Rachel Atkins

Rachel Atkins

Rachel Atkins is a Seattle-based playwright and teaching artist. She is the scriptwriter for Living Voices, the educational theatre partner of Theatreworks USA, with whom she has 12 different multi-media shows in ongoing touring repertory, all focusing on issues of history and social justice, and seen by over 3 million audience members throughout the US and Canada. Her other work has been produced extensively...
Rachel Atkins is a Seattle-based playwright and teaching artist. She is the scriptwriter for Living Voices, the educational theatre partner of Theatreworks USA, with whom she has 12 different multi-media shows in ongoing touring repertory, all focusing on issues of history and social justice, and seen by over 3 million audience members throughout the US and Canada. Her other work has been produced extensively throughout the Seattle area.
Full-length plays include Black Like Us (Annex Theatre/Brownbox Theatre co-production, Seattle), Treadwell Gold (Perseverance Theatre, Alaska), Baalzebub and Frankenstein’s Mary Shelley (Seattle Public Theater), and an updated revision of William Wycherley’s The Country Wife (Theater Schmeater, Seattle). Literary adaptations for Seattle’s Book-It Repertory Theatre include Jane Austen’s Emma (also produced at Harvard Radcliffe Summer Theater in Massachusetts), Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca, and a variety of children’s literature. Her play for young actors, Cam Jansen & the Mystery of the Missing Eagle, has been seen in Washington, Illinois, and Virginia. Her 10-minute plays This Is Not September 11, Baby Love, Conspiracy Theory, Zoetrope and Can You Hear the Mermaids Singing? have received multiple productions in New York, Missouri, Ohio, New Mexico and Washington.
Rachel graduated from Dartmouth College and holds her Masters in Educational Theatre from New York University. A member of the ArtsWA Teaching Artist roster and the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture’s Arts Partner roster, she works as a master teaching artist for several teacher professional development programs, as well as A Contemporary Theatre’s Young Playwrights Program. Previously, she was the Scriptwriter/Dramaturge and Director of Education for Ardeo Theatre Project in France.

Plays

  • Black Like Us
    In 1958, a young African-American woman makes the life-changing decision to start passing for white, creating a ripple effect through multiple generations. In 2013, her granddaughters accidentally discover her secret and seek out the family she left behind. Moving back and forth through time, what happens in between is a frank and funny look at the shifting boundaries of tolerance, as they are all faced with...
    In 1958, a young African-American woman makes the life-changing decision to start passing for white, creating a ripple effect through multiple generations. In 2013, her granddaughters accidentally discover her secret and seek out the family she left behind. Moving back and forth through time, what happens in between is a frank and funny look at the shifting boundaries of tolerance, as they are all faced with the many questions of what identity really means.
  • Emma, adapted from Jane Austen's novel
    Witty, intelligent, beautiful, rich, entitled, and spoiled, Emma Woodhouse loves to be a matchmaker, though she has vowed to never marry herself. After claiming success of the match between Mr. Weston and her beloved former governess, she decides to prove her skill to neighbor and frequent sparring partner Mr. Knightley by matching Mr. Elton, the local vicar, with Harriet Smith, the simple and less-privileged...
    Witty, intelligent, beautiful, rich, entitled, and spoiled, Emma Woodhouse loves to be a matchmaker, though she has vowed to never marry herself. After claiming success of the match between Mr. Weston and her beloved former governess, she decides to prove her skill to neighbor and frequent sparring partner Mr. Knightley by matching Mr. Elton, the local vicar, with Harriet Smith, the simple and less-privileged girl Emma has recently taken under her wing—despite Mr. Elton’s pursuit of Emma herself, and the proposal Harriet has already received from Mr. Martin, whom Emma deems unsuitable in status for her friend. When Frank Churchill, Mr. Weston’s flirtatious son, and Jane Fairfax, the accomplished niece of local chatterbox Miss Bates, enter Highbury’s limited social sphere, complications and misunderstandings foil all of Emma’s plans, revealing her obliviousness to the true nature of almost everyone around her—including herself. After Emma rejects Mr. Elton, he rejects Harriet and brings home a bride who thinks even more of herself than he does, and Emma persuades Harriet to fall in love with Frank Churchill instead. Mr. Knightley and Mrs. Weston continue to warn Emma off the risks of meddling in other people’s lives—but it isn’t until Frank Churchill’s secret engagement to Jane Fairfax is revealed and Harriet confesses her belief that Mr. Knightley is in love with her, that Emma must admit her hubris and errors. When she learns her own heart, she realizes that she’s in love with Mr. Knightley herself. Happily, Mr. Martin proposes to Harriet again, rekindling the love she’s harbored for him throughout Emma’s interference, so that when Mr. Knightley finally reveals his own love for Emma, she can accept, and everyone can live happily ever after. Adapted from the novel by Jane Austen.

