THEATER | “River of Passion”: Flower Shop Project to bring a five-night, five-episode soap opera to the BLB stage

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Serial killers, kidnappings, love triangles, and of course amnesia set the stage for the Flower Shop Project’s River of Passion—a new series of soap opera episodes they plan to stage at the Bryant-Lake Bowl on July 2, 9, 16, 23, and 30. Written by Flower Shop company members Bethany Hummel, Brenna Jones, and Stephen Moeller, the series will feature a new episode very week.


Each of the five episodes will include a “previously seen” segment, a credits section, and an “on the next episode” section, according to director Gretchen Weinrich. The soap opera idea is an experiment that the company has been talking about for several years. “We thought it would be funny and also we thought it would be a challenge,” she said. The Flower Shop Project was founded in 2004, and produced its first full season of plays last year.


A fan of The Young and The Restless, Weinrich said River of Passion will most resemble the television soap Passions in that it parodies the genre itself. “We elevate the genre to its most outlandish form,” she said, noting that the company plans to squeeze a season full of dramatic moments into just five episodes.


Weinrich said the Bryant-Lake Bowl was an ideal venue for the project, because it “attracts a really fun audience.” The BLB, Weinrich said, is “ideal for this kind of comedy” though the small stage poses a challenge. “We have to be clever with the scenic design,” Weinrich said.


Weinrich said that the episodes will follow two main story lines and involve a cast of 15 featured actors, with an additional 20 other actors making cameo appearances. She said the main challenges to the project have been logistic, with all the scene changes, costumes, and of course, lines for the main actors. Despite the challenges, however, Weinrich said the company is having a lot of fun putting the show together. “It’s just a pleasure,” she said. “Everyone is into the idea.”