Some theater companies have found it tough to compete with the outdoors during Montana's summer months, but two Bozeman writers rose to the challenge.
"Don't Close Your Eyes" is as close as you get to an old-fashioned radio show, with an audience, actors and sound effects made from scratch.
"I think it's great for the audience that it's so kinetic back there, especially since we're standing there and we're giving it our all but we are standing in front of mic's while people behind us are running around, throwing things, picking up boxes and dropping different stuff and moving little shoes and turning cranks and yeah, it's fun. It's very different," explains actress Sarah Jackson.
Writer and long-time KGLT radio host Keith Suta took the idea to Equinox Theatre board members with writer Ryan Cassavaugh last summer.
"Gosh, you're dark in the summer because it's not economical to put on a play. Why don't Ryan and I write something together, we'll do them kind of radio style. We won't have to spend any money on costumes. You don't have to pay us to do them and then the theater will make a little dough," recalls Suta.
Since then, the shows have taken off.
This year they've been bringing in 40 to 60 guests every time and helping the Equinox fill their coffers in the slow months of summer.
"This has brought in money where, otherwise, we would just be bleeding money, hemorrhaging money, through just keeping the theater open," says Equinox Theatre Board Member Bennett Drozic.
With a new genre and a new plotline every week and only six days to put it all together, Suta says it's a tough gig but a gratifying one.
"The best part of this is people get to enjoy it on two levels. There's this new, original story every week and then you also see all of the nuts and bolts of how it comes together and how these sound effects are made," says Suta.
Folks with the Equinox say they couldn't be more pleased.
"The radio plays have really saved us through the summer," exclaims Drozic.
"Don't Close Your Eyes" plays at 8 p.m. every Friday and Saturday at the Equinox Theatre through July 28th.
Tickets are $7 for adults and $5 for students.