On a steamy Saturday, July 31st, my friends and I headed to Greenbelt to witness Greenbelt Voices, a series of true monologues/short stories experienced by Greenbelt residents, played out by actors, also Greenbelt residents, at the Greenbelt Arts Center.

Let’s face it: the Greenbelt Arts Center (below the Greenbelt Co-op) is a dark, dank place. But, in the spirit of all things Greenbelt, I had the feeling that the producers of the show do everything in Greenbelt, with Greenbelt, and using Greenbelt’s resources. They are literally the epitome of GREEN. I’m sure a ton of money was saved by using the Greenbelt Arts Center, and they (the people within the city of Greenbelt) are definitely an example to follow.

That being said, we got comfortable and the show began. One of the hosts would appear with another in a Ralph Kramden/Ed Norton duo and offer a quirky little anecdote about the neighborhood of Greenbelt, emphasizing the strange sights and the residents extraordinary willingness to use natural resources. To which we, the audience, were prompted to chant, “ONLY IN GREENBELT!” After which, an unknown person would appear and perform one of the true-story monologues.

The stories given by the actors varied widely, but they were all entertaining, and even enlightening. One story was about a woman who, as a little girl in Greenbelt, was overjoyed when she got her first library card. It was as if a whole new world had just become available to her.

One guy told the story of sneaking into the Greenbelt pool and losing his pants after the cops showed up. The stories were told with such fervor and excitement that it was hard to believe that they didn’t originally come from the actors telling them.

There was a woman crowned Miss Greenbelt for a spell, whose daughter planned to carry on that tradition, no matter the consequences.

Then there was my favorite, a woman who vowed to never get married to anyone, so instead, married herself. She had an actual ceremony and everything, and promised to live, laugh and love herself and others everyday. Much to her chagrin, she ended up marrying someone anyway, and made the same promises to him.

Surprise! My homegirl Nicole’s significant other, Ryan, was one of the Greenbelt Voices! Here he is below, during his monologue about misguided youth in his community, and how their circumstances caused him to start two youth programs.

I heard that this was Ryan’s first acting debut, but it was hard to believe because he performed so well. I really believed he was the sensitive character distraught about the fate of the youth that he cared for.

Greenbelt Voices was full of laughter, loss, love and learning experiences. It was awesome. All communities should perform enlightening shows like these. But as they say, “ONLY IN GREENBELT!”
(i had to do it)

Support the Performing Arts!