Atwater Village Theatre
Los Angeles, CA

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Ayushi and Grace have just met. Both are pastor’s wives from the Midwest. Both are being held captive, locked in the basement pantry of a serial cannibal. But today, food isn’t the only thing on his mind. If Ayushi and Grace are to survive, they must win a series of mind games with their captor – a man with a peculiar, and frightening, dogma all his own.

“When I’ve seen women in ministry portrayed —and it’s not often — they’re framed as either stiff-necked killjoys or vessels of grace existing primarily to serve others. I had never, ever seen a theatrical narrative with this type of protagonist who tries to outmaneuver a very violent antagonist. I wondered what it looked like for a woman with that kind of ideologue-grit and buried self-doubt to face off against someone who is confidently, and authentically evil? So, I wrote Mice” – Schaeffer Nelson; Playwright

Playwright Schaeffer Nelson’s Kings of Israel received the Editor’s Pick, Best Productions of 2013-14 season, KC Metropolis – KC Fringe Festival); Outspoken KC: Love and Marriage (GLAMA), and Box 7 (EST/LA Launchpad Series). His prose has appeared in Camp Magazine and Palaver, and received readings at True Story LA, Homo-Centric, The Writer’s Place (Kansas City), and the West Hollywood Book Fair. He is a member of Ensemble Studio Theatre LA’s New West Playwrights Unit. He has a BA in Creative Writing from the University of Southern California. He has soft spots for horror and theology; give him a Bible and a copy of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre and he’s set for the weekend.

CAST: Kevin Comartin (Mouseman), Sharmila Devar* (Ayushi), and Heather Robinson (Grace) 

EST/LA is dedicated to developing and producing new work by established and emerging American playwrights, providing a lifelong artistic home to our membership of theatre professionals and sustaining live theatre – the vital and unique interaction of artist and audience.


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"Whether the suit’s power is a manifestation of Mouseman’s psychosis or a supernatural agent of evil is anybody’s guess, but whatever the case, Nelson’s bizarre plot results in suspenseful moments that are genuinely unsettling."

"Playwright Schaeffer Nelson grew up in an Evangelical ministry family in Kansas and the play is his attempt to break up with his ex, God."

""Mice" holds you in a state of suspense from start to finish with its compelling performances and creepy setting."

"MICE will appeal to horror aficionados – especially in this Halloween season. But it will appeal even more to individuals who have been exposed to the many controversial discrepancies present in religion, differences between beliefs and behaviors."

"Nelson, who developed this play in EST/LA's New West under-30 playwrights' program, smartly delivers only limited doses of relevant information about the trio's previous experiences, allowing our perpetual unease to arise out of the unfolding events rather than the surprising recollected revelations. Director Roderick Menzies does everything right to deny us even the briefest respite from the horror of the entire extended moment, frequently aided by sound designer David Boman's ominous sonic undertone."

"....Mice, short on internal logic and intellectual heft, never gets past its callow fantastical plot, and is humorless besides."

"Overall, this is a fine production of a promising play. Which exactly suits Ensemble Studio’s mission — to find and develop new works and new writers. EST/LA brings together talents any playwright would die for. And Nelson clearly has the skill needed to polish Mice into the brisk, disturbing comic drama it nearly is."

"I’ll first note that, although I went in expecting not to like this show — as I’m not a big fan of such dramas — this one caught my attention. I found the story, umm, captivating, and I really had no idea where it would go. That’s good. From reading some reviews, there was a worry that it would be scary or sadistic, but I didn’t find that to be the case. Second, it was really interesting to see this on the heels of Bright Star. There is an interesting connection with and parallel to the two stories, and a similar suspension of disbelief is required for both shows.[...] But overall, I found this an interesting play — as any discussion between two captors might be."


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