by Don Arneson
I wrote the first version of Golden Wedding in 1980, and entered it into the Midwest Playwrights Program, a ten-state contest for new play development. As a winner, it was part of a two-week development program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where it was produced as a staged reading and critiqued by other dramatists, including Dale Wasserman, author of ‘Man of La Mancha‘ and the stage version of ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest‘.
In Madison, I received recommendations for revising the play; however, I became so involved in writing other plays that work on ‘Golden Wedding‘ languished. Then, in 1989, my wife and I joined the Peace Corps and served in Jamaica. On returning home, we spent several years writing our Peace Corps novel, ‘Soon Come‘. Golden Wedding was all but forgotten. Then early in 2005, tired of a back seat position, it began crying for attention. “Where is that rewrite you promised?” it asked. Guiltily, I dug it out of the closet, enrolled in a playwriting class at The Loft, and worked on the play as my project. It underwent significant changes from the 1980 version.
Encouraged by the reaction of my instructor, John Olive, local playwright and artistic director, I contacted the Prior Lake Players, who agreed to read it and then to produce it. In addition to being a writer, I have worked as an English teacher, a district manager for Encyclopedia Britiannica, a Peace Corps Volunteer, and a state supervisor for the U.S. Department of Education. In addition to Soon Come, I have published two children’s books, Arnie, Knight of the Day and Something Nice, Inc. and Other Short Plays for Kids. On the shelf I have two other plays, Turkeys of a Feather and Finnegan’s Wake.
It has been a great honor to have the opportunity to work with such a talented group of people – actors, assistant director, publicity manager, crew, and author. Since Golden Wedding is an original piece that had never been put on a live stage, it has presented some new challenges. For instance, we had to edit it to a reasonable length, yet still have it make sense. Since Don had written such a tight show, that proved harder than we thought. I have been lucky to have such a supportive staff of directors, actors, and crew. It has also been a great help to have Don and Joyce at rehearsals – they have been invaluable. I hope the success of this show will prompt the Prior Lake Players to produce more original pieces in the future.
This has been a special show for me not only because it is my directing debut, but because of the characters in the show, Joe and Ida. The two characters remind me of my late grandparents, Charles and Virginia King, who passed not long ago. I want to dedicate this show to their memory.
Christopher J. King, Director
Joe Perrizo – Todd Loose
Ida Perrizo – Kay Dunning
Pauline Gunderson – Sabrina Hawkinson
Berl Gunderson – Kris Kendall
Arthur Perrizo – Matthew Leviton
Ramona Walsh – Christina (Tina) Scott
Bruno Perrizo – Jebidiah Rowanwood Worrall
Director – Christopher J. King
Assistant Director – Luke Gerhardt
Stage Manager – Alicia Woods
Set Design – Sarah Salisbury
Lighting – Zac Daily, Craig Johnson
Sound – Shawn Grund, Luanna Woodrow
Construction Crew Chief – Kim Svenningsen
Construction – Steve Grimmer, Alicia Woods, Luanna Woodrow, Jason Abbott, Sarah Salisbury
Running Crew – Megan Halloran, Ryanne Dunning
Props – Alicia Woods, Luke Gerhardt
Costumes – Kirsten Gerhardt
Hair – Ann Sasse, Brittany Sasse
Tickets Manager – Julie Blanch
House/Lobby Manager – Melissa Cummings
House/Lobby Volunteers – Austin Blanch, Michael Dunning, Kirsten Gerhardt, Sara Krohn
Publicity – Melissa Cummings, Kirsten Gerhardt, Cast and Crew
First Niters – Kirsten Gerhardt
Programs – Melissa Cummings
Auditorium Supervisor – Mark Hubbard