A Milestone Season of Professional Live Theatre

30th Season Milestones

by David Hennessey

Scott and Stela read Love Letters to start
A notable year. Then others joined hearts
’Neath Salt-Water Moon.
Thereafter, we soon
Met three unsung women who learned to chart

Faraway stars: staring up at the night
We bathed, awestruck, in swirling points of light!
A fun change of pace
Brought the cut-throat chase
Of kids seeking spelling trophies. The sight,

In Clean House, of messes we can’t control—
Including sickness that will not let go—
Taught us gently how
To live in the now.
After years of writing, with heart and soul,

His masterful Dracula, Scotty thrilled
As we staged it with full suspense and chills.
Standing ovations,
Public sensation!
He basked in the glow of visions fulfilled.

When the day finally came he had to leave,
We celebrated him more than we grieved.
We dedicated
Our last show slated
To A Wonderful Life the heavens retrieved.

That Dracula script? It’s now winging high
In our lobby, soaring to Silent Sky.

Click any image below to view the full photo.

And what a season it has been! Your love and support have guided this company to the end of our 30th year producing professional live theatre in Lanesboro. This year, we logged a record number of season pass holders, welcomed well over 1,500 first time patrons, surpassed our fall donation campaign efforts and saw more than 21,000 people walk through the doors and take a seat in the theatre. On that strength and with renewed spirit and energy, we forge ahead to 2019 and our 31st season. Thank you for a fabulous year — if you like us, talk about us and we look forward to sharing more compelling stories with you next year. 

Thanks for reading and I’ll see you at the theatre—Jeremy. 

From Page to Stage: A Live Theatre Rehearsal Process

Rehearsals are well underway for Salt-Water Moon, the 10th apprentice company capstone production in Lanesboro, MN. In this edition of Drama Unfolds, apprentice company member and production director Amanda Pyfferoen describes the rehearsal process from her early imaginings right up to opening night.

As apprentices at the Commonweal, we are given the rare opportunity to select our capstone production. This gives us the ability to look at the whole gamut of two-handers, and quite frankly that was a bit daunting. When we first began searching for scripts we brought passion projects to the table. For me, that was David Mamet’s Oleanna and while Megan and Patrick read it in phenomenal fashion, it was not the right fit for us. We realized that we needed a story that was relatable, had a strong message, and was going to challenge all of us. Suggestions came pouring in from company members and friends such as Talley’s FollySame Time, Next YearGreat FallsBlackbird, and Salt-Water Moon.

For me, I know I like a script when I can visualize it in my mind and see it from the beginning of rehearsals, through the technical rehearsals, to the end of the preview rehearsal process and all the way to opening night. That was the case within the first few pages of my reading Salt-Water Moon; even on the Commonweal’s stage to boot. This play is about love and family and how the duty to both of them is interconnected and impacts every aspect of who we are. There’s a ‘slice of life’ aspect to this play; audience members are bound to find Jacob and Mary relatable. I’m actually reminded of my maternal grandparents. My grandmother was engaged to another man when she met my grandfather. Grandpa returned home from being stationed in France and they met at a party, not long later she broke off her engagement and married my grandfather instead. It’s not exactly a direct a correlation to Jacob and Mary’s love triangle, but it gives the story a personal touch for me. The playwright, David French, has written a beautiful script where the words practically come flying off the page. The passion is in everything they say.

We’ve been in rehearsals for a few weeks now and I am extremely pleased with how it’s taking shape. The relationship between Jacob and Mary is strong, rooted in the past that plays into the present and, ultimately, their potential future. Trust has been a pivotal component of this process and one I believe has assisted us in reaching the raw, truthfulness coming across onstage. At the end of our rehearsals, we do a grounding question, a get-to-know-you question that has nothing to do with our production, as a way to become a cohesive and closer ensemble. These questions have run from places we want to visit to which member of the Beatles we think we are. I believe it’s been a good exercise and one I hope to continue as I move forward in my directing career. Opening night is just around the corner so forgive me as I scamper off to rehearsal.

I’m looking forward to sharing this story with our Commonweal family here in Lanesboro MN.

Salt-Water Moon opens Saturday, March 10 to help kick-off Season 30 at the Commonweal. You can get your tickets today by clicking right here.
Thanks for reading and I’ll see you at the theatre!