Meet our Artist in Residence, Ashley Olive Teague…
Ashley Olive Teague (Director) is the Founding Artistic Director of Notch Theater Company, a recipient of an Embark Award for social innovation in entrepreneurship, a member of the New Georges JAM, and was recently awarded a CoLAB residency to create original plays with refugee communities about the issues these communities face in trying to find home. Teague co-created Wild Home, collaborating with rural towns pressured by fossil fuel to tell personal stories of climate change, as well as Remember2019 which makes space for the congregation of Black communities in the Delta, facilitating local artistic practices of memory and healing. She co-developed FIT, a play that partners with the intellectual disability community and Talk It Out, which traveled to California using theater to change public policy around the school-to-prison pipeline crisis.
What are you working on during your residency?
In 1850, one man sinks an entire ship to settle a Moby Dick measuring contest. In 2022 an all womxn and non-binary cast battles thunderstorms, whirlpools, boredom and the occasional whale to resurrect the Pequod and ask: …why?
Through this residency we will be excavating this iconic text from the point of view of the voices and individuals that have been left out or excluded. What does it mean for (in this case) womxn and non-binary individuals to interact with these characters and ideas?
How did this project come about?
So often we are asked to read works of literature by male authors featuring male protagonists, and consider them as universal narratives about the human condition. We are asked to see ourselves, our humanity, in Hamlet, in Odysseus, in Tom Jode. Melville’s novel Moby Dick is devoid of non-male characters (at least of characters that amount to more than a shadow, reminding us of what is missing). The play DICK invites a diverse group of female-identifying and nonbinary artists to try on the trappings, the costumes, of this American male classic and ask themselves, and the audience: “Does this feel universal?”
What are your inspirations for doing this work?
We are seeing a lot of artists doing this work, going back to the classics lately. There seems to be an impulse to respond, even now, centuries later, to some of what dominant culture has been saying. It’s like, “hey, you’ve had your chance to speak (for 600 pages!), now give me a chance to see if I got something to say about it.”
How’s the process going?
And ultimately this is a real experiment. We are not sure how this text holds up, where it intersects or overlaps with our experiences.
Where can we find your other work?
A few photos of our last collaboration (which also had an HB workshop and then went on to do a 4 week run at The Flea in 2019) here.