Yarn spinner seeks winner

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Actor Shane Strawbridge will visit a Denton County classroom for a performance — if the class concocts a good enough hoax or lie.

Convincing lie can earn students a visit from supreme storyteller

Texas Woman’s University graduate student Shane Strawbridge wants to take his next show to the kids, so to speak.

Strawbridge plays the extravagant storyteller central to the comedy Shipwrecked! An Entertainment: The Amazing Adventures of Louis de Rougemont (As Told by Himself), in TWU’s upcoming production of the play by Donald Margulies.

Strawbridge also works at an Irving elementary school. Hence his idea to reward a grade school class for crafting a believable lie or hoax.

De Rougemont was a real Frenchman who avoided European military service (his father’s dream for him) by colluding with his mother to raise the money needed to send him aboard a seaworthy vessel on a pearling mission. As de Rougemont told it, he did indeed board that ship, intending to search the waters for precious pearls.

Then along came a giant octopus that, as legend has it, attacked the ship and caused it to wreck just off the coast of Australia.

Strawbridge will perform the title role of the show in February.

“I just thought it might be a good idea to get classes at Denton County elementary schools — public and private — to try to win a contest,” Strawbridge said. “I’d visit the winning class in full costume and makeup and read from the book the play is based on.”

The actor, who was seen in the role of the family dog last summer in the TWU children’s show Bunnicula, is extending the offer to any Denton County kindergarten through fifth-grade class that concocts a tall tale in essay form.

The rules:

* The class must dream up a hoax or a lie together.

* The class must condense the lie into a short essay, from 100 to 200 words.

* The hoax or lie must be submitted by e-mail to shane@shanestrawbridge.com by Jan. 15.

* The winning class will be notified on Feb. 1. Strawbridge will visit the winning class on Feb. 20.

Performances of Shipwrecked are scheduled for 8 p.m. Feb. 19, 21 and 22; 4 p.m. Feb. 20; and 2 p.m. Feb. 22 and 23. Tickets cost $10 for adults, $5 for students and seniors. A pay-what-you-can option will offered at the 2 p.m. Feb. 22 performance.

The three-performer play is suitable for all ages. For more information, visit www.twu.edu/drama or call 940-898-2020.

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