When his wife, Bend actress, director and choreographer Mary Kilpatrick, expressed interest in checking out Eagle Mountain Event Center as a possible venue for theater productions, Howard Schor was a little skeptical.
“She said, ‘I heard there’s a church under the Boot Barn that has some kind of a theater,’” Schor said. He’d seen enough of other church stages to firmly decline her invite, knowing — or believing, rather — that they just won’t work for fully staged theater productions.
Eventually, she went and had a look without her disbelieving husband.
“She came over, and she said, ‘Howard, you’re not going to believe it. It’s fabulous,’” Schor said. About a month later, he saw Eagle Mountain with his own eyes.
Skip ahead to now: Two Twisted Sisters Productions, the film and theatrical company Schor runs in partnership with author and filmmaker Dan Cohen, returns with another iteration of the storytelling series “To Tell the Truth” at 7 p.m. Saturday at, you guessed it, Eagle Mountain Event Center, the home of Eagle Mountain Fellowship, a non-denominational church that has called it home since March 2016, according to Eric Schaffner, a pastor there.
Two Twisted Sisters staged its past shows in the Old Stone Church and 2nd Street Theater. With the shuttering of 2nd Street Theater in January, and the Old Stone Church’s transformation from a venue into a bike shop last year, there are fewer rental stages available for production companies such as theirs. Eagle Mountain has hosted nonprofit fundraisers and, in April, Bend Chamber of Commerce’s Woman of the Year event, Schaffner said.
Seating in the venue is adjustable. Black chairs are arranged to accommodate more than 200 people on the sunken hardwood floor — the dance floor of the former nightclub — but it can hold up to 429 per the fire code, Schaffner said.
Schor is confident that Eagle Mountain will prove a viable hall for “To Tell the Truth” and, come March 2020, that production of “Gypsy.” (Auditions will be held Oct. 14 and 15.)
“Everybody who walks in here goes, ‘Oh my God,’” Schor said. His reaction was no different.
Last year, the two collaborated on a feature film, written and directed by Cohen, titled “A Stone in the Water.” Cohen describes it as an intelligent thriller. It’s set to premiere at the Ft. Lauderdale International Film Festival in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, in November.
That’s a story for another time, Cohen said, stresses the amount of local talent living in Bend. Aside from the film’s leads, most of the cast is made up of local actors. And there was just as many skilled folks to work behind the scenes, too. Cohen and Schor hope to screen the film locally in the coming months.
“This town has so much talent for a town its size,” Cohen said.
“That kind of leads into all the talent here is local talent,” Schor said, referring to “To Tell the Truth.” Along with storytelling from folks such as Kilpatrick, Elise Franklin and Thor Erickson. Dave Finch will provide piano accompaniment for the show, which will also feature songs from husband and wife Ryan and Kara Klontz, regulars of Bend musical theater. The two also have roles in “A Stone in the Water,” Cohen noted.
John Gottberg Anderson, GO! Magazine’s former restaurant critic, is also participating in the two-hour event, sharing the story of his pending move to Asia.
Cohen being a filmmaker, there’s also an original short film that will be screened. Here, he and Schor were downright secretive.
“We did a little film. Kind of an outrageous little film,” Cohen said.
“We don’t want to name it yet,” Schor said.
“It’s a phony infomercial, and that’s about all we’ll tell you right now. We’re really kind of proud of it,” Cohen said. “That’s the cool thing about these shows. Storytelling is the basis, but we don’t want to just throw the storytellers out in front of the audience. We want music. We want a couple of unexpected acts to come up, because it just makes it a much more interesting and amusing show.”