    An 8 actor version of this script is also available.
  • Baalzebub
    What would a group of girls do if they were abandoned alone and away from adults and civilization? Baalzebub is a response to the classic novel, Lord of the Flies, in which a group of post –World War II schoolboys are stranded on a desert island. In Baalzebub, a group of girls are stranded together on another kind of deserted island, left behind at a refugee camp in an unnamed war zone, including some who have...
    What would a group of girls do if they were abandoned alone and away from adults and civilization? Baalzebub is a response to the classic novel, Lord of the Flies, in which a group of post –World War II schoolboys are stranded on a desert island. In Baalzebub, a group of girls are stranded together on another kind of deserted island, left behind at a refugee camp in an unnamed war zone, including some who have been raised and living as boys. As time passes without rescue, the girls face the adult challenges of creating and maintaining a working society. How are the ways they cope and behave the same as the boys in Lord of the Flies? How are they different? Baalzebub both mirrors the plot of Lord of the Flies, and follows its own story, reflecting a different, modern group of female characters struggling under their own unique circumstances to cooperate, understand their differences, define themselves, and survive.


    A one-act version of this script is also available. Ideal for university, high school and youth productions.
  • Frankenstein’s Mary Shelley
    Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein is one of the most known and retold stories in the world. Frankenstein’s Mary Shelley tells the equally compelling true story of Frankenstein’s young author alongside her original tale of horror. An unmarried, ostracized, pregnant teenage mother when she wrote her first novel, Mary Shelley faced as much death, drama, romantic and family problems during its writing as her...
    Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein is one of the most known and retold stories in the world. Frankenstein’s Mary Shelley tells the equally compelling true story of Frankenstein’s young author alongside her original tale of horror. An unmarried, ostracized, pregnant teenage mother when she wrote her first novel, Mary Shelley faced as much death, drama, romantic and family problems during its writing as her characters do. The ways her life informed her creative choices sheds new light and offers a new point of view about this classic horror story. Moving back and forth between the layered worlds of the book and the world in which Mary Shelley was writing (and sometimes blending the two), Frankenstein’s Mary Shelley is a dark, gothic drama about an extraordinary young woman, the strange times she lived in, and all her many monsters.

