As most people were preparing their festivities for the Big Game this past Sunday, a group of performers were getting set to showcase some wholly unique, one-of-a-kind theatrical offerings. The event was part of Shelterbelt Theatre’s 20th Anniversary Write Off, a fundraiser held late last summer to celebrate the theatre’s first two decades.
“While planning for our 20th Anniversary party last July we were brainstorming how to do a little fundraising for the theater,” said Shelterbelt Artistic Director Beth Thompson. “Ellen Struve had the brilliant idea to auction off playwright's to write monologues for specific actors.”
They playwrights were assembled (including Scott Working, Ellen Struve, Joe Basque, Daena Schweiger, Beaufield Berry and Nick Zadina) and the auction began. “Guests at the party could put down a bid and any actor they wanted,” said Thompson. When all was said and done, the winners were announced and the actors were chosen: Barb Ross, Kaitlyn McClincy, Daena Schweiger, Bob Fischbach, Laura Campbell and Steve Krambeck (order paired with writer order from above).
With about a month to go before Sunday’s event, Thompson contacted all of the writers and gathered drafts of monologues the actors would perform. “We had a little rehearsal/tech on Saturday to decide the order and give the actors a chance to be in the space and find a few props if necessary and then [got ready for] Sunday,” Thompson said.
The free afternoon of performances that followed one of the matinee performances of From Shelterbelt with Love was a complete success. Social media was abuzz that if you were lucky enough to attend the one and done show, you would not soon forget it.
“It was one of the most amazing shows I've seen in a long time,” said Thompson. “It was raw, live theater at it's best. Some were written very specifically for the actor (like Bob Fischbach in The Most Interesting Reviewer in Omaha), while others felt like the writer created a ‘dream role’ for their performer.”
After seeing the success of the event, the Shelterbelt will no doubt be looking for ideas for next season’s fundraisers.
“It was a lot of fun with a lot of talent on one stage,” she said. “I can not wait to do it again. I think we should make it an annual thing!!”
Cold Cream looks at theater in the metro area. Email information to firstname.lastname@example.org