Anyone watching the Olympics right now can’t help but be awed by the abilities of the athletes. This year in particular, the American women’s gymnastic team has riveted us to our screens. By training every day, and by pushing their bodies to the limits of human ability, these gymnasts create breathtaking moments on the mat that we usually only see once every four years – if that. It’s easy to describe what Olympians do as otherworldly. We are delighted that Olympian Chellsie Memmel will be making her theatrical debut in The Loser Letters.
Someone From Another World
With The Loser Letters, otherworldly is exactly what’s called for. Our main character, A.F. Christian, is being stalked by a demon known as The Shadow. Says director and playwright Jeffrey Fiske, “The Shadow is a non-human character, and we will present a character who moves in ways that are beyond normal human abilities.”
Enter Olympian Chellsie Memmel, who took home a silver in 2008 in gymnastics. “I’m really excited at this opportunity. It’s something a little different for me, outside of my comfort zone,” Chellsie said via a phone interview recently. “It’s a non-speaking role, and it’s totally movement based. The Shadow reacts to the main character. It’ll be very creative. Like a very, very long gymnastics floor routine.”
The Shadow will be a very different performance than what audiences have ever seen before. While all of the character will be done through movement, it isn’t classified as either mime or dance. Says Jeffrey, “This will be something very new and we hope will be the start of new performance styles and opportunities for former Olympic gymnasts. There is so much that they can contribute to live theatre.”
Preparing to Be a Demon
To prepare for the role, Chellsie has been working in the gym that her parents own, getting in shape so she can do light gymnastics again. She’s been talking with Jeffrey to understand what movements are written in the script, and what have still to be created. Also, Chellsie’s been talking with Steven Kemp the set designer to get a sense of what the space will look like. Then it’s off to begin rehearsals in DC in early September.
Learn More About Our Cast And Creative Team
Find out about the other members of the cast and the creative team on our Company Page.