By Kristen Miller
DASSEL, MN Rehearsals are in full swing for the Dassel-Cokato Community Theatre’s winter production of “Arsenic and Old Lace,” a classic comedy that will hit the stage Friday, March 9 for a two-week run.
The upcoming production which is being directed by Dave Metcalf, has a cast of 14 and includes a few new actors to DC Community Theatre.
“I’m excited about seeing new faces on stage,” said DC Arts Association Executive Director Colleen Compton.
For former DC teacher Al Sorenson, community theater is a new experience for him, as it is for recently retired First Baptist Church pastor Dan Swanson.
Ron Hungerford, who has been active in community behind the scenes, is also now taking on a role on stage.
Like past community winter theatre productions, “Arsenic and Old Lace” will be performed in the intimate setting of the Dassel History Center.
Since the play is set in the 1940s, the stage has been built on the third level of the Ergot Museum to give it more of a historical atmosphere, according to Compton.
The staircases on that level are also being incorporated into the set design and production of the play, she said.
The play “Arsenic and Old Lace” takes place in the year 1941, and centers on two elderly sisters, Martha and Abby Brewster, who are famous in their Brooklyn neighborhood for their many acts of charity.
Unfortunately one of their acts of kindness includes poisoning old men who are all alone in the world and who come to stay at their home for lodging. The two women have help from a mentally challenged nephew who thinks he is Teddy Roosevelt and who constantly blows a bugle and yells charge while running up the staircase.
Complications arise when their second nephew, Mortimer, who is a newspaper critic for the theater, accidently discovers that his sweet, lovely aunts have been up to murder. More comedy and mayhem explodes when yet a third nephew, Jonathan, appears after recently escaping from a mental institution.
Mortimer, newly engaged to be married to his neighbor, Elaine, realizes all of a sudden that insanity runs in the family of Brewster.
“This is a great example of DC Community Theatre at its finest, when you have such a broad range of local talented people including the director, the actors, and the set builders, who all come together to create an artistic production such as ‘Arsenic and Old Lace,’” said Deborah Moen, production assistant.
Show times and ticket information
“Arsenic and Old Lace” will be performed at the Dassel History Center and Ergot Museum Friday, March 9; Saturday, March 10; Friday, March 16, and Saturday, March 17 at 7:30 p.m.; as well as 2 p.m. matinees Sunday, March 11 and Sunday, March 18.
Due to the location, there will be limited seating available, roughly 70 seats a show.
Risers will also be used as part of the seating to allow for better sight lines, Compton said, noting there will be times when the pillars may be temporarily in the line of sight for some audience members.
Tickets can be purchased through DC Community Education. General admission tickets, which include a dessert, are $15 for adults and $7 for youth.
‘Arsenic and Old Lace’ cast and crew
Linda Metcalf Abby Brewster
Dan SwansoN The Rev. Dr. Harper
Tom Nelson Teddy Brewster
Harvey Peterson Officer Brophy
Tom Johnson Officer Klein
Martha Brewster Carolyn Holje
Elaine Harper Shara Marquez
Mortimer Brewster Sam Rydberg
Mr. Gibbs Jerry Fitzpatrick
Jonathan Brewster Neal Hungerford
Dr. Einstein Mike Ackerman
Officer O’Hara Tim Gosswiller
Lieutenant Rooney Ron Hungerford
Mr. Witherspoon Allan Sorenson
Director Dave Metcalf
Set builder Dan Kyllonman
Light sound master Butch Amundsen
Costumer Linda Metcalf
Production assistant Deborah Moen
Set decoration/tech Ron Hungerford