Hunting for Truth: Local playwrights interweave 10 tales about geocaching in new work

Kendra Lamer, photos by Andrea Paulseth

A TENSE QUEST. A rehearsal for Jim and Jane Jeffries’ newest work, Treasure Hunt, which focuses on the trials and tribulations of a treasure hunting game called Geocaching.
A TENSE QUEST. A rehearsal for Jim and Jane Jeffries’ newest work, Treasure Hunt, which focuses on the trials and tribulations of a treasure hunting game called Geocaching.

Who knew that hunting for treasure could lead to proposals and political discussions?

Treasure Hunt, a comedic play made up of 10 intertwining stories about geocaching, will premiere at the Chippewa Valley Theatre Guild’s Grand Theatre on May 17 at 7:30 pm. Two more performances will follow, on May 18 at 7:30pm and May 19 at 1:30pm.

The play will serve as a fundraiser for the Chippewa Valley Theatre Guild. Proceeds will go towards improving the stage lighting at the theater.

“I think we’ve been growing as writers. People expect funny from us. We’ve sort of surprised them in the past few years. Life is funny, but life’s also serious.” – Jane Jeffries, on the plays she writes with her husband, Jim

“It’s a mix of comedy and serious, mostly comedy,” said Jane Jeffries, one of the play’s writers and directors. “But the overall themes are dealing with relationships or reconciliation.” She and her husband, Jim, who have called Eau Claire home for the last 28 years, co-wrote and co-directed the play.

The play follows 10 different groups of geocachers who set out to find hidden objects. The plots are connected by the objects they find, and how those objects affect the characters’ relationships. Geocaching is an outdoor activity in which players use GPS coordinates to find “caches” hidden by other players. When a person finds a cache, they may log their name and exchange an item, such as a toy, a token, or other small object, for one from the cache. There are about 100 geocaches in the Eau Claire area. Jane and Jim read up on geocaching and talked to friends who are geocachers to learn more about the activity.

Jane said she and Jim were also inspired by 10-minute scripts, short plays that are trending in the theater community. Treasure Hunt is flexible enough to allow directors to produce the play in its entirety or just in one section. The couple submitted some of the scenes to contests to be workshopped as a way to “test drive.”

“It sort of progresses,” Jane said. “We’ve added bits and pieces, scraps of different stories.”

To date, they have written 25 scripts, 20 of which were published with a variety of publishing houses. The plays are usually performed at community theaters and high schools. The two started writing comedies, but more recent plays are about relationships, especially the topic of reconciliation. Many of the storylines from Treasure Hunt follow this theme.

“I think we’ve been growing as writers,” Jane said. “People expect funny from us. We’ve sort of surprised them in the past few years. Life is funny, but life’s also serious.”

After the premiere, the co-writing couple hope to revise the script and send the final draft for publishing so that others can perform the play in its entirety, or pick and choose storylines.

Chippewa Valley Theatre Guild Presents: Treasure Hunt • Friday-Saturday, May 17-18, 7:30pm • Sunday, May 19, 1:30pm • The Grand Theatre, 102 W. Grand Ave., Eau Claire • $20 adults, $10 youth • (715) 832-7529 • cvtg.org

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