The Sidewalk Ends Here

Bare Bones presents short plays by Shel Silverstein

Heidi Kraemer, photos by Andrea Paulseth

Bare Bones is preparing to present An Evening of Shel Silverstein.

    There’s a light glowing up in the attic. It’s Shel Silverstein and his plays! Not many people know that the popular children’s book author wrote a number of adult plays. The Eau Claire Bare Bones Ensemble Theater invites you to climb up those dusky stairs to their glowing stage for a riotous adult evening of Shel Silverstein.

Started in 1998, Bare Bones is a small, independent acting troupe with a dozen members. Working to promote an appreciation for the arts, they enjoy bringing quirky, risqué, and thought-provoking community theater to the stage. “What we are doing is exciting because we get to take more risks than say The Eau Claire Theater Guild – we have nothing to lose by exposing ourselves on stage,” Rose Dolan-Neill, one of the actors, explained with a laugh. This is their first time bringing Shel Silverstein’s plays to the stage and they’re eager to show you what they have been working so hard on.

Laced with his gleeful and, at times, grim humor, these plays reflect Shel Silverstein’s observations of relationships and culture. He explores what it’s like to be a modern adult and is not lacking in sexual humor. There are 10 short plays in all: One Tennis Shoe, when a husband tells his wife that she is becoming a bag lady, Going Once, a confrontation between a man and a woman at a bus stop, The Best Daddy, where a father gives his daughter a ‘special’ birthday present, The Life Boat is Sinking, where a married couple is seen playing a game to determine their important roles of marriage, Smile, the abduction of the happy face logo designer (Shel hated that happy face), Wash and Dry, a regular transaction at a laundry mat goes astray, Thinking Up a New Name for the Act, two Vaudevillians can be observed brainstorming their pre-show, Buy One Get One Free, depicting two streetwalkers laying out their terms (did we mention that this is for mature audiences only?), and to end with, Blind Willie and the Talking Dog, the story of an old bluesman and his dog.

The cast will be breaking down that wall on stage that divides the actors from their audience. Acknowledging their audience, each actor has their own persona they will be portraying that interweaves throughout the various characters they will be playing. “We hope to make it as eccentric, crazy, and entertaining as we can while staying true to the word of Shel,” Rose said. Shel Silverstien’s artwork and poetry will be incorporated throughout the show, plus great music from local musicians Matt Florence and Adrien Klenz.

Coming to the end of the sidewalk, it’s now up to you whether you show up for this evening of music, profanity, acting, dancing, poetry, and laughter. Don’t end up a woulda-shoulda-coulda!

An Evening of Shel Silverstein • March 18-20 • Grand Little Theater, 102 W Grand Ave, Eau Claire • 8pm • $7 • mature audiences only • 832-7529

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