    A one-act version of this script is also available. Ideal for university, high school and youth productions.
  • The Country Wife: a new adaptation
    In this updated version of the William Wycherley classic, Margery Pinchwife is a new bride, just arrived in the city with her husband and sister-in-law as Harry Horner, a notorious playboy, spreads the false rumor of his own impotence as cover for his affairs with the “honorable” women of society, including Sir Jaspar’s wife and her cohorts in the so-called “virtuous gang.” Horner’s former friend and possibly...
    In this updated version of the William Wycherley classic, Margery Pinchwife is a new bride, just arrived in the city with her husband and sister-in-law as Harry Horner, a notorious playboy, spreads the false rumor of his own impotence as cover for his affairs with the “honorable” women of society, including Sir Jaspar’s wife and her cohorts in the so-called “virtuous gang.” Horner’s former friend and possibly lover, Jack Pinchwife, desperately tries to keep Margery under his control and locked away from the temptations of city life, while also marrying off his sister Alithea to Sparkish, a ridiculous fop. Margery makes her escape, Sparkish and Mr. Pinchwife show their true selves, Horner adds Margery to his conquests, and Alithea finds a better match with Horner’s friend Harcourt. Throughout, Alithea’s maid Lucy manipulates behind the scenes of everyone’s schemes, exposing a tangled web of sexual innuendo, social hypocrisy, code-switching, lies, and intrigue that leaves no stereotype unturned.
  • Family Matters
    A multi-racial family dramedy about international adoption, Alzheimer’s, and everything that happens in between. The Horowitz-Yamasaki-Blooms are your typical Jewish-American transracial family, getting together for their traditional Mother’s Day celebration of bagels and lox and Korean potato salad. Nana is struggling with Alzheimer’s. Her adult daughters, Pearl and Lena, both adopted from Korea and with grown...
    A multi-racial family dramedy about international adoption, Alzheimer’s, and everything that happens in between. The Horowitz-Yamasaki-Blooms are your typical Jewish-American transracial family, getting together for their traditional Mother’s Day celebration of bagels and lox and Korean potato salad. Nana is struggling with Alzheimer’s. Her adult daughters, Pearl and Lena, both adopted from Korea and with grown children of their own, find themselves at odds about their mother's care. Pearl is the in-home caregiver, as well as for her own daughter Gracie, who moved back in after college, while Lena is preparing to leave for Korea to research her birth family and heritage. Gracie has unexpectedly invited her new boyfriend Antoine to join them. Everyone has a secret. Their revelations expose all their complicated hidden truths, while examining the many expectations, responsibilities and roles women face within any modern family.
  • Treadwell Gold
    In 1916, the Treadwell mines on Douglas Island, Alaska are the largest gold-mining operation in the world, and at the height of success. George Barnett, a young geologist who’s been taken under the wing of the mine president, arrives in Treadwell to learn the business and help it to grow. Falling in love with the daughter of the mine’s hoist operator was not in his plans. Meanwhile, the miners and families who...
    In 1916, the Treadwell mines on Douglas Island, Alaska are the largest gold-mining operation in the world, and at the height of success. George Barnett, a young geologist who’s been taken under the wing of the mine president, arrives in Treadwell to learn the business and help it to grow. Falling in love with the daughter of the mine’s hoist operator was not in his plans. Meanwhile, the miners and families who have lived and worked in Treadwell for years see a different story: problems underground, conflicts among the diverse miner population, and growing demands for a union. George puts a long-term plan into action to repair and improve conditions in the mines—but no one is prepared for the natural disaster that destroys all of Treadwell in one short night. Based on the nonfiction book by Sheila Kelly.
  • Voyage for Madmen
    VOYAGE FOR MADMEN is based on the amazing and outrageously true story of Ardeo Theatre Project, a group of American theatre artists who bought a château in France, and moved there with the intention of running a study abroad program for college students, creating theatre, and living together as a community. After arriving in France on the eve of the worst storm Europe had seen in 60 years, and nearly a year in...
    VOYAGE FOR MADMEN is based on the amazing and outrageously true story of Ardeo Theatre Project, a group of American theatre artists who bought a château in France, and moved there with the intention of running a study abroad program for college students, creating theatre, and living together as a community. After arriving in France on the eve of the worst storm Europe had seen in 60 years, and nearly a year in residence, the Project spectacularly crashed and burned, just before September 11, 2001.

    VOYAGE FOR MADMEN incorporates elements of vaudeville, Shakespeare’s The Tempest, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, and the real-life story of Donald Crowhurst, a British amateur sailor who falsified his records in an attempt to win a single-handed round-the-world sailing race in the 1960’s. Crowhurst, Frankenstein and The Tempest are significant not only because these stories mirror many of the tragic events of Ardeo, but also because they were, ironically, the plays the company actually rehearsed while in France.

