she has been acting since she was 11 years old, Milwaukee’s Liz
Shipe didn’t set out to be a writer. But over the past two years,
she has become one of the city’s most prolific playwrights.
Cinderella story was inevitable for Shipe, 26, who has always loved
the theater. As a high school student in Fond du Lac, she and a group
of friends pulled together their own production of "The Complete
Works of William Shakespeare (abridged)," the comedy penned by
Adam Long, Daniel Singer and Jess Winfield.
Shipe pays the
bills by working at Massage Envy, but her passion is illuminated by
footlights. While stage-managing a play at the Brumder Mansion, a
Milwaukee bed and breakfast, she suggested to the owners that the
English Arts and Crafts setting would be the perfect location for a
Sherlock Holmes mystery. They challenged her to write the script, and
she couldn’t resist.
show sold out before the opening," she recalls. So the Brumder
owners commissioned a sequel, then a third play and a holiday musical.
After writing a
one-act for the Pink Banana Theatre Co., Shipe penned her most recent
project for Theater Red. "A Lady in Waiting" is an offbeat
interpretation of the Robin Hood story from the point of view of Maid
Marian’s maid. None of the characters, Shipe says — the narrator,
not even Robin Hood — are what they appear to be.
Shipe took on
the role of Maid Marian and has acted in each of her shows. Once the
story gets "out of my head and onto paper," she says,
"it doesn’t feel like I wrote it anymore." She says she
often has to rememorize her lines.
"I want to
keep pushing," she says. "One day, I would like to see
myself perform at the Skylight or the Rep or something like that. I
just want to go as far as I possibly can with it."