Herald JournalHoward Lake-Waverly Herald, Aug. 12, 2002

Metcalf performs dream onstage at the Guthrie

By Jami Berg

How many people can say they lived their life dreams?

For Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted English teacher and drama director Dave Metcalf, his lifelong dream came true recently to act at the Guthrie Theater.

Metcalf is performing as an extra in the world premiere of "Resurrection Blues," a play written by legendary writer Arthur Miller. Miller is the writer of "Death of a Salesman."

In "Resurrection Blues," Metcalf plays several characters: a cross builder, a peasant, a guitarist, and a waiter.

The play opened Saturday and will continue to play at the Guthrie through Sunday, Sept. 8.

Metcalf first heard of the opportunity from his wife, Linda, when she saw an ad in the Star Tribune for auditions for extras to be cast at Guthrie Theater. Linda suggested they both try out, if nothing else, for the experience of auditioning.

"We went through a dance routine, where they looked at how we move, and how well we follow directions," Metcalf said.

"I think they were looking for a certain look and were trying to keep us busy," Metcalf said laughingly.

Metcalf was chosen.

Practices began for Metcalf in July, and he has been busy working ever since.

Preview week opened Aug. 3, with production staff sitting throughout the crowd measuring the crowd response and watching to see what they liked and didn't like on stage.

"It has been so fun working with the whole cast. Everyone is so nice," Metcalf said. "And the professionalism when the actors enters the theater for practice is great.

"The atmosphere of mutual respect between the actors and the production staff is neat. When the director closes the door everyone is quiet and ready. Everyone is ready to mutually learn from each other's techniques and abilities. It's interesting. Everyone seemed to enjoy watching each other work."

Metcalf was awestruck by how friendly and kind the professional guild actors have been, and how supportive his wife and rest of the family has been.

"I hope that somehow, someway my experience at Guthrie Theater can follow through in my directing and teaching locally. I hope to pass along what I've learned to the students," Metcalf said.

"When I was growing up we didn't have a lot of money, so going to the theater wasn't really an option," Metcalf said. "I had an uncle who lived in California who was pretty affluent, and he visited us for a week every year, so I would hear about the Guthrie Theater from him, but I never attended."

"In my sophomore year of high school I was placed into a speech class, because I needed an English class, and there were no other classes available," Metcalf said. "I was not thrilled with the placement, but the teacher made it interesting and fun."

"Her class went on a field trip to Guthrie Theater to see 'The Miser,' starring Hume Cronin, and that is what hooked me on theater," he said. "From that day I knew what I wanted to do, to be involved in theater, and to one day act on stage at Guthrie Theater," Metcalf said.

Last spring Metcalf performed in a show last fall at the state capitol in St. Paul called "Shadows and Spirits of the State Capitol," which is a tour of the different rooms of the capitol.

Metcalf played the part of John Lafarge, the artist who painted the murals in the Minnesota Supreme Court chamber.

"They just called me up the other day and asked if I was interested in performing again, and I said yes."

He has also performed at Theatre in the Round in Minneapolis, and locally in last summer's Unicorn Theatre production of "The Mystery of Edwin Drood" in Howard Lake.

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