If the Theatre Arts Guild gave a TAG award for the most interesting way to end July and enter August, it would go to the Shelterbelt Theatre and its leaders, Craig Bond and Ellen Struve.

The Belt jumped from Crash! Boom! Pow! to Instant Theatre Boot Camp and the remounting of 5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche.

After the Ben Beck/Molly Welsh play, writers were paired up last weekend to write 15-minute plays for casts of two or three players. They met Sunday evening with directors and actors with rehearsals beginning “as soon as possible thereafter,” Bond explained.

Tech rehearsal was scheduled for Saturday morning, Aug. 4, followed by performances at 8 p.m. and again at 2 p.m. Sunday. In other words, instant theater is a little less instant than past efforts (all on the same weekend), giving “more time to flesh out the potential.”

But there’s more. The quiche-eating lesbians return, directed by Colton Neidhardt, at 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday.

That means you should arrive Friday for quiche only, Saturday and Sunday for instant plus quiche. In all cases, the cost is $10 at the Belt, 3225 California.

Speaking of TAG awards, ballots were all due by July 25, so any further comments here have less than the usual miniscule chance of influencing voters. So here’s a follow-up on my recent picks for the season’s funniest contenders in the comedy category.

I was surprised to see Jim McKain’s Edna in Hairspray nominated for outstanding lead actor in a musical. Not that McKain is undeserving after a remarkable performance, but I didn’t think that big momma was considered a leading role. I guess it was since it lured John Travolta into the movie role.

Of the five outstanding lead actress in a musical nominees, Kirstin Kluver and Melanie Walters were as good as you’d expect these proven talents to be as Roxie and Velma in Chicago, which may explain why I’d pick Jennifer Tritz from the The Fantasticks as the surprise pleasure in this category.

When it comes to supporting and featured actors, there are so many standouts that they won’t fit into this space. Perhaps because of the uneasiness that accompanies the musical Assassins, my memories of Steve Hartman as the squirrelly Byck and Ben Beck as suave John Wilkes Booth registered more vividly than most others.

But these are not predictions. The results await the Sunday, Aug. 12, Gala at Metro’s Swanson Center.

Cold Cream looks at theater in the metro area. Email information to coldcream@thereader.com.

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