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Jeffrey Rondeau and Shanara Lassig of the Harwood Prairie Playhouse rehearse a scene from "Barely Heirs" at Dawson Hall in Bonanzaville. Carrie Snyder/The Pioneer

Harwood Playhouse stages 'Barely Heirs'

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Harwood Prairie Playhouse will be presenting an original production for the second year in a row with the staging of a new farce "Barely Heirs" during their 26th year run of local community theater.

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David Lassig, who gets playwright credits for the second consecutive season, is also involved in a starring capacity, along with his wife, Shanara, in the lead role of Jane. Troy Brewster will head up the cast as director again this year.

Other cast members include: Amanda Eide, returning from last season, Charles Newman, who last appeared in 2005, Peter Foss, who appeared in the 2008 show, and Jeff Rondeau and Linda Hinrichs, in their first playhouse performances.

Dawson Hall at Bonanzaville will serve as the venue for the productions that will take place March 12 and 13, March 18 through March 20, and March 25 through March 27, at 7:30 p.m.; with matinees scheduled at 2 p.m. on Sunday, March 14 and March 21, and Saturday, March 27.

The opening night reception is set for March 12, with those attending able to join the cast, crew, director and playwright after the show for a meet and greet and refreshments.

The Senior Citizen Night Reception has been scheduled for Thursday, March 18, starting at 6:45 p.m. with dessert, and the performance, followed by the opportunity to meet and visit with the cast. This performance is also open to others wishing to attend.

The Harwood Prairie Playhouse is recognized as one of the longest running theater companies in the area, focusing on comedy productions, having had its start in 1985 at the Harwood Fire Station, before moving to the larger stage presence at Dawson Hall.

The group continues to be self-supporting, with revenues generated through ticket sales, program advertisements, donations from generous supporters, as well as many hours of donated time and talents by the volunteers.

With another new season fast approaching, Lassig said he is excited to see "Barely Heirs" finally come to life as a full-fledged production, and he is hoping audiences are delighted by what they see. "Just as in the first script, there is tons of chaos, and the audience will be surprised at what comes next," Lassig stated. "The main difference in the scripts would be that in "Barely Heirs," there is a woman as the central character coming up with all the deception. Farces seldom have women as the lead characters, so I wanted to write a brand-new farce with a woman as the central character."

Lassig actually had his wife in mind for the lead character while writing the show, and fortunately she was cast in that part. "She is doing a truly amazing job in rehearsals and has made the character into so much more than I imagined," Lassig said. "My hope is that the audience will see that women can play leads in farces just as well as men can, and possibly that more playwrights see this and write more comedies for women."

   Lassig said he is pleased with the outcome of his newest production. "It was amazing to see the first one produced and published, but to come up with a second script and see this one get produced is even more gratifying, as it shows I am able to come up new material and keep the laughs coming for the audience.  One of the nice things about doing the premiere of this show and being able to be at the rehearsals is the ability to change the script and make it even more satisfying. There have been a few things changed during the rehearsal process, along with a few lines that will make the script even better."

Lassig's inspiration is ongoing and future ambitions are sure to include more writing. "I recently finished another script, which is the male version of "Barely Heirs" and submitted it to the Mountain Playhouse for their 2010 Playwriting Contest, of which he was a winner in 2009." He is also working on two other farces that he expects to complete soon; and is penning a dramatic script with the plan to realize a staged reading of the script this fall.

With all of these pieces on the drawing board, Lassig said his motivation is derived from a simple source, wanting the audiences who attend to enjoy themselves and have a great time. "Really, the only reason I have written these two shows is for the audience. To hear them laugh for the first time makes everything worthwhile. To see the audiences smiling faces after the show and talk to them and know they enjoyed themselves and that they will tell all their friends about it, is all the satisfaction a person needs."

  Tickets for performances of "Barely Heirs" are available at the Children's Museum at Yunker Farm, once again handling the Box Office this year. Tickets may be purchased by phone at 701-298-6807, or by stopping by Yunker Farm at 1201 28th Ave. N., Fargo, Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., or Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. A $1 donation is being made to the Children's Museum for each ticket purchased.

More information is available online at www.prairieplayhouse.org.

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