By Starrla Cray
McLEOD COUNTY, MN Deborah Jean Templin may be an award-winning New York actress and writer, but her rural Minnesota roots are showing with her latest play, “Singing for the Cows.”
“I’ve been working on elements of this play, you could say, all my life,” said Templin, who grew up on a century farm in Bergen Township, in between Lester Prairie and Glencoe.
“Singing for the Cows” is comprised of a series of stories, poems, and songs, accompanied by period photographs.
In one hour, the play skillfully covers a 100-year period, beginning in 1865 with Templin’s great grandfather immigrating to McLeod County from Germany.
“I think anyone interested in rural life and how things used to be on the farm would be interested in this,” Templin said.
Performances will be at the Hutchinson Event Center at 7 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 21; and at 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 22.
Certain elements may be familiar to some like the Bongard’s cow, an old-fashioned barn raising, the grain elevator in Glencoe, or country schools from the 1920s and ‘30s.
Although Templin is the only actor in the play, she has no trouble keeping a captive audience.
One of her solo plays, “Unsinkable Women: Stories and Songs from the Titanic,” has been performed in more than 100 venues nationally and abroad.
“I played nine different characters,” Templin said.
MN to Manhattan
Acting has been a passion of Templin’s since she was an elementary student at First Evangelical Lutheran School in Glencoe. She started out small playing a sweet pea when her class performed “Peter Rabbit,” and performing skits through the 4-H Share the Fun program.
Templin was encouraged by her parents, Henry and Verda Templin, who had a great respect for education, books, and good diction even though they never had the opportunity to attend high school themselves.
“I also had good teachers,” Templin added.
Although she had many influences, one incident in high school was the catalyst that propelled Templin into her career. She left the details a mystery, but said this weekend’s show will shed some light on what happened.
Templin graduated from Glencoe High School in 1969, and attended Gustavus Adolphus College for theatre and speech. She then earned a master’s degree in theatre arts from California State University Long Beach.
Since then, Templin has played leading roles at many prestigious theatre companies, and has written several plays. A few of her awards include Philadelphia’s Barrymore Award, the Richard Burton Award in Acting, and the 2013 New Hampshire Theatre Award.
Most recently, Templin was featured in “Mary Poppins” as Miss Andrew, Queen Victoria, and Bird Woman at Philadelphia’s Walnut Street Theatre.
Templin will be available for a meet-and-greet session directly following the Sunday, Feb. 22 “Singing for the Cows” performance. The event includes cake and photo opportunities. A limited number of tickets are available, and can be purchased for $10 each at the McLeod County Historical Society & Museum.
If you’re going . . .
What: “Singing for the Cows,” a one-woman show written and performed by Deborah Jean Templin.
When: Saturday, Feb. 21 at 7 p.m., and Sunday, Feb. 22 at 2 p.m.
Where: The Hutchinson Event Center, 1005 Minnesota Hwy. 15 in Hutchinson.
Cost: Tickets are $10 each, and can be purchased from the McLeod County Historical Society & Museum, (320) 587-2109; the Hutchinson Center for the Arts, (320) 587-7278; the Glencoe Chamber of Commerce, the Hutchinson Event Center, and Security Bank and Trust in Glencoe.
Bonus event: A “cake and cows” meet-and-greet will take place directly after the Feb. 22 performance. The event is $10 per person, and includes cake from Elena’s Bakery and the opportunity to take photos in the country school and barn display. A limited number of tickets are available, and can be purchased from the McLeod County Historical Society & Museum.