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It's no surprise 'I Remember Mama' sells out four shows

Posted on March 21, 2011 at 6:38 PM Comments comments (0)

Tesha Christianson wrote this editorial in the Cambridge Star Newspaper on Saturday, October 4, 2008.

"In these times of foreboding financial headlines, it's nice to hear a heartwarming story of families pulling together. Such was the case when I watched ABC Theater's production of "I Remember Mama." The show ran two weekends (Sept. 20 and 21, 27 and 28 ) in Cambridge and sold out all four performances. Wow. I think it's a testament to our hunger for good stories that make us laugh and bring us to tears, and then make us laugh again.

The play centers around one Norwegian family living in San Francisco, Calif. in 1910 -- but it could just as easily have been set in Cambridge or Isanti. The Norwegian accent is easily recognizable to us Minnesotans. Uff da. The story follows Mama (played by Dawn Holmquist) and Papa (played by Jon Nystrom) as they struggle through life with little money, yet somehow manage to make sure their four children always have what they need - and a little more. They all sit down at the kitchen table and pay their bills together. What an important lesson in this time of financial crisis. Mama and Papa show their children how to spend only what they have and put what's left away for an emergency. And someday, Mama might get that nice winter coat she's been saving for.

"I Remember Mama" follows the family through good times and bad. There's the time the littlest girl Dagmar ( played by Emily McLean and Sara Snell) gets sick and has to be hospitalized. There's the time the kitten miraculously recovers despite having been put down for the night in a bed of chloroform. It's a miracle! An old maid, Aunt Trina (played by Sherry Pearce), finds happiness and love. Eldest daughter Katrin (played by Bethany Holmquist) strives to become a writer, and encounters frustration and disappointment along the way to achieving her dream. Christine (played by Rachel Fager) is the envious sister, who makes sure Katrin knows how her behavior is affecting the rest of the family. And Nels, the oldest boy, (played by Seth Holmquist) is a steady rock when his mother needs him.

Extended family bring conflict and humor to the tale. Scott Walburg plays a foreboding and loud Uncle Chris, who scares the aunts on purpose but never means to frighten the children. Aunt Jenny (played by Elizabeth Healy) is always into everyone's business and feels free to give her two cents at every opportunity. And aunt Sigrid (played by Joyce Greenberg) always complains. Chuck Pearce plays the dramatic Mr. Hyde, the boarder who entertains by reading the family books at night. Others rounding out the cast include Debra Snell as a woman, Rick Holmqust as Mr. Thorkelson, Tom Walker as Dr. Johnson, a soda clerk and bell-boy, Cheryl Hubacher as a nurse, Millie Healy as a nurse, Rebekah Fager as Dorothy Schiller, and Kathy McCully and Janet Bostrom sharing the role of Florence Dana Moorhead. 

The show was directed by Dawn Holmquist with help from Sherry Pearce (assistant director) and Joyce Greenberg (director's assistant). Seamstress Diane Hallin and set builder Jon Nystrom helped transform the community room of the Isanti County Historical Society Heritage Center into a theater. Stage manager was Luke Snell. All things technical were overseen by Lenny Greenberg, and Harriet Anderson served as drama consultant. 

Congrats to all of you on a job well done!

Look for more shows coming in the future from the ABC Theater Company. "Our goal,"

according to Dawn Holmquist, "is to produce plays that provide opportunities for inter-generational involvement and family participation."