GRANITE FALLS, Minn. — Put on your poodle skirts because on Oct. 4, during the 2013 Arts Meander Opening Night Celebration, local community performers will star in an original, interactive, walking theater production in downtown Granite Falls, highlighting the history of Main Street and the community’s revered ‘Saturday Nights’ of the 1940s and 50s. Produced by PlaceBase Productions in partnership with the Granite Falls Historical Society and Granite Falls Riverfront Revitalization, this production will transform Main Street into a multi-stage play-space filled with vintage marquees, classic cars, and photographs from the era. The one-hour production will begin at 7p.m. and culminate with live 40s and 50s music by the 21-piece big band, The Echo’s. The performance is free and audience members are encouraged to dress of the times.
In the last year PlaceBase Productions has set the history of Granite Falls onto the stage in three community-based, site-specific musical productions, each play leading audiences on a theatrical journey into the collective memory of this great town. The first walking theater production was staged on the town’s river walk and traced the history of Granite Falls from the last Ice Age, telling the stories of its origin on the Minnesota River. The next paddling theater production put the audience in canoes on an 8-mile stretch of the Minnesota River, with the performers on the river’s bank, to tell the strange story of how Granite Falls became the County Seat in the 1870s.
Building on the others, this final play in the Granite Falls trilogy presents a story of self-discovery and young love, transporting the audience to the town’s cultural and economic heyday of the 40s and 50s. Just as the first two plays happened on the very spots where significant events occurred, so Granite Falls: Saturday Nights. will draw audiences through the streets, shops and theatres of the historic downtown. For one hour this two-block-long theater stage will thrum with living history as two young people of the era lead visitors through a puzzle of stories from one ‘not-so-average’ Saturday night. With scenes and music performed by regional actors, in the height of an era that prized local humor, jazz music, and the best pie in the world, this walking theater production promises to be a unique and unforgettable experience of Granite Falls in its prime.
In line with PlaceBase Productions goals of revitalizing rural communities through theatrical productions, the performance will provide a creative forum for the community of Granite Falls and the surrounding region to learn about the history of Main Street and revisit a time when it was thriving, to encourage revitalization, expand tourism, and excite interest in preserving the history of the area and the downtown buildings and businesses.
Audience members said of last year’s Granite Falls: A Meandering River Walk, “Seeing a play like this gives you a new appreciation for your own history. You realize how colorful and interesting it was and how larger than life some of these characters were… and then suddenly you start looking at things differently, because suddenly it’s personal, because in some way you have seen these historical figures in the flesh.” And “This community is so beautiful and full of life as the river that runs through it. I hope you stay together for a long time.”
Audience members called Paddling Theater: From Granite Falls to the Yellow Medicine “amazing,” “remarkable,” “beautiful,” “an eye-opener,” “awe-inspiring,” “a great way to connect to the history and stories of a place,” “a fabulous integration of nature, music, people, and history,” and “marvelously performed and orchestrated. Bravo. Bravo. Bravo.” Many audience members said, “I will be back to share this river with friends and family.”
Don’t miss your opportunity to experience the final performance in the Granite Falls trilogy, Granite Falls: Saturday Nights. at 7 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 4. Performance starts and ends at 807 Prentice Street, Granite Falls.
Related national press from previous productions can be found at http://placebaseproductions.com.