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Alice Lind Play Reading Society began eight years ago today

The Alice Lind Play Reading Society met to read great plays every month at the Lind House. (Submitted Photo)

NEW ULM — The Alice Lind Play Reading Society is marking the 8th anniversary of its founding today, May 8.

The society began with a proposal from the NUACT (later State Street Theater Co.) Board of Directors to the Board of the Lind House to participate in a joint play reading venture. After several meetings, the first reading occurred on May 8, 2012 with a reading of “A Doll’s House” by Henrik Ibsen. Paul Warshauer was the first Play Reading Chair and Mary Jane Glawe was the Co-Chair and “Un-Official Caterer.”

LaRonda Bourne recalls, “The first evening offered nearly perfect weather as the room slowly filled with people I had never met, even though I’d performed in several local productions. I was genuinely surprised and impressed with the reading talents of those who agreed to a part!”

The first few years Warshauer selected the plays, then the members suggested plays and were incorporated into a list that balanced Tony award winning comedies, dramas and musicals. Play readings were uninterrupted for the first six years.

Carol Hoffman recalls “breaking into song when we read South Pacific.”

Various guest Play Reading Leaders have been involved but in May 2014, Hanska native and retired English teacher, Gene Brand was asked to continue the legacy started by Warshauer. When Brand was traveling or unavailable, Warshauer, Judy Nelson, or other guest Play Reading members were asked to stand in.

Judi Nelson said, “One of us would often bring snacks and / or a bottle of wine – but nothing ever competed with Mary Jane Glawe’s amazing thematic and delicious treats!”

Plays were selected with the criteria that they are great pieces of literature and contain universal truths and/or significant themes. Many of the selections have won Tony Awards, Nobel and/or Pulitzer prizes for literature. Suggestions were always welcome for the following season.

Volunteers were asked to read parts throughout the evening. Depending on attendance, the leading roles were read by several people for each act or scene. Persons attending did not have to read or requested smaller roles to read. Plays ranged from Greek comedies to American musicals and from A Streetcar Named Desire to Noises Off.

The Society met on the second Tuesday of each month and was dedicated to the idea that reading and listening to plays allows the participants to understand the words and themes of the author more clearly than in some performances. The series was named after the former Governor’s wife, Alice Lind, a supporter of social causes and literacy.

The Play Reading Society is on hiatus now. For more information call (507) 354-8802.

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