Found Fossil Inspires New Play at The Players



When someone imagines wildlife in Florida, they most often envision dolphins, alligators, snakes and, for the macabre, roaches and spiders. But between 10,000 and 12,000 years ago, the Florida landscape was trampled by the heavy feet of prehistoric elephants. In 2005, this extraordinary facet of the state’s past would receive a tangible talisman in the form of mammoth fossils collected at the site of a 2005 construction project at Palma Sola Golf Club.

Connie Schindewolf, the retired drama teacher and playwright behind Mammoth Bones, is a current resident at the golf club and in 2005 was among the many future residents fascinated by the historic find at their yet-to-be completed community. “When it happened, it just started going around in my brain and I knew I had to write a play that involved that,” says Schindewolf, who treats her writing like a full-time job. Fast-forward 12 years—or 10–12 thousand—and one can hear the echo of the mammoth’s call in Schindewolf’s play. Mammoth Bones centers on a man suffering from depression and anxiety who finds a mammoth bone while gardening. He is himself an out-of-date fossil, searching for meaning while his only child is off at college.

Schindewolf’s commitment to the craft won her the opportunity to witness the fruition of her first full-length production at Player’s Centre for Performing Arts, as winner of last year's New Play Festival competition, which saw budding playwrights from across the country submit their work for consideration. Five of the top plays are selected for an onstage read-through by actors, with only one being chosen to be fully produced with costumes and sets the following year. Mammoth Bones made the final cut last year and Schindewolf could not be more excited. “It’s a real experience because as soon as you win you know that means production,” says Schindewolf. “And when you’re a playwright that’s your ultimate goal.”

Mammoth Bones runs through August 27 at the Player’s Centre for Performing Arts with show times at 7:30pm on Friday and Saturday, and a 2pm matinee on Sunday. Tickets are $15.

Pictured, from left: Jesse Rosenberg and Mark Shoemaker in "Mammoth Bones." Photo by Amanda Heisey.

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