David Lassig finished writing a comical play about government agents and Russians trying to steal secrets. But that was a year ago, well before President Donald Trump's alleged connections to Russia came to light.
The news only gives Lassig more opportunity for jokes.
"Once you start getting an outline, then you go from there," Lassig said. "We added a few extra lines that may be funny."
Harwood Prairie Playhouse will perform Lassig's "Foreign Affairs" throughout March at Bonanzaville. Lassig, the production director and Harwood Prairie Playhouse president, has been writing shows since 2009 but has been involved with the group, which is its 33rd year, since 2001.
"Foreign Affairs" is set in the late 1950s and is about a senator named Joe trying to have an affair with a woman named Lola in a hotel room, but they discover a dead man that who turns out to be a CIA agent. Joe's wife and Lola's ex-boyfriend join the story and then comes in Nikolai, played by Reid Strand, who is a Russian spy trying to get secrets from Joe and the United States government.
Harwood Prairie Playhouse has only done farces, Lassig said, because that's what the local audience loves. He said good comedies are hard to find so he wrote one himself.
"The archetypes that David has created appeal to everyone," Strand said. "There's an average Joe next door that's getting into trouble and people relate with that. There's the bumbling funny guy that people are going to laugh at. There's just really appealing archetypes in this show that people in the community are going to come and have a good laugh over."
Strand has been involved with Harwood Prairie Playhouse for four years, typically as a "jack of all trades" involved with the behind-the-scenes production.
Harwood Prairie Playhouse began performing at the Harwood firehouse but then moved to Bonanzaville's Dawson Hall over a decade ago and mostly consists of adult volunteers from the Fargo area.
"It's a lot of slapstick comedy," Strand said. "You have to have a good funny bone in your body to do it, and you have to have a great, wicked sense of humor."
Lassig added that the theater averages about 1,800 tickets sold a year with a maximum seating capacity of about 250.
Those numbers still amaze Lassig.
"We've grown our audience year after year," Lassig said. "It's not really surprising to us, it's surprising to people who come for the first time. A lot of our audience members, they don't go to other theaters. This is the only show they go to every year. They know what they're going to get. They're going to get a comedy and a laugh."
If you go
Who: Harwood Prairie Playhouse
What: "Foreign Affairs" by David Lassig
When: 7:30 p.m. March 10, 11, 17, 18, 23-25; 2 p.m. March 12, 19, 25
Where: Dawson Hall at Bonanzaville (1351 Main Ave. W., West Fargo)
Additional information: Opening day, March 10, will include a meet-and-greet with the crew after the show. Senior night is March 23 when senior tickets cost $10. March 24 will include another meet-and-greet with the announcement of next year's show.