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New Ulm Actors Community Theatre presents: Dogs in the Hot Moon or Behind the Barricades

Seeking to understand a conflict’s history

August 12, 2012
By Josh Moniz - Staff Writer , The Journal

NEW ULM The New Ulm Actors Community Theater (NUACT) will be tackling the complex and difficult task of trying to bring understanding to the U.S. Dakota Conflict this Thursday and Friday with its new play "Dogs in the Hot Moon or Behind the Barricades."

Aimed at making the conflict understandable to even children, the play was created by NUACT Director Paul Warshauer. The script takes the unexpected route of interpretive improvisation for the various scenes, instead of the traditional historical documentary approach of many other plays on the subject.

"There has been so many books, so many essays written on the subject. We decided to go with the questions a child would ask," said Warshauer, "We want to take these huge themes and make the understandable to everybody. We want it to be easy to grasp even if you're a child or somebody for out of town."

Article Photos

The children in the play discuss the idea of. 'whose land is this anyway?' Pictured from left are: Emily Schneider, Ashley Schaefer, Wayne Roberts, Dawson Sellner, Wyatt Roberts, John Menzel and Wyll Roberts.

Warshauer said he has always preferred creating plays through improvisation. He said he started in fifth grade when he had to ad-lib new lines for Shakespear's "Macbeth" for his friend, who didn't have enough lines. He said improvisation inherently makes dialogue that feels natural since it comes from real conversation. He also said it naturally lead the play to what feels correct for the story.

Warshauer said he hopes that an easily graspable play will generate informed and open dialogue about the conflict. He said he hopes it will also generate empathy for both sides of the conflict by giving people an appreciation of the difficult position both sides were in.

The play is structured around 10 adult actors and 10 child actors starting each scene with the children asking fundament questions about the conflict. Question that were posed included "What is the concept of 'ownership' in different cultures?" and "Why do people go to war?" The actors than perform scenes aimed at trying to answer the questions. The play seeks to get both views of the issues, with an even division of actors between the two sides. The title of the play itself is aimed at both sides of the conflict. The "Dogs in the Hot Moon" was a line by Chief Little Crow, which he said to chide his warriors for being too anxious to attack the settlers. The "Behind the Barricades" phrase is aimed at describing the attitudes of settlers that felt besieged in New Ulm.

Fact Box

The Cast...

"Dogs in the Hot Moon or Behind the Barricades"


Rowan Anderson

Gene Brand

Bonnie Lantz

Kent Menzel

Mark Santelman

Janet Holm

John Knisley

Stephanie Rolloff

Judy Sellner

Ruth Schaefer


Bridget Forst

David Henning

Cheyenne Kruse

Lauren McDuffie

April Miller

Marley Pietz

Emily Schneider


Olivia Menzel

Wayne Roberts

Wyatt Roberts

Wyll Roberts

Christina Santelman

Ashley Shaefer

Dawson Sellner


Created and Directed by: Paul Warshauer

Assistant Director: Keara Roberts

Produced by: Judy Sellner

Set Design by: Reed Glawe

Tech Direction by: Sheldon Rieke

Slide Projections by: Josh Menzel

Apprentice: Rowan Anderso

Technical Director: Sheldon Rieke

Program: Mary Glawe

House Manager:Vickie Kuehn

The play was not produced in any specific connection to any other organization or event. But, the play is intended to be part of the overall 150th commemoration of the U.S. Dakota Conflict that will held this year.

The play opens on Thursday, August 23 at 7:00 pm and runs again on Friday at 2:00 pm and at 7:00 pm at the DAC Auditorium located at 15 N State Street in New Ulm. Tickets are $7.00 for adults and $3.00 for students. Tickets can be purchased at HyVee, the Chamber of Commerce, Cashwise or at the door. Tickets are also available online at or by calling (507) 359-9990.

(Josh Moniz can be e-mailed at



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