StarSweeper - February 06 - March 02, 2022

Teamtheatre LLC


Praise from Screenwriter, Timothy Kujawa:


     As you watch Mikaela Duffy's "Starsweeper," you see her, as Riley, vulnerably display her faith in humanity, her audacity to dream, and her drive to be the change she wants to see in the world. To watch "Starsweeper" is to know Mikaela. While Riley's goals extend out to the stars, the lights of Off-Broadway and beyond have looked like stars to Mikaela from her origins in Central Florida. And it has been an honor to watch her reach for them, and to now finally be amongst the stars.

     I had no idea what I was getting into 5 years ago when a colleague asked me to give Mikaela feedback on a script she was working on. The email he forwarded said her characters lacked "... their own unique identity." I gave her my own feedback, but by then she was already digging deeper into character, both as a writer and an actress. Her passion was bright and alluring, her personality stuck me to her like flypaper. That particular piece is still cultivating and fermenting, but what I am most thankful to have come from it was an amazing friendship.

     Her first piece that she wrote and produced for the Orlando Fringe Festival, "For Love, Sir," showcased her drive to have voices be heard. Structured around real letters from armed service Veterans Mikaela was in correspondence with, she used her platform to honor the genuine love that persevered through the horrors of war. A hell of a lot more personal and unique than her original piece.

     Her performances in "John and Jen," and "Queen of Swords," both showcased characters that related to Mikaela on personal levels. One about a sister being protective of her young brother in an abusive household, the other about a true historical master of the blade, willing to fight society itself for what she believed in. Mikaela channeled her own love for her younger sibling and the hardships they persevered through for "John and Jen," as the titular Jen.

     Her ambitions, inevitably, couldn't be constrained to the confines of podunk Florida, she was aiming for the stars, those New York lights. Her U.S.S. Copperfield though was a U-Haul, and her OLGA was, well, me, giving witty repartee as Mikaela ventured into the unknown of the Big Apple. And while those lights weren't exactly stars, it sure felt like we were on one on that hot August day, as we had to make all of her life possessions and furniture fit into that tiny apartment.

     From then on she had to continue her adventure solo. Well, not really, since she's a big heaping ball of charisma, it didn't take long for her to make friends and develop a loving support system in her new world. But that extroverted crave to bond with humanity was put to the test during quarantine. However, like Riley, she didn't let the forced isolation make her go too crazy.

     While her formal studies for her craft were on hold, and her progress as a storyteller in The City That Never Sleeps had to hibernate like the rest of the world, what was she to do? Why, do what any storyteller would do and actually be a larger than life character by participating in the 2020 protests. Despite systemic pushback and beatdown, she refused to stay down and did what she could to give the overlooked a chance for their voice to be heard, to remind them they weren't alone.

     So it was her deep love for people, her drive to make sure no one is forgotten or ignored, and her determination to never give up, to reach for the heavens, that culminates into "StarSweeper." Following a character with an identity as unique as Mikaela herself.

     As you watch this tale of voyaging into the unknown, with little more than hope and a goal, remember Mikaela and her production team's Off-Broadway voyage with their hopes, ambitions, and grit as storytellers.

     I'm truly blessed to have stumbled upon that flashlight's illumination and to have followed it to its source. You have always been there when I needed you, my friend. Keep on shining, and enjoy your time amongst the stars.

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