Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Plaid in Paradise August 13, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 10:29 AM
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I KNEW HE REALLY didn’t want to attend the show. I’ve been married to my husband long enough (28 years) to gauge his interest.

So when I asked Thursday evening at the supper table whether he wanted to go to Forever Plaid by The Merlin Players at the Paradise Center for the Arts, I didn’t expect (and didn’t get) an “Oh, yeah, I can’t wait to see the play,” jumping-up-and-down reaction. Randy isn’t that sort of emotional guy.

I purposely failed to mention one little fact to him. Forever Plaid is a musical. If I want Randy to attend a musical production with me, I won’t let the “m” word slip from my tongue. That’s almost a guarantee that he’ll balk at attending.

But apparently he’s caught on to my lack of full disclosure. As we settled into our seats, among the few remaining for Thursday evening’s nearly sold-out performance, I turned to him: “Oh, I didn’t tell you this is a musical.”

“I thought so,” he said.

The Paradise Center for the Arts theatre during last summer's production of South Pacific.

For the next 90-plus minutes we listened to Forever Plaid, a quartet of actors/singers, croon and belt out songs from the 1950s and 1960s in a high-energy show. From “Chain Gang” to “Love Is a Many Splendored Thing” to “She Loves You,” these guys could sing and dance and move in nearly perfect unison. What a show. They made me tired simply watching them perform, and sweat.

They also made me smile, non-stop. After awhile I realized that I had been smiling from the moment the quartet, and their back-up band, set foot on the Paradise stage. It’s that kind of musical.

I especially enjoyed their three-plus minute interpretation of The Ed Sullivan Show. The Plaid Boys zipped on and off the stage as jugglers, ventriloquists, a singing nun and more representative of the Sunday night television variety program. Wow, that brought back memories.

Mostly, though, Forever Plaid, the story of a male quartet killed in a tragic accident and come back to life for the performances of their lives, entertained me. And isn’t that what theater is, should be?

I just have one little confession. I dislike plaid—really, really, really dislike plaid.

Plaid, no favorite of mine, and the reason I couldn't print this photo in a larger size, although this plaid is more subdued and OK with me, as far as plaids.

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The Merlin Players will present two more productions of Forever Plaid at 7:30 p.m. on August 13 and 14 at the historic Paradise Center for the Arts at 321 Central Avenue in historic downtown Faribault.

© Copyright 2010 Audrey Kletscher Helbling