Blow Winds

Produced by Shakespeare Festival St. Louis, June 2018

"Bell's play is serious and timely." -St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Inspired by King Lear, and based on interviews and historical research, Blow Winds tell the story of a king who takes a city and carves it up to give to his avaricious children. An allegory about the deeply discriminatory practices that have divided a would-be great American city.

Joneal Joplin, Isaiah , Jaz Tucker, Emily Korte, Elvedin Arnautovic, Karal Boresi, and Elias Dernian. Photo by J. David Levy

Remember Me

Produced by Shakespeare Festival St. Louis, September 2016

 

"Is it Shakespeare? Not exactly. Is it theatre? Absolutely. Simultaneously accessible and dreamlike." -St. Louis Post Dispatch

 

The ghost of Clara Clamorgan, a real-life St. Louisan whose life was ripped apart by anti-miscegenation laws, appears to Hamlet, a local history buff, and implores: "Remember me!" But who she is, and how best to honor her memory?

 

A contemporary Shakespearean ghost story in honor of one of St. Louis' historic neighborhoods.  Remember Me combines narrative elements from Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet, Midsummer and a dash of Macbeth, together with the true stories of the Maplewood neighborhood, both past and present.

Photo by John Gitchoff

 

 

Old Hearts Fresh

Produced by Shakespeare Festival St. Louis, 2013

Winner, Outstanding New Play, St. Louis Theatre Circle Award

 

 

"Defies a lot of the stereotypes that keep people away from theater in general and Shakespeare in particular." -St. Louis Post DIspatch

 

A fresh take on Shakespeare's The WInter's Tale, transplanted to the public spaces of a great American city. Developed as part of Shakespeare Festival St. Louis' innovative and award-winning Shakespeare in the Streets program, the script integrates Shakespeare's tale with the eveyday lives of the people who live in St. Louis' Forest Park Southeast neighborhood. Here, Perdita is a street muralist with a message about forgiveness and Time is a drag performer who has seen it all.

 

 

 

 

Michael Shreves as Time. Photo by David Levy.

The Runaway Cupcake

World Premiere at OnSite Theatre Company July 2015

 

A play about eating for families who eat. Real life collides with folk tale in this fast-paced, action-packed comedy with a gentle message about hunger and sharing. A Baker and her Assistant try to keep the bakery from being closed by the Bill Collector but are bedeviled by a maniacal fugitive cupcake.  Meanwhile, a starving girl and her mother look for nuts and berries, and a little boy learns that he can make a difference. Commissioned as a site-a piece to be performed on location at SweetArt Bakery in Saint Louis. For ages 5 and up.

Hannah Donaldson as The Runaway Cupcake

Mutual Consent

by Nancy Bell and Peter Grandbois

World Premiere at California Repertory February 2016

 

 
 

Mutual Consent takes place in an upscale hotel room in Seattle.  At the top of the play, two narrators crawl into the window and address the audience directly, telling a magical realist tale about two lovers who get lost in a great wood.  But they lose the thread of their own story, bicker about details, and become emotionally distraught.  Eventually, they pull suitcases from under the bed and escape back through the window as two characters enter into the hotel room from the door. That’s when the fun begins…Mutual Consent is an intriguing blend of absurdity and lyricism that explores the beauties and discontents of love in middle age. 

Tales of Shakespeare: Found at Sea

Produced by Shakespeare Festival St. Louis and the St. Louis Sympony, 2016

 

 

When a young girl named Marnie can’t sleep, she and her father turn to the works of Shakespeare to weather the storm outside, as well as the tempest brewing between her parents—her father is moving out. Using selections from A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Pericles, Prince of Tyre, Marnie’s bedroom is transformed into Shakespeare’s worlds, from a magical fairy kingdom to epic seascapes. In this adventurous theatrical experience, Marnie and her father illustrate the enduring importance of family bonds that cannot be broken. Presented as part of the St. Louis Symphony’s Family Concert Series in February 2016.

The World Begun

Produced by Shakespeare Festival St. Louis, September 2015

 

"For the fourth year, Shakespeare Festival St. Louis is mounting a modern, localized version of one of Shakespeare’s plays. This one turns a comedy of mistaken identities, “Twelfth Night,” into a hilarious romp through the Old North neighborhood called “The World Begun” — and the best Shakespeare in the Streets show yet."-St. Louis Post Dispatch**Named "Most Ambitious Production of 2015" by STL Post Dispatch

 

A contemporary adaptation that transforms Shakespeare's Twelfth Night into a defiant celebration of the complexities of urban life in a post-Ferguson St. Louis. Viola, mysteriously shipwrecked straight from the sixteenth century into the heart of one of the city's most historic and embattled neighborhoods, falls in love with Orsino, the barber of 14th Street. 

 

Marlene Coveyou as Viola, Chris Ware as Feste, and Lawd Gabriel   as Orsino. Photo by David Levy.

Good in Everything

Produced by Shakespeare Festival St. Louis, September 2014

 

"When Shakespeare in the Streets premiered on Cherokee Street, it was an experiment. Now it deserves to turn into a tradition." -St. Louis Post Dispatch

 

In this very contemporary reimagining of As You Like It, Rosalind is a brilliant student at a predominantly white high school in Clayton, MO. There, she meets Orlando when he is bussed in from “the hood” and surprises everyone by winning the Academic Quiz Bowl Tournament. Rosalind and Orlando’s familiar negotiation about romance becomes a tricky dialogue about race, privilege, and yes, love, both personal and civic.  “How can someone love you if they don’t know you?” Orlando asks, “and how can someone know you if they’re afraid to come to your neighborhood?” A fresh, lyrical and funny piece about young people learning to connect across barriers, produced as the third annual Shakespeare in the Streets project from Shakespeare Festival St. Louis.

 

 

Maalik Shakoor as Orlando. Photo by David Levy.

Present Tense

by Nancy Bell and Peter Grandbois
Produced by Saint Louis Actors Studio, 2012

Winner, LaBute New Play Festival

NYC Premiere at 59E59 January 2016

 

"The evening’s best work, though, is reserved until the finale. In Present Tense, Aaron Orion Baker and Rachel Fenton hauntingly capture the lack of direct communication that strangles the relationship of Walter and Debra, two lonely hearts who cannot escape their self-confinement as they retreat into their phones and computers and away from direct connection."-Ladue News

 

 

Debra and Walter meet in a hotel room to consummate their electronically-brokered extra marital affair. Despite their desire, they find it next to impossible to come together without the mediating influence of their devices. “Touch me!” she cries. “I am touching you!” “I CAN’T FEEL IT!!” A frenzied, lyrical and stylized short play.

 

 

 

 

Aaron Orion Baker as Walter and Rachel Felton as Debra. Photo: John Lamb.

Venus

Finalist, Next Generation Playwriting Prize 2012

Reverie Productions, NYC

 

 

Venus is a love story loosely based on actual events. It is the story of Lee, a Marine sergeant in Iraq in 2004, and his Iraqi translator, Munira. They fall in love, marry, and return to the States, where they have a child. Lee is depressed and unable to find work and Munira takes a job as a dancer to support the family. The violence they were both forced to absorb during the war inevitably expresses itself in their family life. Their abused child is taken from them and they are sent to counseling. One day Munira simply disappears. The play explores male/female dynamics across cultures, the sociological fallout of war, and the ways in which trauma interacts with love. 

 

 

 

Anna Steers as Munira and Lysa Fox as the Nurse

© 2015 by Nancy Bell