    Everything in this play that you think can’t possibly be true—really happened.
  • Baalzebub (one act)
    What would a group of girls do if they were abandoned alone and away from adults and civilization? Baalzebub is a response to the classic novel, Lord of the Flies, in which a group of post –World War II schoolboys are stranded on a desert island. In Baalzebub, a group of girls are stranded together on another kind of deserted island, left behind at a refugee camp in an unnamed war zone, including some who have...
    What would a group of girls do if they were abandoned alone and away from adults and civilization? Baalzebub is a response to the classic novel, Lord of the Flies, in which a group of post –World War II schoolboys are stranded on a desert island. In Baalzebub, a group of girls are stranded together on another kind of deserted island, left behind at a refugee camp in an unnamed war zone, including some who have been raised and living as boys. As time passes without rescue, the girls face the adult challenges of creating and maintaining a working society. How are the ways they cope and behave the same as the boys in Lord of the Flies? How are they different? Baalzebub both mirrors the plot of Lord of the Flies, and follows its own story, reflecting a different, modern group of female characters struggling under their own unique circumstances to cooperate, understand their differences, define themselves, and survive.

    A full-length version of this script is also available. Ideal for university, high school and youth productions.
  • Frankenstein’s Mary Shelley (one act)
    Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein is one of the most known and retold stories in the world. Frankenstein’s Mary Shelley tells the equally compelling true story of Frankenstein’s young author alongside her original tale of horror. An unmarried, ostracized, pregnant teenage mother when she wrote her first novel, Mary Shelley faced as much death, drama, romantic and family problems during its writing as her...
    Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein is one of the most known and retold stories in the world. Frankenstein’s Mary Shelley tells the equally compelling true story of Frankenstein’s young author alongside her original tale of horror. An unmarried, ostracized, pregnant teenage mother when she wrote her first novel, Mary Shelley faced as much death, drama, romantic and family problems during its writing as her characters do. The ways her life informed her creative choices sheds new light and offers a new point of view about this classic horror story. Moving back and forth between the layered worlds of the book and the world in which Mary Shelley was writing (and sometimes blending the two), Frankenstein’s Mary Shelley is a dark, gothic drama about an extraordinary young woman, the strange times she lived in, and all her many monsters.

    A full-length version of this script is also available. Ideal for university, high school and youth productions.
  • Money Changes Everything
    MONEY CHANGES EVERYTHING is based on the hilarious and heart-breaking true story of the 2nd largest cash robbery in US history. In 1997, a team of amateur thieves stole $17 million dollars from a Loomis Fargo armored car warehouse in Charlotte, North Carolina, and might have gotten away with it, if not for their poor judgment and extreme hubris. Ordinary Americans saw a chance to get rich quick and took it—but...
    MONEY CHANGES EVERYTHING is based on the hilarious and heart-breaking true story of the 2nd largest cash robbery in US history. In 1997, a team of amateur thieves stole $17 million dollars from a Loomis Fargo armored car warehouse in Charlotte, North Carolina, and might have gotten away with it, if not for their poor judgment and extreme hubris. Ordinary Americans saw a chance to get rich quick and took it—but they botched their plans at every turn: shopped extravagantly, bought mansions with cash, involved over 20 people in their attempts to hide the money, and even tried to have their inside man killed. Their failings were enormous and absurd, and yet MONEY CHANGES EVERYTHING is ultimately real and tragic: a story about people who just wanted a better life and the consequences they faced for trying to get ahead.
  • Brain Trust
    Married since medical school, Miles and Candace are scientists working together on researching neural enhancements for the treatment of depression. Miles has become depressed and withdrawn from the work, until he makes a new discovery and wants to experiment with it on himself. He convinces Candace to abandon her principles and help him temporarily implant an electronic device in his own brain—and then refuses...
    Married since medical school, Miles and Candace are scientists working together on researching neural enhancements for the treatment of depression. Miles has become depressed and withdrawn from the work, until he makes a new discovery and wants to experiment with it on himself. He convinces Candace to abandon her principles and help him temporarily implant an electronic device in his own brain—and then refuses to allow her to remove it when the results reach far beyond his expectations, forcing them both to face the moral, ethical, and personal implications of what they’ve done.

    A version of this script is also available for radio/podcast.