Greenbelt Voices is Greenbelt-based Transitions Theater’s first production. It comprises of more than 20 dramatic monologues telling the stories of Greenbelt residents. The show debuted at the Greenbelt Arts Center in July 2010, and this year, to celebrate Greenbelt’s 75th anniversary, the director of the show Misha R’kingsley selected nine monologues and they were performed at the New Deal Café on Sunday June 24.
Director Misha R’kingsley introduces Greenbelt Voices. She says that the show premiered in July 2010 and before that she spent a year interviewing people and collecting stories. She says that she moved to Greenbelt in 2002 and wanted to know “what made this town tick.” “I wanted to hear everything, the good, the bad, the ugly, the beautiful, and everything in between.” She interviewed more than 20 people and some also sent her stories by email. The monologues are performed by a group of actors including a few original storytellers.
Marjorie Gray tells a story titled “Rites of Passage”: “When I was a little girl, the library was a very important place for my sister and me…”
Michael Hartman’s story, titled “Gorgeous!” begins with “At the beginning of GHI, we had some crazy rules.” His monologue is about a GHI member who painted her house Georgetown pink (which is echoed here by his pink scarf). “That was quite a scandal in GHI.”
Paul Downs’s story is “The Flight of the Fruit of Looms.” It is about a 16-year-old lifeguard sneaking into the Greenbelt swimming pool on a hot summer night and his pair of black corduroy pants.
Sandra True tells about an accidental fall and its consequences in a monologue titled “The Cat, the Raccoon, and 14 Steps.”
Hopi Auerbach tells about “bringing yoga and laughter to the Greenbelt seniors” in “Laughter Yoga.” “You don’t feel pain when you are laughing.”
Sara Benavides Ambrocio’s monologue, “Pageantry is in the Genes,” is about competing in the Miss Greenbelt pageant.
John Askew tells about coaching a women’s basketball team at Springhill Lake Recreation Center in “God’s Not Gonna Move, If You Sit Down.”
In “The Godfather and the Cat,” Dirk R’kingsley tells about a Tom cat who is “a rare mix of ‘sociability’ and ‘independence.’”
Victoria True tells about “Getting Married… Twice” and she begins with “During the month that I started to date my husband, I married myself.” Her character eventually got married “again” to her real estate agent who sold her her GHI home.
Director Misha R’kingsley tells me after the show that she has a bachelor’s degree in theater arts and a master’s degree in social work and she is interested in blending these experiences. She moved to Greenbelt in 2002 and when she started Transitions Theater, she wanted to “give a shout out” to her hometown and tell its stories. So she put out advertisements in the Greenbelt News Review and the Greenbelters Yahoo email list soliciting stories from Greenbelters, and she posted notices at places like Starbucks and Safeway. She did about 22 interviews with people between the age of 17 and 92, transcribed them, and then with a group pared them down to these monologues. Greenbelt Voices debuted at Greenbelt Arts Center in July 2010. For this special remount for Greenbelt’s 75th anniversary, she chose nine monologues which are more celebratory in nature. Since Greenbelt Voices, Transitions Theater has just finished its second production titled “Divine Intervention” at the Greenbelt Arts Center and is working on a third show called “Question Normality.” Like “Greenbelt Voices,” this newest show also starts with interviews and transcriptions.