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Women's One Acts

The Eden Prairie Players celebrates women's achievements in theater with a special selection of plays

Eden Prairie Players producer Liz Michaelson had a fortuitous start in the theater. She owes it to being prepared.

“My fourth or fifth grade class was putting together some little play about cowboys,” Liz recalled. “I don’t remember the name of it, but the lead role called for a double holster. Every kid back in the ‘50s had one for their cap gun, but I was the only kid in my class who had two. That was the first spark for me.

“I majored in theater in college, but always preferred to stay in production unless I could dance onstage. My back eventually kept me solely in production. I’ve produced plays for years and years now, and have spent the past 16 of them with the Eden Prairie Players, the city’s community theater program.”

A small, jingling voice cut out Liz’s at this point during the phone call: “Can I have a pickle?” I excused the producer as she retrieved a dill from the kitchen, accompanied by a gentle lesson on not interrupting grammy while she is being interviewed. “Is it good?” asked Liz. “It tastes like pickles!” answered the jingling voice.

“We have always had a strong female presence in the Eden Prairie Players, where women outnumber men five to one,” Liz resumed. “I can’t say that women are generally more inclined toward community theater, but I’ve certainly always been drawn to it. I find that women are often more empathetic to the creative needs of other performers and artists, and receptive to suggestions from the people they work with.

“Despite women’s contributions to the theater, we found that they are still underrepresented in the writing and directing community. We started the Women's One Acts in 2018 to address that very problem. The Women’s One Acts are an opportunity to bring much deserved attention to great female playwrights from across the country. We also bring on female directors from throughout the Twin Cities metro area who have ranged in age from their early 20s to their 70s.

“Every year we welcome any writer to send her play to us. This year we received 250 submissions in only two days, at which point we had to stop accepting any more! Our reading committee of about 20 people kept busy reviewing all of the plays -- reading them, rating them, and then reading them again until they were whittled down to the seven we would produce. We then assigned each play to its respective director, taking into consideration what we learned about her artistic vision during her interview.”

Every play in this year’s Women’s One Acts is an unpublished gem for audiences to discover. The plays are one act long, as you may have gathered, so performances will feature all seven of them back to back.

Cupid’s Bow presents a glimpse of two strangers’ meeting in a coffee shop, their flurry of awkward flirtations, and a twist at the end that Liz refuses to spoil. The Invention of Pickle Ball explores what might happen if an older couple attended a wedding where clothing is optional. Central to the couple’s debate on whether they should participate in the déshabillé is how it  might affect their performance on the titular sporting arena. 

Rock Star depicts a woman who takes her daughter to a concert, and the malaise that ensues when the eager daughter’s idol does not respond to their meeting as anticipated. Cut and Run is about a middle-aged lady who enters a beauty salon for an “update.” Her spunky stylist is full of suggestions, but can she perceive the inner turmoil that spurred her new client to change in the first place?

Secret Family Recipes is a modern-day Cain and Abel parable of sorts: After the death of their mother, two sisters fight over who gets to keep her favorite recipes. Precisely why they were her favorites may tell the sisters more about their mother than they expect. Family Baggage further expounds on the theme of family relationships as a couple attempts to form a fragile connection while waiting for a plane.

Finally, this year’s Women’s One Acts will feature Spark F***ing Joy, a telling of two sisters’ dilemma when tasked with sorting through their late mother’s personal effects. (The writer of that play very graciously censored its title herself so that the good people at Eden Prairie Players wouldn’t have to.)

“No one’s going to get rich doing community theater,” said Liz. “I know that well. But the connection we get to make with the community, as well as this opportunity to showcase the incredible talents of so many women nationwide, makes everything worthwhile.” She added that men should not get bent out of shape about the production featuring women only, because it doesn’t: Men play important roles in it as well. Hopefully one day they will select my play for production, which is essentially Tennessee Williams’ Sweet Bird of Youth except all the actors are trained German Shepherds.

The Women’s One Acts are presented in the Riley-Jacques Barn at Riley Lake Park. In light of recent events this year’s May production is tentatively rescheduled for September. You may learn more about the Eden Prairie Players and purchase tickets for their upcoming performances at