On the south shore of Lake Minnewaska, along the Billeheus edition off County Road 18, lies a murky swamp bordering the Breen property. In the 1970s, Charlotte "Shorty" Lysedale lived next to it in an aqua trailer home.

In 1985, Shorty disappeared.

In 1988, Shorty became the first woman in Minnesota for whom a murder trial was held without a body.

Now, five Minnewaska teenagers out for a joyride will come face to face with an apparition from the past... and a vision for the future.


(Plays about us)

"Shorty's Ghost"

A video theater production
sponsored by the Lake Region Arts Council
with McKnight Foundation funding.

Written and directed by Rebecca Webb


TOP, left to right: Hannah Hustad (FINNEGAN), E. V. (PATIENCE), Emma Hustad (TENA), and Tammy Lynn Olson (MOIRA)
BOTTOM STEP: Lindsey Slotten (MARY)
STANDING: Rebecca Chapman (MAGGIE)

The cast gets organized.

Emma, Laura, Lindsey and Tammy pose in the configuration of the opening car sequences.

The cast rehearses Pastor Barb's scene, which oughta be dedicated to Sheila Brachfield-Childs (sp?), the author's Develomental Psych prof from Wellesley College.

The cast put together a feast for Madame Director's birthday. Not to name drop or anything, but that's Nettie "Lena" Hustad in the hat.


Shorty's Ghost was shot Wednesday evening, May 24, 2000 at the Paulson Downstage Theatre at Central Square, Glenwood, MN. The video explores the possibility that community access television may be a valid venue for local original theater; thus the play was shot in sequence with one take for each scene and no editing. The credits were shot hand-held as if the viewer were perusing head shots in a lobby.

The play opens with four teenagers drag-racing down a country road on the south side of Lake Minnewaska.

Two kid sisters who stowed away in the back seat soon regret tagging along after one car breaks down in the spooky deserted countryside.

Was it a ghost? Maggie has a possible explanation for what the stranded kids thought they saw rise out of a swamp... The property's former owner, Charlotte Lysedale, disappeared in 1985 under suspicious circumstances and has never been heard from again.

"Mary" and "Julie" provide the off-camera voices of "Olivia" and "Haley" as well as the sound effects that scare away the swamp stalkers. "Is that you, Aunt Heidi?" "We thought you were trying to spy on us while we were skinny-dipping!"

So where do kids in rural Minnesota turn for expertise on all things supernatural? A pastor, of course. This one wears fishing togs under her robe and offers fairly compelling evidence of an on-going war between good and evil battling for supremacy of the universe.

The cast of Shorty's Ghost after completing taping.

I'm Rebecca webb and I can be reached via e-mail at: webbrl@morris.umn.edu