Anna Agniel Bushlack is an actor, playwright, and story coach. She gained a BFA in Theatre Studies and playwriting from the Meadows School of the Arts at Southern Methodist University. She created her solo show, Slow Children Playing, and toured it to theater festivals in Chicago, Cincinnati (Producer’s Pick of the Fringe Award), New York City and Los Angeles. In 2019 she launched her own business, Storiespeak, to coach other people in telling their stories through writing, storytelling and solo performance. In 2020, Anna wrote a new full-length play, Below Time, that she workshopped with Fair Assembly theatre company in Dallas, TX. Anna lives in St. Louis with her husband and three lively, creative children who all love to tell stories.
The United States’ electrical grid has been attacked leaving the country without power. A young journalist in Chicago receives a transponder from her father that can ensure safe passage to a luxury condo bunker in Kansas. She must solidify her interracial romantic relationship while reckoning with her father, her past, and the societal aftermath of the blackout both on the surface and underground.
Anna's sister, Mary Kate is developmentally delayed and had her first psychotic break at the age of 15, when Anna was 17. Agniel brings Mary Kate to life onstage via intense attention to detail—creating distinct rhythms of stilted speech, holding her head and limbs at particular angles for particular types of activities, and dozens of other nuances. By simply letting us get to know her sister intimately as a specific human being—someone who's direct; deeply feeling; perpetually frustrated with her dog; and who balances her frequent confusion with a pure joy for being alive—Agniel forces us to see past labels and love Mary Kate, too.
In 1968, a Vietnam soldier returns home from the war expecting to find relief and peace. Life with his family is tense, and he is plagued by anxiety, paranoia, and PTSD. His teenage son protests the war while his young daughter telekinetic.