"It's Christmas and people like to do Christmas stuff, so I took my favorite Christmas book and worked it into a script we could perform."
Bonnie Terrell is describing the live reading of a "thoroughly bonkers Christmas classic" she's putting together with the newly formed Shoestring Theatre Co. Terrell is co-founder, along with Keira Davenport, Don Cooper and Charles Bowen, and they have a very untraditional tale to tell this season.
"The book is only a few years old and I consider it a minor classic," explains Terrell. "But I think not enough people have heard of it. It's a great option for people who are tired of the same old stuff every Christmas."
And which book, exactly, is she referring to? Terrell remains tight-lipped about that because, she says, Christmas is all about surprises, after all. She does say it's definitely not for kids, since the narrative involves various adult themes, recreational substances and at some point, zombies. She says their production is for those who might be a little fed up with the same old offerings every holiday season, such as "A Christmas Carol" and "The Night Before Christmas."
Shoestring Theatre is having none of that sentimental claptrap. Their production is meant to be a holiday palate cleanser, if you will.
"If grandma is really cool or something, go ahead and bring her," Terrell says.
Otherwise, leave the kids at home with "It's a Wonderful Life."
Their production is a reader's theater-style performance, so while there will be sound effects and genuine actors acting, there won't be much in the way of stagecraft or props. Think of it as a sort of Garrison Keillor radio play on drugs.
They'll be performing in the cozy environs of The Guild Hall on Montgomery Street, and anyone who's familiar with the geek-friendly location will realize it's a pretty natural fit for what the Shoestring Theatre is trying to pull off.
"Part of the creative challenge is to see how much we can do with as little as possible," Terrell says. Hence the moniker.
"Also, part of our mission is to educate Savannah audiences a little bit, because I think some of them don't realize that this magic that happens on stage costs people a lot of time and money," she says. "Part of the point is putting our poverty front and center and making that part of the experience ... Think of us as a charity for hard-working actors."
Terrell's holiday wish is that they make enough income from this performance to pay for the space and then actually give some money back to the actors.
So if you're a bit jaded by the same ol' same ol' every Christmas season, shell out a few bucks to have an entertaining time and help the Shoestring Theatre's angel get its wings.