Great Plains Theatre’s new After Dark readers theatre series begins February 17th at 7:00 PM with The Tree House Effect, a comedy written by two local playwrights: Brandon Jensen of Salina, and Great Plains Theatre’s own Mark Warner.
The After Dark series aims to expose Great Plains Theatre’s audience to different types of theatre and highlight stories that couldn’t make it to the main stage, while also appealing to younger theatregoers who are looking for more contemporary works. With the popularity of streaming services and electronic gaming, it grows harder to pull audiences away from their devices and into seats. This problem of attracting younger patrons to what is often misconstrued as an “older generation” activity was what spurred Jensen and Warner to begin writing The Tree House Effect while attending Emporia State University.
Jensen and Warner saw a lack of student attendance at their events and queried that content might be the answer. They began brainstorming a show that could connect to their peers and those first ideas became the framework for the show, which will be performed in Reader’s Theatre style at Great Plains Theatre on February 17th at 7:30.
The first official production of The Tree House Effect resulted after a year of writing, re-writing, asking friends to read rough drafts, and putting on a staged reading. With the additional attention garnered from the staged reading, Emporia State produced Jensen and Warner’s piece as main stage production. This run resulted in a marked increase in student attendance. The show was also chosen for the Kennedy Center America College Theater Festival and was performed for over 2,000 college students and professors from the Midwest.
Attendees of Great Plains Theatre’s After Dark performance of The Tree House Effect will experience the story of 3 friends reconnecting after years apart, using the same games they used to play as kids to help solve their real-world adult problems. Tyson, Jeremy, and Lucas would spend hours in Jeremy’s backyard tree house, using their imagination to transform themselves into cowboys, and gladiators, and spacemen. Since adulthood, however, they’ve grown apart, until one day Jeremy calls them all back to their childhood tree house with some big news.
Tickets for The Tree House Effect are $5 and can be purchased at the door or in advance by calling Great Plains Theatre at (785) 263-4574; Season Ticket Holders enter for free! This performance does contain adult language and themes and is not intended for children. Following the performance there will be a brief Q and A with the original cast as well as both playwrights. Don’t miss your one time chance to see The Tree House Effect.