The personal is political. In The Teacher’s Lounge or One Child Left Behind, Washington playwright Rebecca Gingrich-Jones examines one intense hour in the lives of three teachers at an urban charter school. Actress Rachel Manteuffel plays Carli, an idealistic first-year teacher negotiating the perils and pressures of a school, and an entire educational system, seemingly on the verge of collapse. Without an official support system in place for young educators, Carli leans heavily on two fellow teachers: the brash and ambitious Maria Fuentes (Allycia Atania) and rigid and authoritarian Jann’l Crawford (Lolita-Marie). When a student learns a secret about her personal life, Carli has one hour to make a choice that will decide multiple futures. Will she hold to her personal ethics, or will she sacrifice the future of one child to save her career?
The ascendance of Washington’s school chancellor Michelle Rhee has put the city’s education system on the national stage. Just this month, The Washington Post reported that our high schools are now graduating fewer than 50% of their students on time.* The children of our city and our nation are caught in the middle of a political storm. But what of the teacher’s themselves? Can they even be considered a united front? What part do individual cultures, prejudices and sexualities play? The Washington Rogues bring the debate over the future of our schools to the stage with a play as immediate as the morning paper but as universal as human jealousy and desire. The Teacher’s Lounge is the second production from the Rogues, producers of 2008’s Fringe hit Busted Jesus Comix.
A talented group of actors brings the world of The Teacher’s Lounge into stark relief. Rachel Manteuffel (Carli) is a Capital Fringe Festival veteran whose previous appearances at the Festival include Busted Jesus Comix for The Washington Rogues and the one-woman show A Most Notorious Woman for Wits End Productions. She has recently appeared on stage for Rorschach Theater, Journeyman Theater Ensemble, Virginia Shakespeare Festival and eXtreme eXchange.
Allycia Atania (Maria) has returned to Washington, D.C after two years in Los Angeles. She most recently appeared as Mercy Lewis in The Crucible at the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center. Allycia is a graduate of the University of Maryland, College Park.
Actress and spoken-word artist Lolita-Marie (Jann’l) is the winner of the 2008 WATCH award for Outstanding Cameo in a Play for her role as Mrs. Muller in the Elden Street Players production of Doubt. Other recent roles include Paula Alprin’s The Prince Who Hopped a Bus, and as Risa in August Wilson’s Two Trains Running (Tantallon Community Players).
Director Ryan S. Taylor has worked in Washington theater since 2004. The Teacher’s Lounge marks Ryan’s second directorial effort for the Capital Fringe Festival after helming David Johnston’s Busted Jesus Comix in 2008. Most recently he directed his own adaptation of Anton Chekhov’s short story The Chorus Girl for Journeymen Theater Ensemble. Other recent credits include Rebecca Jones’s Spin Factor and Paco Madden’s Bible Study 2008 for eXreme eXchange. Other credits: co-directed a segment of Susan Lori-Park’s 365Plays/365Days for Rorschach Theater; staged readings of The Flags and A Cry from Heaven for Solas Nua. As assistant director: Rough Magic (Rorschach Theater, director Jenny McConnell Frederick); Valparaiso (Forum Theater, director Michael Dove). Ryan graduated from Guilford College in Greensboro, North Carolina, and has received additional training at the Studio Theater Acting Conservatory.
Playwright Rebecca H. Jones has made Washington, D.C. her home for the past five years, where she has worked in the non-profit world, as a public school teacher, and currently as a freelance writer and editor. She has recently written new plays for the 24-Hour Playwriting Festival at Warehouse Theatre and eXtreme eXchange’s Rock the Voting Bloc at Roundhouse Theatre. Outside D.C, Forever Again debuted in her hometown of Columbus, Ohio at Raconteur Theatre this spring. Also in Ohio, Asshole, voted Best of Theatre Roulette 2004, has been produced at Oberlin College and MadLab Theatre.
Rebecca is an alum of Young Playwrights, Inc. Urban Retreat in New York, NY where Jump at the Chance was developed and received a staged reading in 1999. She was a 2009 WORDBridge semi-finalist and is a member of the Dramatists Guild and the Playwrights’ Center. Rebecca is currently pursuing an M.F.A. in playwriting at the Catholic University of America, where The Teacher’s Lounge was developed and received a staged reading earlier this year.
The Teacher’s Lounge is the second production from The Washington Rogues, producers of 2008’s Fringe hit Busted Jesus Comix. More information about the company and The Teacher’s Lounge can be found online at http://sites.google.com/site/washingtonrogues/Home.
Presented as part of the Capital Fringe Festival: unjuried, risk-taking, independent performing arts.
THE TEACHER’S LOUNGE or ONE CHILD LEFT BEHIND information:
Location: THE SHOP @ Fort Fringe – 610 L Street NW, Washington, D.C. 20001
Playwright: Rebecca Gingrich-Jones
Director: Ryan S. Taylor
Cast: Rachel Manteuffel (Carli), Allycia Atania (Maria), Lolita-Marie (Jann’l)
Special Vocal Appearances by: Kecia Campbell, Rhonda Carter
Set Design: Jan Forbes
Lighting Design: Kevin Kirkpatrick
Sound Design and Original Music: Don Woodward