Rachael VanWormer

Rachael VanWormer

I'm based in Southern California. I've had a number of short plays produced by local theatres and organizations, and I was one of the first recipients of the Bill and Judy Garrett Finish Line Commission through Cygnet Theatre. I'm lucky enough to make *part* of my living through Playwrighting, Dramaturging, and as Staff Writer for two annual New Work and Literature Festivals. I'm curious and...
I'm based in Southern California. I've had a number of short plays produced by local theatres and organizations, and I was one of the first recipients of the Bill and Judy Garrett Finish Line Commission through Cygnet Theatre. I'm lucky enough to make *part* of my living through Playwrighting, Dramaturging, and as Staff Writer for two annual New Work and Literature Festivals. I'm curious and amazed and frustrated, and I write to exercise - and exorcise - all three.

Plays

  • Monstrous: The Notorious Births of Mary Toft
    Mary Toft (a human woman) gives birth to rabbits (the small rodent-like mammals) in 1726, and becomes instantly famous as living proof of "maternal impression" - the theory that a pregnant woman's body can physically alter the shape and form of the fetus growing inside her as a result of an intensely emotional experience. As Mary discovers the power of her body, she realizes the true power of her...
    Mary Toft (a human woman) gives birth to rabbits (the small rodent-like mammals) in 1726, and becomes instantly famous as living proof of "maternal impression" - the theory that a pregnant woman's body can physically alter the shape and form of the fetus growing inside her as a result of an intensely emotional experience. As Mary discovers the power of her body, she realizes the true power of her mind, her heart, and her ability to take autonomy and agency over her own life and circumstances.
  • To Begin With
    The story behind the the writing of one of the most influential stories ever written. The desperation, the romance, the triumph, and the tragedy of Charles Dickens' A CHRISTMAS CAROL.
    Finding himself poised to drag his family into financial ruin - despite his skyrocketing fame - Dickens is bereft, ashamed, exhausted. His marriage is beginning to buckle, and his own demons are creeping ever and ever...
    The story behind the the writing of one of the most influential stories ever written. The desperation, the romance, the triumph, and the tragedy of Charles Dickens' A CHRISTMAS CAROL.
    Finding himself poised to drag his family into financial ruin - despite his skyrocketing fame - Dickens is bereft, ashamed, exhausted. His marriage is beginning to buckle, and his own demons are creeping ever and ever closer - until a spark of an idea ignites, takes hold, and blazes into being.
  • The Sighting
    273 AD, Rome. Valentine is imprisoned for illegally performing marriage ceremonies. Emperor Claudius II has outlawed marriage completely - in the hopes of encouraging Roman soldiers to fight to the death because they'd have nothing to come home to. Valentine is given two options: renounce his Christian faith, or die. As he awaits his fate in solitary confinement, Iulia - the jailer's daughter, and his...
    273 AD, Rome. Valentine is imprisoned for illegally performing marriage ceremonies. Emperor Claudius II has outlawed marriage completely - in the hopes of encouraging Roman soldiers to fight to the death because they'd have nothing to come home to. Valentine is given two options: renounce his Christian faith, or die. As he awaits his fate in solitary confinement, Iulia - the jailer's daughter, and his only human contact - proves both a torment, and a friend. The two form an unlikely friendship built on social and religious debate, passionate disagreement, and a dawning admiration for the conviction and commitment each carries for their own world-view. In an attempt to save one another, each discovers their own path forward.
  • Death of a Late Summer Songbird
    1930s, Anytown, USA. Ida Mae is hanging by a thread. As the oldest of several siblings who's mother has died, she's been thrust into the role of replacement parent. As her often-absent, alcoholic father squanders what money he does earn on liquor, she's been thrust into the role of sole breadwinner for the family. There's a new baby in the house - who she's insisting is her sister - and...
    1930s, Anytown, USA. Ida Mae is hanging by a thread. As the oldest of several siblings who's mother has died, she's been thrust into the role of replacement parent. As her often-absent, alcoholic father squanders what money he does earn on liquor, she's been thrust into the role of sole breadwinner for the family. There's a new baby in the house - who she's insisting is her sister - and she needs help. When a neighbor who passes the house on his way to work answers her plea, his small acts of kindness give her the life-line she's been grasping for. The problem? She is white and he is black. As Ida Mae and Jim traverse the nuance of human-to-human kindness and connection in a society where their interaction is shunned at best - and criminal at worst - her world-view is turned upside-down, until she is left facing an impossible choice.
  • And She Was Much Perplexed
    Madge and Joey have their whole life ahead of them as a young, newly married couple, ready to take on the world. Then BOOM: Madge is pregnant with the child of the Almighty God. As their first-born son Jay grows into the man (and the Messiah) he was born to be, the couple must come to terms with what it means to be the parents of a child who was never theirs to begin with.