EMU Theatre's new show will feature music, monologues and more.
The actors of EMU Theatre have worked hard over the last year, and to celebrate their first anniversary as an independent theater company they are throwing themselves an anniversary bash and inviting the public.
"EMU Theatre's First Anniversary (No) Talent Show" will open for one night only at The Bottleneck, 737 N.H. Performances are at 7 p.m. and 10 p.m.
Co-founder Andy Stowers promised the show would feature a little bit of everything.
"It's really a free-for-all. We'll have music and poetry readings and comedy sketches," Stowers said. "It's an anything goes kind of show."
And while the early show is family-friendly, performers may change the script a bit for the later performance.
"It probably won't change much, but it might because the later crowd usually tends to be a little rowdier," cast member Melissa Shimkovitz said.
All the actors who participated in EMU over the past year were invited to perform at the anniversary show. Many of them are working independently on the production, rehearsing their material on their own time in small groups.
The troupe performed its first show in August 1998 and has staged nine productions at various locales since then. Stowers estimated that 50 to 60 Lawrence actors have participated in the different shows.
Giving actors a chance to perform is what the group is all about, Stowers said.
"EMU exists for people who want to work and who have the drive and desire," he said.
EMU has concentrated on staging previously unpublished works by local and regional playwrights. Its diverse material has ranged from farcical and sketch comedy to heavy drama.
"We are open to any style," Stowers said.
The company has an informal working arrangement when producing a new show. Its members will often gather to read new material, and when they find a work they like, the performers decide who will direct and then they cast the production.
"For an unorganized collective we don't fight very much over material," Stowers said with a laugh.
EMU has collaborated with other Lawrence acting groups, including Card Table Productions, and the actors feel there are plenty of opportunities for all the performers. Many of the actors in one company will often work in another company's show.
"There's a lot of cross-over locally," Stowers said.
But is it really worth all the effort?
"I'd say if people come to the shows then there is justification right there," Stowers said. "We just want to build our audience and try to make enough money to continue."
-- Mitch Near is a part-time writer for the Journal-World. Send e-mail to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.