Mouse River Players Community Theatre is beginning the New Year by tackling the period-drama "All My Sons" by Arthur Miller. Set in Ohio shortly after World War II, the play follows the Keller and Deever families as they come to grips with changes and truths which will impact their lives forever. The play includes mature themes and is not recommended for children.
Director Jacob Jenkins confesses his pride that the group "has taken on a really dramatic, serious piece to show our other side." He has been a longtime fan of Miller's work and emotional realism.
"Miller creates such believable characters, all of them with their own personal cross to bear. We are connected to them and almost become another family member, as though we were part of the play," said Jenkins.
Kate Keller, played by Lin Knickerbocker, consoles her husband, Joe Keller, played by Waage.
The theater group is welcoming back several veteran actors as well as introducing some new faces to The Arlene's stage.
Don Waage plays Joe Keller, a businessman who has managed to build a wealthy life for his family even in the shadow of the trial in which he and his partner, Steve Deever, were accused of producing defective airplane parts during the war. While Keller was exonerated, Deever remains in jail. Keller's wife, Kate, played by Lin Knickerbocker, continues to pine for her eldest son who has been missing in action for three years.
Memories of the trial and the war are stirred when Deever's daughter, Ann, played by newcomer Ann Richardson, returns to the town at the request of the Keller's youngest son, Chris, played by Ryan Haider. The blossoming romance between Ann and Chris forces her brother, George, played by Joe Koppinger, to return as well in an effort to stall their impending nuptials. Secrets are revealed as old wounds are reopened and choices are made by these formerly friendly families.
The families are joined on the stage by area neighbors Dr. Jim and Sue Bayliss, played by John Petrik and Courtney DuPona; Frank and Lydia Lubey, played by Patrick Dougherty and Kena Davidson; and Bert, played by Tucker Koppinger.
"I would encourage everyone over the age of 12 or so to come and see this play. I feel like it is going to be a very memorable performance that no one would want to miss," said Jenkins.
Saturday's performance will also include a pre-show concert from The Musick Travelers, an acoustic string band from Grassy Butte, following the opening of the box office.
The Mouse River Players' production of "All My Sons" runs Jan. 16-18 at 7:30 p.m. and Jan. 19 at 2 p.m. in The Arlene Theater, located at 115-1st St. SE in Minot. The box office will open at 6:30 p.m., where tickets may be purchased for $10 at the door or as included in the season ticket package. Reservations may be made by calling 866-667-1977 or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Courtney DuPona is a member of Mouse River Players Community Theatre.)