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PATT RALL COLUMN: Romantic escapades galore in the arts

From left to right are Steven Mayer, Amanda Mix and Steve Saari, who will all perform in Bemidji Community Theater's presentation of "The Elephant Man."

Though not the usual story of love and compassion, "The Elephant Man," as written by Bernard Pomerance and directed Julie Kaiser for Bemidji Community Theater has managed to bridge the segments of Joseph Merrick's life together in such a way as to explore the meaning of Eros (love) far beyond the physical.

Patt Rall

In the play, a Victorian-era doctor/surgeon has tried to use his skills to bring Merrick into focus and beyond that of a circus curiosity; instead a sensitive and intelligent man. The set is that of a 19th Century London Victorian home complete with rows of books and a surgery where the compassionate doctor, as portrayed by Steve Saari, is obsessed with his friend/patient Merrick (Steve Meyer), who he rescues from the sideshows that has made his life unbearable. Meyer uses his body to twist into the physically impaired man without the use of prosthetics. Kaiser has managed to use her first foray into directing by discovering another skill for this multi-talented actress, singer, musician and now director. An all-star cast supports the pathos evident in the original true story of this brave man who suffers at the hands of the ignorant. Tickets for this adult drama are $12 and available at the door today starting one hour before show time at 2 p.m., the final performance at the Historic Chief Theater in downtown Bemidji. True North Health and the Clean Water Land Legacy Amendment through the state Legislature helped support this production by Bemidji Community Theater.

The Bemidji Public Library's next Book Discussion is noon, Monday, Feb. 13, in the front meeting room. The program will run for approximately an hour. The book for discussion will be "The Lowlands" by noted author Jhumpa Lahiri, who writes in a classic style and pens stories that are metaphors for the lowlands of life; the dank, dark times that we all experience at one time or another. Free and open to the public.

Retro Board Game Day at the Bemidji Public Library on Saturday, Feb. 18, from 2 to 5 p.m. Take the whole family for Clue, Pictionary, the Game of Life and more. All ages are welcome for this free event. Bring your own games, or join in and play one of theirs.

Upcoming events

The inventive and professional professor of voice at BSU, Cory Renbarger is staging a modern comedic opera "SPEED DATING TONIGHT!" Music and words by Michael Ching based on a concept by Dean Anthony. The title gives the clue that it is a comedy about a bunch of people who come to a speed dating event all hoping to find true love. The singers are stereotypes of people today and it also explores modern sounds, jazz, and contemporary pieces. In the end, some are destined to be alone, but some may find true love! Performances are scheduled for Friday, March 3 at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, March 4 at 3 and 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, March 5 at 3 p.m. on the main stage of Bangsberg Fine and Performing Arts Complex on the campus of BSU. Tickets are $15 adults, $10 seniors, NTC and BSU students free with student ID. Tickets will be available at the door.

Walker Bay Theater's summer show will be "Hair," one of the first rock musicals that reached Broadway in the 1960s. The show will be cast in February with rehearsals to begin in mid-May. Audition dates and times are noon to 3 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 18 and Sunday, Feb. 19, and 6 to 8 p.m. Monday, Feb. 20, at Walker Bay Theater, 110 Highland NW.

For auditions, please come prepared with 16-32 bars in the style of "Hair" (singing from the show is also appropriate).Also, provide a headshot and resume.

In case one cannot attend local auditions; videos will be accepted up until the night of Feb. 28 please contact director, Fred Rogers, (218) 252-6553, for further instructions.