What is Finding Trails?

Celebrating outdoor spaces and trails through theater connects arts and environmental communities, and builds a more resilient and joyful citizenry. Finding Trails projects speak to our trail experiences, and the roles wild spaces and public lands play in our lives. Centering diverse stories of environmental justice and joy, we create stronger relationships and dialogues that will help us work towards positive environmental solutions.

Participate!

Finding Trails: Journey versus Destination

Hello! As part of Penguin Productions’ Finding Trails festival, eight local playwrights, choreographers, and composers have been invited to create mini performance pieces designed to be rehearsed and performed on a trail! 

To increase accessibility, we invite directors and actors of all ages to create production teams. Yes, this means there may be multiple versions of the same play. How exciting! You can be as creative as you want with your production concept – you can record yourself on a cell phone, have a friend do it, or muster a film crew! Your audience can be anything or anyone – tree stump, snail, passersby, friends or family. 

– We will collect videos of your productions and compile them into one amazing virtual performance to be streamed over social media channels in August, 2021.

– No audition necessary! No need to ask permission! Just pick a play and start creating……

NOTE: Although we can’t compensate performers, we will be happy to profile your work on social media, shout out your work, and give you as much exposure as possible!

To be included in our final virtual performance, simply fill out this form. Submit anytime before August 8. Tag Penguin Productions as you rehearse @_penguinproductions_

For questions contact shana@penguinproductionsseattle.org.

From the Professional Creators:

In the middle of a hushed forest, a healer lies sick. He has healed his people, but cannot heal himself. A young woman tries to convince him to return. A passionate, heartbreaking elegy to finding a path forward out of  loss.

Frankie abruptly decides the hike is over, but Micky wants to take the trail to its conclusion. But is their argument really about hiking, or the importance of following through on commitment? Could it be about a deep-rooted fear?

A mother and her child explore the legend of the cursed Three Years Hill to learn the importance of both climbing AND falling in this fun, modern retelling of a Korean folktale.

Choreography that incites exploration of yourself and your surroundings, mixing small amounts of Hip-Hop, Afro, and W*acking

Note – “jeka lo sere” is Swahili for “let’s talk”

And from our Youth Playwright Cohort:

A Traveller tired with life, has taken to the woods in order to find a being who knows the path to Saturn: a place of prosperity and wealth only accessible by birds. As the Traveller finds themself at a crossroads, he is faced with the problem that they may never reach Saturn after all.

A father and son on the trail of a familiar frontier – an argument at the ballpark. Is it worth cheering on a losing team? Are we killing the planet by coming to the ballpark in the first place? Can father and son find a trail forward together? 

On their path to recovery, The Character is trapped in a place of decision between going forward and continuing recovery, or following the mysterious Back-Fairy backwards to their old self-destructive ways, making their decision through a mix of poetry and music.

Playwright’s Note: The idea for this piece is that it adds an extra level of creativity for the team that works on it. The chord structures listed are a starting place for the music, and the way the lyrics fit within them is flexible. I encourage anyone who takes a crack at this piece to use multiple combinations of the offered chord structures, make up their own, or even do the piece without it if that feels right to them. Personalize it!

A monologue in verse about a boy who slips, falls, and is carried towards a new perspective on the forest (and mortality).

Playwright’s Note: Artists are encouraged to perform it as individuals, as a choral piece, as spoken word or set to music. Feel free to compose your own or set it to an existing tune, or use the provided guide by Sadie Gingold

Pick your trail! Scripts available HERE for download. 

Far From Any Road, by Dylan Elwood 

In the middle of a hushed forest, a healer lies sick. He has healed his people, but cannot heal himself. A young woman tries to convince him to return. A passionate, heartbreaking elegy to finding a path forward out of  loss.

I’ve Been Waiting So Long to Be Where I’m Going, by Pamela Hobart Carter 

Frankie abruptly decides the hike is over, but Micky wants to take the trail to its conclusion. But is their argument really about hiking, or the importance of following through on commitment? Could it be about a deep-rooted fear?

The Three Years Hill, by Maggie Lee 

A mother and her child explore the legend of the cursed Three Years Hill to learn the importance of both climbing AND falling in this fun, modern retelling of a Korean folktale.

 Sere/Vacation, by Myles Mawa 

Choreography that incites exploration of yourself and your surroundings, mixing small amounts of Hip-Hop, Afro, and W*acking
Note – “jeka lo sere” is Swahili for “let’s talk”

​The Road to Saturn, by Disha Cattamanchi 

A Traveller tired with life, has taken to the woods in order to find a being who knows the path to Saturn: a place of prosperity and wealth only accessible by birds. As the Traveller finds themself at a crossroads, he is faced with the problem that they may never reach Saturn after all.

The Baseball Dilemma, by Aaron Sterne 

A father and son on the trail of a familiar frontier – an argument at the ballpark. Is it worth cheering on a losing team? Are we killing the planet by coming to the ballpark in the first place? Can father and son find a trail forward together? 

The In-Between, by Sadie Gingold 

On their path to recovery, The Character is trapped in a place of decision between going forward and continuing recovery, or following the mysterious Back-Fairy backwards to their old self-destructive ways, making their decision through a mix of poetry and music.

Playwright’s Note: The idea for this piece is that it adds an extra level of creativity for the team that works on it. The chord structures listed are a starting place for the music, and the way the lyrics fit within them is flexible. I encourage anyone who takes a crack at this piece to use multiple combinations of the offered chord structures, make up their own, or even do the piece without it if that feels right to them. Personalize it!

Rushed No More, by Kyle Gerstel

A monologue in verse about a boy who slips, falls, and is carried towards a new perspective on the forest (and mortality).

