September 14, 2000

Beginning of the Road

By Dane Sorensen


One of the things about Ely that makes it charming is that we have many unique individuals. In fact, we are a town full of individualists. All that makes for great people watching. Most of the time I have to do my people watching on the fly. That is a shame, because I probably miss seeing some of the good stuff.

Thanks to Northern Lakes Arts Association we all have an opportunity to do some first class people watching this coming September 23rd at 7:30 p.m. That is when the Fall One Act Plays will be performed at the Vermilion Community College Theater. There will be four short one-act plays presented. It will be a feast of people watching. Every character guaranteed to be an individualist.

Take “Elegy for a Lady” by Arthur Miller, here we have two lovers talking like they have never met. The Lady has cancer and her much older lover comes to her place of business and tries to figure out how to make a sanitized escape from the reality of the situation. Peter Kess has lent his talents as the male lead, which is only one of many hats he is wearing in this NLAA program. Rachel Heinrich plays the young dying lover who though blunt with her already married lover, still seeks to give her man the peace he seeks. The dance of reality and unreality is fascinating to watch as the characters continue to act as strangers to the end.

Peter Kess other hat is that of a theatrical mother hen. NLAA is having him lead a group of new unproven directors who are trying to spread their wings by directing these one act plays. Dane Sorensen is directing the Miller play. Following that is a set of three one-act plays by Paul Selig under the title of Mystery School.

The first play in Mystery School is Tongues. It is being directed by Laurie Kess, long time acting talent in Ely and the performer is thespian veteran Donna Kari. Kari’s role is that of a deranged evangelical fanatic who eye for sin is cast on everyone in town but herself. It is a very energetic play that is sure to amuse those of us who do not talk to angels and such.

The second play in Mystery School is Amelia’s Second Step. It is being directed by Tom Speros. Speros has been involved in theater for over thirty years. Tom has written films, directed films and even acted in films. When he lived in San Francisco in the 1960’s he was involved in many theater productions as well. Joining him as the sole actress of “Amelia’s Second Step is his sister Lis McCrea, who also worked in theater for many years when she lived out West. Amelia’s Second Step shows a woman struggling with the mystery of a higher power. She wants the power of transformation, but is unable to truly believe in it.

The final segment of Mystery School is Miss Eddie a Commencement Speech. Rachel Heinrich takes on the role of director for this segment and is joined with Jody Nickerson in playing Miss Eddie. Miss Eddie is an unforgettable character. She is a former teacher who was well liked by her students, but is just on the border of being a fruitcake. What she says in her commencement speech will raise eyebrows and perhaps evoke a few insights into life.

Kess hopes other like minded people will join in the next directing/acting workshop and get to learn about the magic possibilities of the stage. He would like to see the group continue and grow, perhaps meeting once a month to read scripts aloud and help with the developmental work that is so important in planning for a good play.

All in all, these four one act plays will make for a delightful night of people watching. So be ready to bring your binoculars on Saturday, September 23 at 7:30 in the evening at the comfortable Vermilion Community College Theater and prepare to be delighted.


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