‘Of Mice and John Glenn’ takes a rollicking trip back to the ’60sCloquet High School students will present the world premiere of “Of Mice and John Glenn” at 7 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, March 29, 30 and 31, with an additional matinee showing at 2 p.m. on Saturday, March 31.
By: Wendy Johnson, Pine Journal
Start with three elderly, widowed sisters who decide to take up residence in the abandoned house of their dead “uncle” – who is really a third cousin twice removed on their mother’s side. Throw in a houseful of mice, a hippy renter named Harmony and a couple of dead guys in the basement. Add to this one very nosy neighbor lady, a mysterious mime, a friendly doctor who lives next door, a police officer looking for lost marbles and a handy man with a few secrets of his own, and you’ve got a formula for – hilarity!
Cloquet High School students will present the world premiere of “Of Mice and John Glenn” at 7 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, March 29, 30 and 31, with an additional matinee showing at 2 p.m. on Saturday, March 31.
The original comedy – being performed for the first time anywhere – was written by local writer and second-time playwright Jill Pertler and is being directed by theater veteran Kevin Hamre.
“After having so much success with our original play last spring [a Cinderella spoof called ‘It’s Possible’],” said Hamre, “we were asked to come up with another original script. Jill Pertler and I put our heads together and came up with the script, ‘Of Mice and John Glenn.’”
Pertler added that another reason for writing their own play was because there are so many talented kids who want to be involved in CHS theater.
“It’s difficult to find an existing play that has a large enough cast of quality characters,” she stated. “Even after I had this play written, I went back to the drawing board following auditions and wrote in five more characters. Now I can’t imagine the play without them! It’s a great ‘problem’ to have.”
“Of Mice and John Glenn” is a play that Hamre said will make audiences reflect back to the ’60s era – the start of the hippie generation – a decade full of many fascinating people and events, such as the Beatles, the assassination of President Kennedy and of course John Glenn, who orbited the moon.
The story takes place in 1964 and is about three sisters who lost track of each other through the years, but because of the sudden deaths of all of their husbands, two of them were left penniless and had to take up residency in a boarding home.
Thinking that life was at its end, Ruby, the eldest sister (played by Kelsey Anderson) steals a rowboat and catches up with her other two sisters (played by Abbi Parenteau and Lindsey Bushnell) as they row up the Moose Horn River at midnight to the home of a recently deceased uncle, where they take up residency. As time goes on, they gradually bond together and rediscover what life is all about as they learn what it is like to laugh again, cry together, and, yes.....to discover an interest in men again!
In the meantime, mice have decided to take up residence in the same home, too, along with other unknown, strange men who show up at the house, saying that it’s also their house. As everyone argues about the home, the sisters must decide what to do with the men, and the plot thickens.
In an interesting twist, John Glenn just happens to be the celebrity scheduled to make an appearance at the grandstand of the local county fair, and since Ruby has a crush on him, the sisters go off to see him at the fair.
“‘Of Mice and John Glenn’ is a show for all ages,” said Hamre. “Not only will it make you laugh, but there will also be a few tearful moments as well as we reflect back to the simplicity of life in the ’60s.”
“Of Mice and John Glenn” opens at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 29 at the Cloquet High School auditorium. Other presentations are slated for Friday, March 30, at 7 p.m.; and Saturday at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Tickets are $9 for adults and $6 for students and can be reserved at CHS.4Theatre@gmail.com. They will also be available one hour before the show.