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Rascal Roll Call- Jenny Hipscher

"Live theatre reminds me of our capacity as humans to imagine."

Rascal: Jenny Hipscher

Rascal Vet: 2nd tour

Role: Director

Lives: Columbia, Missouri

From: Brooklyn, NY and Albuquerque, NM

Go-To Biking Snack: Fancy grass-fed jerky or banana with nut butter.

Cyclist Rating: Biked across the country with very little previous cycling experience, we give her...5 of out 5

Why did you choose to join Agile Rascal for their Florida tour?

This will be my second Agile Rascal project. I love devised theater collaborations and I love collaborating with my friend, Dara (Agile Rascal Artistic Director). I am excited about the new Rascal artists on this tour, the artist residency in the Everglades and to learn more about a place that is an unfolding microcosmic story of humans and nature on this planet. It's thrilling that we will collectively discover and tell the story that emerges from our experience there.

What is intriguing about Florida to you?

photo: Stacie Pottinger

I've only been to Florida on childhood family vacations to Disney and Daytona. I'm excited about getting to know more about the actual human and non-human life of the state. I'm also stoked to steep the creative practice in a place so alive (Everglades), the opportunity to immerse ourselves in place, to listen deeply to the non-human living beings who live there, and ​

​then try to bring the story that emerges from this place with us through the rest of ask questions of how we might bridge these different, seemingly disconnected, but not at all unrelated worlds.

Please tell us an embarrassing performance story.

photo: Stacie Pottinger

In the final scene of Hamlet, during which everyone except Horatio and two palace guards wind up dead, I (one of the guards), was tasked with the penultimate unfurling of a banner that reads "All Hail Fortinbras!" letting the audience know that Fortinbras' armies are taking over ---- On the very last night of a 5-day run, as per usual, my clown partner and I leave the stage in the middle of the scene, and I quickly grab the rolled banner and get into position---he secures the ladder and I climb up, basically holding my breath, arms extended overhead backstage ...waiting for the very precise moment to punctuate the dramatic death of Hamlet and unfurl the banner over the top of the curtain. I pause for a moment of doubt, but shake off my intuition...the moment comes, I unfurl and clip the banner onto the curtain and immediately's backwards! We both realize this, but have to immediately come back onto the stage for the actual final moment, to join Horatio and turn give our full attention to the banner, kneeling down and pledging our allegiance to the message written backwards. END SCENE. I could barely contain my laughter and get through curtain call. I then ran backstage and curled into a ball, yelling, "nooooo!!!!"

And what's a funny story from the road?

oy, too many. Should I tell you about the time on the first Agile Rascal tour when I tried to help my fellow Rascal bike up a hill by holding her handle bars, and then she decided to help me at the same time, and then we both went over a cliff? or maybe I'll just tell you about when my saddle rash was so bad that I decided to line my cycling shorts with sliced cucumbers (I don't think I was the only one...)

photo: Karen Hipscher

Why do you choose to do live theatre?

The fact that, while it may be rehearsed and performed ad nauseum, it's still always unfolding in the present moment, so it keeps me honest and demands a kind of presence that makes me feel more alive myself...and holds the possibility of awakening some aliveness in the audience. The moment to moment listening, and telepathic communication between ensemble members, relationship between audience and actors. Anything could happen, really, and how will we respond? How do we continue to make discoveries and allow ourselves to be surprised?

Tell us about your favorite outdoor theatre experience.

It's all about the weather. Our first Rascal tour...Albuquerque, New Mexico.. outdoors at a community farm. Thunder and lightning storm hit mid-performance, a few of us huddled backstage, myself anticipating my entrance. Then there were crashes of thunder and lightning and the wind whipped up as I emerged from this tube as a mystical sea creature. It felt right...and a little scary! The audience felt the magic of live theatre- the perfect timing of art and nature colliding.

Jenny emerges as Sea Creature. Photo: Ren Dodge


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