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Showing their skills

Offering a night of original performances, several local acting students will bring their talents to the stage to benefit Scene One Theatre.

Persephone Hamler rehearses her original monologue in preparation for Scene One Theater's pandemic fundraiser. (Ken Barnes / News Tribune)

Offering a night of original performances, several local acting students will bring their talents to the stage to benefit Scene One Theatre.

Nine students from Out of the Box Actor's Studio will perform original monologues and music in this unique fundraiser for Scene One. Director Shae Marie Eickhoff said the show is an opportunity for her students to showcase their skills, while learning the importance of serving the community by helping Scene One during a difficult time.

"It's good for the kids to learn community service," Eickhoff said.

The global pandemic caused local theaters to close their doors in spring, canceling or postponing shows and losing revenue. Though many, including Scene One, have been reopened for weeks, it's difficult to make up for lost time and money.

Eickhoff said Out of the Box Actor's Studio has always focused on individual instruction in the techniques that go into acting, such as monologue interpretation, audition preparation and character analysis, but a few years ago, some students asked if they could write their own monologues.

"While seeing the value of encouraging actors to write, most actors will not be in a position to perform their own masterpieces," Eickhoff said, noting the exceptions of people like Lin Manuel-Miranda, who both wrote and starred in the Broadway hit "Hamilton." "The studio teaches how to interpret monologues and dialogues from literary works and playwrights. So we decided to write monologues — for other students to perform. It was a fair and rewarding compromise."

For this show, each student was asked to write two monologues, one that they would perform themselves and another for a fellow student. With a plethora of original material ready, Eickhoff said they realized they could help a local theater that often performs original work by turning what would normally be a showcase performance for parents into a fundraiser performance for all to benefit Scene One Theatre.

"This also allowed the student actors the perfect opportunity to perform their own pieces," Eickhoff said.

Students performing range from ages 11-18, and Eickhoff noted five of her students are high school seniors this year, and half of them have been with her since age 10. Since the works are original, audiences should be prepared for some teen angst-driven storylines, comedic and dramatic, that deal with a variety of topics, including the pandemic and remote learning.

"They're writing from the heart," Eickhoff said.

Because some of the students are musically gifted as well, there will be some original music performed, though Eickhoff said that would only be a small portion of the show.

Eickhoff said it's been wonderful to watch her students prepare for these performances, noting three of the students have more than two monologues being performed. She gave the example of one of her high school seniors was too busy to write any monologues with his other school and extracurricular commitments. Other students immediately stepped up to offer to write for him, in addition to their own monologues, she said.

"We're all creators," Eickhoff said."When we're creating something, we're the closest to the creator."

Mark Wegman, founder of Scene One, said seats will be physically distanced and patrons will be asked to wear masks inside that may be removed when seated and watching the show. Shrunken Head Mobile Bar will be on site with tropic drinks for sale.

Shows are set for 7:30 p.m. Oct. 24 and 1 p.m. Oct. 25. Tickets are $10 and can be reserved by email at [email protected] or by phone at 573-635-6713