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Harwood Prairie Playhouse cast members rehearse for their annual performace at Dawson Hall, Bonzaville, which this year features the riotous comedy "Unnecessary Farce."

Local theater group entertaining with 'Unnecessary Farce'

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For twenty-seven years, the Harwood Prairie Playhouse has catered to comedy.

This year will be no exception as the cast and crew prepares to tackle Paul Slade Smith's riotous new comedy "Unnecessary Farce," in which Eric Sheridan and Billie Dwyer play a couple of young and bumbling police out to cement their reputations as real cops.

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This production reacquaints playhouse audiences with favorites Amanda Eide and Adam Harfield who are joined on stage by veteran actors Bill Lucas and John Noone as well as newcomers Missy Teeters, Sarah Piersol, and Taylor Schatz.

Pam Strait is serving as director, marking her second experience with the group, having performed in the world premier of David Lassig's "Who Maid Who" performed two seasons ago.

Strait is a veteran of the local performing arts scene, involved in writing directing and acting for over 30 years, currently as a member of the Theatre B ensemble, sitting on their board of directors.

Strait said she is enjoying her newfound directing role. "The combination of a great script and a talented cast has made working on this production a real joy. HPP draws actors from several other companies in the region - Theatre B, FMCT, Tin Roof, Bare Stage, F/M Opera, Linebenders Improv, all the colleges - and the melding of these diverse groups yields a tremendously creative cast and makes the process that much more enjoyable. By the time the show closes, the actors will have donated approximately 150 hours of time each to this project. They make a terrific ensemble and working with them has been a lot of fun."

As for the script, she said it is sure to entertain. "It's a smart, sassy farce and I know the audiences will have a great time watching the actors have a great time. It's nice to be working with the HPP family again, too. They like to create a working set for the actors very early in the process - an especially useful tactic when the script calls for eight slamming doors, as does this one. I must also admit to a real fondness for the HPP audiences who seem to have their own special energy and vibe. Performing for them is an amazing experience - they laugh and respond to everything that happens onstage, creating a wonderful symbiosis that enhances the experience on both sides of the footlights."

Performance for "Unnecessary Farce" will take place at Dawson Hall, Bonanzaville, on March 11-12, March 17-19 and March 24-26 at 7:30 p.m. each evening, and 2 p.m. each day on March 13, 20, 26.

Senior Citizens Night will again be observed this year on Thursday evening, March 17. Those attending will be able to enjoy desert at 6:45 p.m. prior to the show and then have the opportunity to meet and mingle with the cast after the production.

Tickets are $10 and are available by calling the box office at 701-287-6807, by emailing info@prairieplayhouse.org, or by contacting Yunker Farm at 298-6807 for reservations.

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