Whatever you choose to do this weekend, you’ll enjoy doing it!

“Mere Image” opens Thursday night at the Wild Rose Theater (old Mason building on Bemidji Ave. N at the foot of Fifth Street). Steve Saari has his faithful followers who are always asking him what he’s working on. This newest comedy has been a little while in the writing and Sarah Einerson has been talking about it for over a year now—“that play is made for me,” as she has been heard repeating. After attending a rehearsal on Sunday last, I can agree with Sarah—she is made for the part of a disappointed former cabaret singer who lives in the spotlight, if only in her imagination. This play is a perfect metaphor for “saving your image or “damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead.” (David Farragut at the Battle of Mobile Bay)

The youngest actor is Martin Drop who is here for the run from his home in Skatfal, Norway. Martin was born in Norway 14-years ago and moved to his father’s homeland, South Africa when he was only one month old, hence, the South African accent; not the sing-song Norwegian lilt. The family returned to Norway a few years ago where his mother Guri teaches high school. In real life, Martin is similar to the precocious Virgil Van Drefft for he speaks three languages fluently, does stand-up comedy in Norwegian and is schooling himself with lessons sent from his school in Norway. But unlike the character in the play, Martin is unassuming and eager to learn as much as he can about acting (“I love it!”) with the help and support of his parents, Guri and Alan Drop. His father is a stand-up comedian who performs and books performers at the near-by town of Trondheim. Martin will leave for home right after the close of the show this Sunday and, although he admits to missing his parents, Martin wishes that he could stay just a bit longer. He is an astonishingly honest and insightful youth who has many surrogate parents looking after him during this sojourn in northern Minnesota which he freely admits is more Norwegian than the people he knows back in Norway. Congratulations to the many Sons of Norway!

Mere Image will play at 7:30 p.m., Thursday through Saturday, March 10-12 and there will be a 2 p.m. matinee on Sunday, March 13. Tickets will be available at the door: $10 for adults, $8 for seniors and $5 for students. This show is not for young children, not for the content but more for the speed of the repartee.

Sean Fahrlander, an Ojibwe Storyteller enrolled in the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe, will tell tales while the snow is on the ground in keeping with Native American tradition. Bemidjians should rush to the library on Saturday at 4 p.m. to listen to a man chosen to perform for the Grand Opening Celebration as the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C. in 2004. This event is free and open to the public and appropriate for all ages.

When we arrived at Bemidji High School on Sunday afternoon, the atmosphere was electric with anticipation for the Bemidji Symphony Orchestra performance. In fact, the crowd was so enthusiastic and proud of Sarah and Sadie, they leapt up after the first movement with shouts of joy. Conductor, Beverly Everett looked over to quietly signal the girls during the interruption and then they resumed playing. I can’t speak for anyone else at the concert but will admit to feeling immense pride in these young string players, skillfully mentored and taught by Michelle Laliberte. For a first time performing Dvorak’s “New Word Symphony (Symphony No. 9 in E minor), the orchestra members gave their all in an exciting rendition of the piece. The soloists were given an extra bow as the audience cheered and clapped for many minutes. Congratulations to conductor Beverly Everett and the BSO, you keep topping your last effort with increasing professionalism not often seen in an orchestra of a town this small. Surely, it has something to do with the competent teaching and performing staff in the Department of Music at BSU. Cuts to that department need to be reconsidered at the very least and rescinded in best case scenario.

Local dancers 11th grader Ingrid Dehler-Seter and 9th grader Kate Loxtercamp appeared with the Reif’s 4th Annual “Dancing with our Stars.” The young dancers who drive to Grand Rapids four days a week to rehearse with the Reif Center Ballet Company, started their dance training at First City Dance and then moved on to a ballet school associated with a ballet company. When you see Ingrid, ask her how she liked dancing with the sheriff! Congratulations ladies and make sure those press releases come to the Bemidji Pioneer for upcoming ballet performances. I am sure that there are some of us who would have enjoyed seeing you perform.

Oh yes! When you see Kent Nerburn, congratulate him on receiving the Minnesota Book Award in 2010 for his newest book, “The Wolf at Midnight.” The book is available at Book World in downtown Bemidji.

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