DASSEL, COKATO, MN Old and new friends. Love and loss. Old secrets discovered. Words that last a lifetime, and beyond. And yes, humor and heartache.
The FungusAmongus Players of Dassel-Cokato will showcase all of those concepts and more, in their season-opening “Relationships: an evening of one-acts,” beginning Friday, Oct. 11 at the Dassel History Center.
The actors involved interpret a big bucket of ideas in three one-act plays.
‘Save Me a Place at Forest Lawn’
Linda Metcalf is pulling double-duty for the one-act showcase. She co-stars in the evening’s final play, and is directing the first.
“Save Me a Place at Forest Lawn” showcases the acting talents of Becky Hungerford and Jean Paulson as two long-term friends who frequent a busy restaurant for lunch.
The senior citizens obviously care about each other, nearly as much as they baffle and irritate each other.
The audience will see the two old women navigate the restaurant, as well as big concepts about God, heaven, and how to handle when your green beans touch the mashed potatoes on your plate.
The pair also occasionally break into a song or dance, before realizing other patrons are watching. This causes severe mortification for them.
The ordinary lunch turns into a life-changing one as a secret between the two comes to light.
Before the pair finishes their custard, they have reached a much deeper understanding and appreciation for each other.
‘Post-its notes on a marriage’
Tom and Rhea Langemo tackle “Post-its Notes on a Marriage,” as the middle play in the trio.
The Langemos have shared the stage with each other since a 2000 performance of “Ethan Thomas.” Theater fans may recall some of their other co-starring performances, including those in “The Foreigner,” “Les Miserables,” “Fiddler on the Roof,” and last year’s “A Visit from St. Nicholas.”
The Langemos first performed “Post-its” at Fast Fest, a Minnesota Association of Community Theatres (MACT) short play festival. They said the show was well-received, and they are looking forward to sharing it closer to home.
“Post-its” is the story of spouses whose lives connect through their communication on Post-it sticky notes. The notes have been exchanged in the thousands through their years together.
The play, both sweet and sad, reminds viewers how communication frequently occurred before everyone’s attention was diverted by screens.
“Post-its” was written by a husband and wife team, Paul Dooley and Winnie Holzman, and it premiered in 1998 at a benefit for the Gilda Radner Cancer Fund.
The Langemos said “Post-its” has a PG-rating, but that’s primarily because of some innuendo.
Generally, the pair are enthusiastic about families participating in community theatre. “It offers people of all ages an opportunity to get involved in all aspects of theater production,” Rhea commented. “It’s a joy to see parents and children all on stage together, or working on set together.”
‘A Little Something for the Ducks’
In “A Little Something for Ducks,” Dave and Linda Metcalf portray two senior citizens who first meet at a park bench, where he feeds the ducks.
She points out feeding the ducks is not allowed, and the pair spar humorously from there. The characters’ opinions differ on nearly everything, although they do agree chicken livers, prepared correctly, are divine.
The play is directed by Tom Nelson, who has acted in many FungusAmongus productions. He was most recently seen as Sancho in the FungusAmongus summer musical, “Man of LaMancha.”
“A Little Something for the Ducks,” is his third directitorial experience, and Nelson said he is enjoying it.
“Acting is my first love,” he admitted. “I’ve had the opportunity to work in most of the disciplines of the theatre lights, sound, set building, stage managing and as the director, you get to conduct that orchestra, bringing all the elements together to make a production. At the end of the day, directing can be much more fulfilling than acting.”
Nelson is delighted to work with the Metcalfs, and he described their acting as “masterful.”
“It is truly an embarrassment of riches for me as a novice director to have the opportunity to direct this piece, and these two fine actors,” Nelson said.
The Metcalfs have immersed themselves in theater experiences ever since they met in college. They have shared the stage often in the five decades since. Some of their favorites, in addition to all the directing and behind-the-scenes work, include roles in “Mary Poppins,” “Jack and the Beanstalk,” and a run in “The Wizard of Oz.”
The Metcalfs, playing Oz’s Dorothy and the Scarecrow, took some creative license at the show’s ending, so Dorothy and the Scarecrow could walk off into the sunset together as the curtain closed.
Tickets available now
Tickets for “Relationships: an evening of one-acts” are currently available by following the featured link at DasselCokato.com. Tickets may be available at the door, if they do not sell out in advance.
Shows will take place Friday and Saturday, Oct. 11 and 12 at 7 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, Oct. 18 and 19 at 7 p.m.; and Sunday, Oct. 20 at 2 p.m. Tickets cost $15 each. Season tickets may also be purchased on the website for $40. Season tickets include three shows.
The Dassel History Center, the venue for the productions, is located at 901 1st St. N., Dassel.
‘Christmas Pageant’ auditions soon
The next FungusAmongus show, “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever,” will open Friday, Dec. 6.
“Christmas Pageant” is a charming, funny, and moving classic, which showcases siblings who take over an annual Christmas pageant in a humorous way.
Making appearances in the show are the Three Wise Men, a ham, scared shepherds, and several rowdy kids.
Auditions for the show will take place at the Dassel History Center Monday, Oct. 14 at 6:30 p.m., and Tuesday, Oct. 15 at 3:30 p.m. Call-backs for casting major roles will take place Monday, Oct. 21.
Auditions will involve reading from the script and possibly some movement/concentration exercises. A few adult actors, old enough to have pre-teen/early teen offspring, are needed. There are also several roles for upper-elementary or early middle school-age children and a for a handful of very young “angel choir” walk-ons.
Rehearsals will begin shortly after Monday, Oct. 21, and will take place weeknights through November and up until opening. Only major characters will be required for a heavy rehearsal time commitment. Actors in minor roles should expect at least one rehearsal per week.
The FungusAmongus Players encourage people to audition and to join them for fun on the stage.