Artists are encouraged to perform it as individuals, as a choral piece, as spoken word or set to music. Feel free to compose your own or set it to an existing tune, or use the provided guide by Sadie Gingold

Finding Trails:
Journey vs. Destination

Penguin Productions’ Finding Trails project breaks us out of our zoom boxes to reconnect us with each other, our craft, and our shared environments. We invite you to play with us! 

Our theme is “Journey vs. Destination” – which is more important? What are the joys or disappointments of achieving destination without a great journey – or vice-versa?

I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting on ideas of belonging, how public spaces have historically excluded some even while promoting inclusion, and the role of art and storytelling in making outdoor spaces inclusive and a place where all can experience belonging. I invite creators to hold space for these ideas, and to enjoy the idea of pieces being embodied by a diversity of bodies and voices. The goal is to get people outside playing, to put beautiful and heightened language in their mouths, to allow people to play with new identities in new spaces, and to co-create stories that expand our awareness of our selves and our environments.

– Shana Bestock, Producing Artistic Director

Meet the Penguins Behind Finding Trails 2021!

Dylan Thomas Elwood is Turtle Mountain Chippewa. He has been a member of Red Eagle Soaring Native Youth Theatre, located in Seattle, Washington, for sixteen years. He has acted in and co-written numerous productions and engaged with the Seattle Native community, culminating in the premiere of his production Killer Whale and the Black Rush at ACT Theatre in August 2019. He is a featured playwright in the global Climate Change Theater Action festival this fall. He currently serves RES and YTT (Yesterday – Today – Tomorrow) as Artistic Associate.

For thirty years Pamela Hobart Carter taught science, preschool, and a few other things. Now she teaches on the side, and writes poems, plays, fiction, and non-fiction. Her plays have been read or produced in Seattle (her home), Montreal (her childhood home) and Fort Worth (where she has only visited). PHC is the author of two poetry chapbooks: Her Imaginary Museum (https://kelsaybooks.com/products/her-imaginary-museum) and Held Together with Tape and Glue (https://www.finishinglinepress.com/product/held-together-with-tape-and-glue-by-pamela-hobart-carter/). PHC loves hiking in the Cascades. Find out more at her website: https://playwrightpam.wordpress.com/.

Maggie Lee is an award-winning Seattle playwright who creates diverse, imaginative new worlds on stage in genres like science fiction, fantasy, horror, and action-adventure, with plays produced in Seattle, New York, Seoul, Chicago, and San Francisco. Her last foray into the wilderness with Penguin Productions was her short train tunnel play The Light at the End in Finding Trails (May 2020). She is currently the Resident Playwright at Macha Theatre Works, a board member of Rain City Projects (an organization supporting PNW playwrights), and a member of the Dramatists Guild. Her plays are available on New Play Exchange and published by Mneme Press (mnemepress.org). Coming up this fall: The Sky Below, her newest YA steampunk adventure at Youth Theatre Northwest.

Sadie Gingold was most recently seen as Meg in A Wrinkle in Time (Shoreline Community College) and Juliet in Romeo and Juliet (Penguin Productions). She’s been acting her whole life and has performed at 18th and Union, Bainbridge Performing Arts, Edmonds Driftwood Players, Seattle Public Theatre, and Kitsap Forest Theater. She loves reading Shakespeare plays, cuddling her cat, and spending time with her family. Upcoming projects: Assistant Directing the Tempest with Penguin Productions. She plans to study acting in college. You can follow her on Instagram at @sadiegrace.music.

Kyle Gerstel is a 14-year-old theater geek who couldn’t be happier to have found Penguin in 2021. He recently directed his school’s first musical in over a decade as well as the online musical Hamleton. When not participating in the Penguin Advisory Council, you can find him acting in Youth Theatre Northwest productions, writing reviews for the TeenTix Newsroom, or working on his poetry book. He appreciates your support of Penguin and hopes you enjoy what the Finding Trails team has created!

Disha Cattamanchi (she/her) is currently a junior at Juanita High School. She is also a writer in the TeenTix Newsroom with articles published both on the blog and in The Seattle Times. She is an active member in her school’s theater program, well versed in the ways of the lighting board and writing various plays. This led her to co-found the Penguin Youth Playwrights Cohort, as a part of the Penguin Advisory Council. Disha believes that creating an equitable space is vital to the arts and tries to initiate inclusivity with all her work. She hopes you enjoy the culminated works of the finding trails project!

Aaron Sterne is a 20 year old Playwright, Actor, and Chef. His other current project, Theatre & Dragons, will have its first scenes released as an audio play in mid July, alongside other members of the Penguin Playwriting Cohort’s works. He gives many thanks to Steven and Olivia Sterne, Jennifer Dice, and Puff and Fern the cats; the best family anyone could ask for.


Hi I’m Myles Mawa, I’m 17 and I’m a Black dancer and choreographer in the Seattle area. I have loved dance ever since I was young but I didn’t start getting into it seriously until recently but it has informed so many of my ideas and actions today. It’s a constant form of expression that never goes away until I say so, and I hope I can share those feelings with all of you!

Past Community Partners Include:

Pratidhwani, SIS Productions, Parley, and the Washington Trails Association

Interested in Finding Trails with us? We would love to co-create storytelling events that support your advocacy campaign, community, or neck of the woods. Please contact us for more information. 

Interested in Finding Trails with us? We would love to co-create storytelling events that support your advocacy campaign, community, or neck of the woods. Please contact us for more information. 

Penguin Productions programs are free to all in need. Fuel the future of healthy, equitable community theater with your support today!


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