Astronauts, cowboys and princesses are all perfectly normal occupations in the world of THE IMPRACTICALITY OF MODERN-DAY MASTODONS. Written by Rachel Teagle and produced by Weber State University’s Department of Performing Arts, the play asks what would happen if everyone’s childhood dreams were to come true.
After a child wishes the universe would keep its promises, every person on earth suddenly transforms into what they wanted to be when they were younger. It’s a glorious new world for everyone except Jess, the sarcastic, imaginative protagonist who is confused when she finds herself navigating life as a giant mastodon.
“The play is about a world that has totally shifted overnight and having to figure out who you are and where you belong after that shift,” says director and WSU Theatre Professor Jennifer A. Kokai, drawing comparisons between the show and life during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Natalie Lichfield, WSU Theatre student and the actress behind Jess agrees: “This show reminds us that we aren’t alone. It asks us to take a look at ourselves and invites all to embrace their inner child.”
One of the more unique aspects of the play is the giant mastodon puppet, standing at over nine feet tall and described by Lichfield as being made of “fabric, PVC pipe and dreams.” It takes four puppeteers (including Lichfield, who operates the trunk) to maneuver and was designed and fabricated by WSU Costume Shop Supervisor Jean Louise England. In addition to the car-sized mastodon, audiences can expect silliness, magic and some big questions about finding one’s place in the world.
“I hope they take away the idea that it is ok to dream really really big about your life and who you are as a person, even if that means you have to work harder to find your own path,” says Kokai.