DECATUR — Last year, Theatre 7 directors asked the community for some writing help, and so many talented playwrights were found, they asked again.

“10, Din and a Grin” is a mix of seven 10-minute plays written by local authors. The skits will be performed on stage in a dinner theater setting Friday, Aug. 18, and Friday, Aug. 19, at Doherty's Pub and Pins.

The Theatre 7 board asked the public for play submissions in April, and 25 plays were received. Seven made the cut.

The playwrights are given few rules, but because of the limited space, the plays must have little or no sets. “We don't have lighting or space,” said John Poling, a Theatre 7 member and one of four directors for "10, Din and a Grin."

Many of the skits are humorous, which is important the directors, Poling said.

“We know our audiences; they want to laugh,” he said. “Make them think, but make them laugh.”

Shawn Butler wrote one of last year's works, addressing multiple generations and their use of social media. His contribution to this year's dinner theater adds humor to current political battles.

“There is no reason to get over-dramatic about it,” Butler said about his play. “We must look at the bigger picture.”

Butler, who has been associated with Theatre 7 for 20 years, said humor is great for the audience.

“They want witty writing,” he said. “The last thing you want to do is depress people.”

In the past, Theatre 7 has worked with local restaurants and facilities to produce their plays and fundraisers, including the Main Hangar at Decatur Airport. Since that restaurant has closed, the community theater has now connected with Doherty's.

Poling said Theatre 7 must raise funds throughout the year to produce the well-known plays to which their fans are accustomed.

“The rights to the plays for musicals are expensive,” he said. “If you break even, you are happy.”

Theatre 7's three murder-mystery season kicks off in October with “Clue: The Musical.” Other productions are “And Then There were None,” based on the novel by Agatha Christie, and “The Murder Room.”

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Staff Writer

“Together Decatur” columnist, food and entertainment reporter for the Herald & Review.

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