal on the road. We had some barbecue at a restaurant with some fantastic musicians playing outside.

We went to the airport and packed our bags.

It was sad to say goodbye to the journey, but there is so much in store with this piece in the very near future. It will be good to head into rehearsals, especially with the incredibly strong foundation for the piece that we have continued to build over the last week. It was a lot of great work, a lot of laughter, a lot of love. It was a week of very bold, rich days. All of the people we encountered in our travels were absolutely lovely and helpful.

I feel so lucky to have been able to be a part of this trip. The work that I have witnessed has been on all fronts utterly inspirational.

High fives

 

Updates from the Road: RoosevElvis

As you may have heard, our RoosevElvis team has been researching, writing, and filming while on an epic road trip from the Badlands to Graceland. Now midway through their journey, here’s an excerpt of assistant director Kevin Hourigan’s daily updates from the road.

You can see more pictures from the trip in our Facebook album.

Teddy jumping into pool

Day 1

Salutations from the road. I will be sending you updates as we venture forth. We’ve been having an amazing time in this truly gorgeous American terrain.

We began our voyage at 4am with a delayed flight and a missed connection, but rallied, quickly got to the airport, and got to South Dakota only a few hours later than we originally intended. Our videographer has been capturing material on the fly since the moment he left his apartment.

We spent a good portion of the day dealing with logistics and getting settled. (Picking up the RV, finding the campsite, figuring out how to plug the RV in…) We had a few substantial shoots yesterday, including in the meat aisle at Walmart. All were dismayed that despite Walmart’s epic selection of packaged meats, the employees did not know what a French press was when TEAM members were eager to purchase one. Luckily, our videographer’s camping French press saved us all.

Day 2

After a good night’s sleep, today was a very busy and highly productive day.

Highlights included:

  • A visit to Keystone, near Mount Rushmore, where Teddy and Elvis shopped, took pictures from “jail” and other tourist attractions, bought sodas, etc. They were a hit with the workers and tourists.
  • Revisited Mount Rushmore. While Elvis walked down to get a refund from the parking man at the memorial, Teddy explored and took notes on the local flora and fauna. Teddy and Elvis met up at the observation deck, where Teddy danced around onstage, and climbed some of the hill beneath the monument.
  • An RV safari to look for buffalo in Custer Park. We shot several sequences of material, including scenes with buffalo. First we found one buffalo and then we found a whole herd. We did shoots with both.
  • Footage of ALL of the eggs flying out of the fridge and breaking, and the ensuing cleanup, while driving the RV.

Day 3

Our day began with an early start. We all rose early to make a dash for the Badlands before it got too hot. We shot for about two hours, and then got rained out. During the rainstorm, we huddled in the RV and shot some interior scenes. After the rainstorm, we went back out and shot for a good four hours in the heat. Though sunburned, and though the sun caused us to hallucinate visions of Mount Rushmore, all pressed on in good spirits.

It is very possible that our RV campsite is secretly a front for a meth lab. Libby has begun an inquiry. Kevin found a man passed out on the floor of the bathroom last night who thought that sleeping in the bathroom would prevent him from being bitten by mosquitos. We will report with findings of the inquiry.

photo (5) Badlands

Day 4

Greetings from Grand Island, NE. Libby has graciously shepherded us to her cabin where we are staying for the next two nights.

Our day began on the campsite at 7:00am today. After a cleanup of the campsite and some delicious oil toast breakfast made by Rachel, we headed over to the pool at the campsite to do a shoot of the ladies in the water. Libby even donned a GoPro camera so that we could get underwater shots.

One of the other campers, perplexed, asked us, “Are you guys YouTubers?”

After shooting the pool, our intention was to head back to Wall Drug to get some interior shots. However, we had several roadblocks to deal with, most notably the fact that we needed to perform the dreaded task of flushing the RV. Rachel bravely stepped forward to tend to this Olympic feat. We quickly realized that the sewage hose had a hole in it, which certainly only made the task more horrific. As to be expected, Rachel complained not once. She did however, spend several long minutes washing her hands after the whole ordeal.

We then drove away from the meth lab campsite for good. Teddy’s soaked pants flapped out the window, hung on the mirror to dry, as we watched Circle 10 RV Campground fade on the horizon.

(Libby and I investigated. We no longer suspect that the campsite was an active meth lab – it’s just a popular hangout spot.)

We hit Wall Drug next. We got several amazing takes with some bizarrely joyful pieces of taxidermy. We asked the manager if it would be possible to use a restricted area to shoot, and we instantly had a new best friend. He even gave us each a complimentary meal at the end of our visit. It was a very sweet display of kindness.

About 100 miles in, Rachel asked us to pull off to stretch a leg, and we accidentally stumbled onto one of the best, most magical locations we have seen yet. The town was Okaton, SD. Population 36. A few dilapidated houses, a crumbling mill, a closed gas station, and a facsimile “Ghost Town” replica attraction which has since turned into an actual ghost town. The irony is only too acute; the town is beautiful.

Eventually, after a break for gas, a Subway meal, and lots of different car DJ’s, we made it safely to Libby’s wonderful cabin in Grand Island. We are so thrilled and so grateful for Libby and her mother’s hospitality.

More soon!

You can read the second installment of Kevin’s road journal here.

Our Favorite #MissionDrift Tweets

Before we arrived in London, the hashtag #MissionDrift was more likely to turn up conversation about, you know, actual mission drift. Of the organizational variety.

As of June 5, however, we’ve witnessed a complete and utter hashtag takeover by our audiences at the National Theatre Shed, with overwhelmingly positive (and often profanely so) comments about the show. Here’s a collection of some of our favorites thus far (in truth, they all make us blush):

The RoosevElvis Campaign is ON: Help us get from the Badlands to Graceland!

So we have just launched the fundraising campaign for our new duet, RoosevElvis, featuring Libby and Kristen. We are thrilled to be headlining the Bushwick Starr’s 2013-14 season, which will also mark our 1st-ever World Premiere on American soil!

This fundraising campaign is vital to the success of the show. We need you to help support the design (conceived by Nick, Matty, and Kristen making a grand return to costume design, PLUS Andrew Schneider – collaborating with the TEAM for the first time). And even MORE importantly, we need your support TO PAY OUR ARTISTS. This work feels unlike anything we’ve made before; it’s our first small ensemble show since Give Up! Start Over! It’s slippery, like an onion skin, with intimate and sad and hilarious performances by these two extraordinary actresses at its core.

About the show: More fever dream than biography, RoosevElvis examines gender and appetite—both literal and spiritual—through the story of Ann, a slaughterhouse worker in South Dakota who is awakening to the sense that she is not strictly male or female. The play unfolds through a quintessentially American narrative: the road trip. Performed live and through film, Ann and her lover journey from the Badlands to Graceland, surreally transitioning into Elvis and Roosevelt as they confront contemporary America – its relationship to food, to gender, and to fame.

Make a Tax-Deductible Donation to the TEAM today, and JOIN US IN OCTOBER FOR THE SHOW.

Live abroad? Don’t worry…there’s already plans in the works to get the TEAM back to London following the success of Mission Drift at the National Theatre. And hopefully more touring to be announced in the not-so-distant future. So please consider making a gift now so that we can finish the work!

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