By Kristen Miller
DASSEL, COKATO, MN Rehearsals for the Dassel-Cokato Community Theatre’s winter production are in full swing, with opening night scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 22 at the Dassel History Center.
This year’s production of “The Diviners” will have four performances, and its one-act will be entered into MACT Fest 2013 (MN Association of Community Theatres), a competition of community theatres, in March.
Directed by Dave Metcalf, “The Diviners” is made up of a cast of 11, with the main character being Buddy, a brain-damaged boy who suffered a traumatic experience at a younger age and now has a phobia of water.
Buddy is played by Isaac Olson, who is also competing in the high school’s one-act play, and also performed as Linus in the high school fall musical, “You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown.”
Set in the Great Depression era of the 1930s, in a small community in Indiana, “The Diviners” exhibits both humor and pathos.
Buddy is desperately afraid of water, to the extent he won’t even bathe. Because of this fear, he is able to sense where there is water and helps a local farmer, Basil, played by Metcalf, find a well.
Then, a drifter comes to town, named CC Showers (played by Tom Langemo) who befriends the boy and tries to help him overcome his phobia.
“Most of the characters are peripheral, who help forward the plot of [Buddy and his family] and their relationship with this drifter,” Metcalf explained.
Metcalf chose this particular play because “it’s a very human story that resonates with people,” he said.
He first became introduced to the play years ago when he was coaching speech in Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted High School and he heard a selection from “The Diviners.”
“It was so moving and powerful, I went out and found the full script, and loved it,” Metcalf said.
He decided to cut the script for the one-act competition in 1998, which went all the way to state and received starred ratings from each of the judges.
“It’s fun to compete,” he commented, adding that it’s a really solid script.
Originally a two-and-one-half hour show, Metcalf cut it to be just over an hour in length.
To be eligible for MACT Fest, the show will have to be edited to be just under 60 minutes. Other requirements include assembling the set in less than 10 minutes, and then disassembling it under 10 minutes, as well.
In 2011, DC Community Theatre entered the one-act version of “Nice People Dancing to Good Country Music” called “Toys for Men,” at MACT Fest, where it advanced to compete at the Midwest regionals in Salina, KS.
Unique about this year’s winter production is a familiar cast, with all of the actors from the DC community.
“We really wanted a good representation of our community for MACT Fest,” said Deb Moen, production assistant and MACT board member.
Six high school girls came to audition to fill the two roles that are played by junior Alison Basney and senior Ruby Bauman.
High school freshman Isaac Olson was asked to audition for the role of Buddy. He is also juggling speech and one-act, but said, “It’s going pretty well actually.”
The complete cast of characters include: Olson as Buddy Layman, Basney as Jennie Mae Layman, Langemo as CC Showers, Ron Hungerford as Ferris Layman, Lisa Kotila as Norma Henshaw, Shara Marquez as Goldie Short, Metcalf as Basil Bennett, Becky Hungerford as Luella Bennett, Neal Hungerford as Melvin Wilder, and Tommy Nelson as Dewey Mapes. Musicians include Sam Rydberg on fiddle and Meghan Johnson on guitar.
Dinner theatre offered
New to this year’s winter community theatre production is an opportunity to dine before the shows.
A dinner theatre, catered by Elbows Allowed Distinct Catering, will be offered Saturday, March 2 as part of a fundraiser for MACT Fest.
Doors of the History Center and Ergot Museum will open at 5:30 p.m., with dinner on the third level at 6 p.m.
The show begins at 7 p.m. on the main level in the Community Room.
Tickets for this performance are $30 for adults, and $22 for youth. Tickets are limited for the dinner.
There will be three dessert performances, Friday, Feb. 22, and Saturday, Feb. 23 at the 7 p.m. performance; and at the 2 p.m. matinée Sunday, March 3. Desserts will be served starting an hour prior to the show.
To purchase tickets, contact DC Community Education at (320) 286-4120 or visit the website to order online at www.dc.k12.mn.us/pac.