NEW ULM - This weekend, Minnesota Valley Lutheran School presents "The Icehouse Madrigals," a play full of twists and turns that director Jason Jaspersen describes as "a very funny, noble, and at times profound look at small-town Minnesota."
Performances are 7 p.m. Saturday, May 2, and 1 p.m. Sunday, May 3, at the MVL gymnasium.
"The Icehouse Madrigals" is the story of a Minnesota man, Oskar Christensen, who retires early and moves to Florida, explains Jaspersen, in an e-mail interview.
Staff photo by Steve Muscatello
MVL students will present “The Icehouse Madrigals’ at 7 p.m. Saturday, May 2; and 1 p.m. Sunday, May 3, at the school’s gymnasium. Portions of the play take place in an ice fishing house.
Oskar is a widower caring for his dead brother's widow, who happens to be rather manipulative.
Oskar's friends devise a plan to lure him back to Minnesota by building him the icehouse of his dreams.
Their first mistake is to keep it a secret from their wives. The wives begin to suspect that something is up and jump to conclusions.
While this is not a musical, there are musical interludes, said Jaspersen. A singing quartet introduces each scene in the form of a renaissance madrigal. The show's alternative title is "A Norseman's Renaissance."
The set is a "transformer," said Jaspersen. Boxes unfold, rotate, and combine to set five different interior and four exterior locations.
The cast has practiced weekdays after school since the first week of March.
There are 13 actors, four singers, four stage hands, an assistant director and four faculty advisors.
The cast has been working on their Minnesota accents, comedic timing and overall high-energy presentation, said Jaspersen. "This is a very funny, insightful, and beautiful script; and I think we have a great show ready."
"Theater can be such a moving, powerful art form," said Jaspersen. "It engages an audience directly and exists for such a short time.
"We put in a good amount of time and energy hoping that a show will be an entertaining or moving experience for the audience. Performing arts have so much preparation for a glorious, brief presentation, and then it's all over. The cast becomes pretty close over the course of practices and performances. The time together will be missed."
"Icehouse Madrigals" was first performed in 2003 at Bethany Lutheran College in Mankato, Jaspersen adds. The script and music were written by Bethany's Professor Peter Bloedel. Bloedel is a multi-talented man who brings smiles to many faces with his juggling/magic shows. He performs with the musical group "The Divers," and writes, designs, teaches and directs theater at Bethany, reports Jaspersen.
Bloedel premiered his second full-length play, "Jam Jar Sonnets," this past month at Bethany, Jaspersen reports.
MVL's 'Icehouse Madrigals' cast was treated to a backstage tour and dress rehearsal of "Jam Jar Sonnets."
"Our students were thrilled to meet and discuss both scripts with the author. We are also looking forward to Bloedel attending one of our performances."