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

Take two at Scene One.

Almost seven months after having to cancel their event due to COVID-19, the students at Out of the Box Actor’s Studio will return May 13 to the Scene One Theatre stage for their FUNdraiser showcase to benefit the theater.

The performance will showcase original monologues and music created by eight students, ages 15-18, in Director Shae Marie Eickhoff’s acting classes.

Eickhoff said she typically holds two showcases a year at Scene One where her students perform others’ works. But every other year, she allows them to write their own pieces and workshop them in during class time. The combination of original, royalty-free content and the desire to give back to Scene One, which has let her hold the showcases for free for at least 10 years and counting, led to the fundraiser idea.

It was originally scheduled for October 2020, but around that time Scene One founders Mark and Tracy Wegman decided to let the theater go dark to weather the COVID storm. The first performance back, Neil Simon’s “Barefoot in the Park” opens tonight, with shows at 7:30 p.m. today through Saturday as well as 2 p.m. Saturday at 623 Ohio St.

The following weekend’s Out of the Box performance for Eickhoff is a long time coming; five of the eight students are seniors, two of whom have been taking classes with her since age 9, she said, noting she’s proud their final performance will benefit Scene One and include their original works.

Eickhoff said the student monologues and musical pieces to be performed May 13 range in genre and topic with most focusing on issues impacting high-schoolers — relationships, trying to fit in, getting a driver’s license, life goals.

“The maturity of these pieces, you can’t think of these as kid’s stories,” she said. “These kids are older than they are because of COVID. COVID caused them to grow up fast, and they’re writing that way. These kids are exceptional; you’re not going to see a high school production.”

Because of the changes COVID-19 has brought to every facet of life, Eickhoff said several students — most of whom wrote at least two monologues, one for themself and one for someone else to perform — ended up rewriting their works.

“Everything that is monumental to being a high-schooler didn’t happen, and they’re writing about that,” she noted. “When you’re getting up and it’s raw and you’re telling stories that are close to your heart that mean something to you or have affected you emotionally in some way and to be honest in front of people, that is what acting is about.”

Tickets for the May 13 performance cost $10 and can be reserved by email at [email protected] or by phone at 573-635-6713.

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