Roger Moore's 1989 documentary “Roger & Me,” about the harm General Motors' downsizing caused to Flint, Mich., got Scott Working thinking. And writing.
Working, who now teaches playwriting at Metropolitan Community College, wrote “V of Geese” in 1993 as a college student. He wanted to show not just how horrible it is to lose your job, but to lose all your customers — at a diner, in this case — because a nearby factory closed.
“V of Geese” became the first play staged by the Shelterbelt Theatre, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary this week by reviving Working's play.
Working walked into what was then Kilgore's, a lunch counter/coffee shop at 3225 California St., and talked the owner into hosting his play, set in a diner. That way he wouldn't have the expense of building a set.
Kilgore's later went out of business, and the Shelterbelt took over the space, becoming Omaha's only theater focused solely on staging original scripts. Working had no idea what his little play was starting.
“It felt like a one-shot deal,” he said last week. “But the thrill I had as a writer, seeing my work materialize before my eyes, was such a good feeling I wanted to share it.”
Working said he's glad to see the theater in good hands today, with leaders who share his belief that staging local and original scripts is an important component of the metro's theater community.
Steve Hartman is directing the “V of Geese” revival. At 23, Hartman is the same age Working was when it was originally staged. He said the script has held up well.
“We haven't had to make any changes,” he said, since the recent recession proved the story remains relevant today, as does its theme of defining home. But he will keep “V of Geese” set around 1990.
“For the Shelterbelt to go this far, with this rich history, I don't think they were expecting that back in 1993,” Hartman said. “It's grown bigger than they could have imagined.”
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