Challenging play includes puppets, magic, and pigeons
Some people have labeled “Las Hermanas Padilla” as an impossible play to produce. Sound issues, magic effects, and doves delivering death notes across the room add extra challenges to the play. Anoka Ramsey Community College is the first college to ever try producing this so called impossible play.
“Las Hermanas Padilla” takes place in a fantastical world of magic where all countries are at war. Ten sister-in-laws wait for their husbands to come home from battle. Each one of the sister-in-laws houses are shown in the play, causing the creators to produce images of each house instantly on the set.
With many extra challenges required to hurdle over, other departments at Anoka Ramsey are banding together to make “Las Hermanas Padilla” a success. “We are problem solving together to make the impossible possible,” said Blayn Lemke, director of the play.
Each of the sisters also has a unique plate. The president of the ceramics club, Kevin Eldstrom, is in charge of designing one plate for each sister.
Two former theatre majors from Anoka Ramsey Community College have also volunteered their help. James Ehlenz is arranging two pieces of music for the play. He now attends Mankato State. Lauren Haven is designing the puppets used. She now attends the University of Minnesota.
They are trying to keep the set as simple as possible. “Realism is a big trap for theatre. Everything gets so cluttered,” said Peter Lerohl, set designer. “If we invoke the feeling with mood and lighting it is often a better experience.
“We are using circus skills puppetry, ancient techniques with light sound and projection,” said director Blayn Lemke. “I have also invited theatre professionals from the area to see this rarely done production.
There are sixteen people in the cast with ages ranging from eighteen to fifty-five. Some of the cast is spending time in the wellness center to physically be ready to carry girls across the stage. The girls will flap pigeon wings as they fly across the stage, helping the pigeon deliver it’s message of death to the women.
The preview is on April 18. The play will be open April 19, 20, 25, 26, and the 27th. The curtains open at 7:30 and close at about 9:30. It is recommended to acquire the tickets early. Anyone interested in volunteering to help make this possible can e-mail the set designer at peter.lerohl@anokaramsey@edu.
“Las Hermanas Padilla” was chosen best new play at a play reading at the Kennedy Center in 2010. It was written by Tony Meneses.
Director Blayn Lemke said, “I am inspired by the words of Garland Wright who said theater has the right to fail grandly because that is when risks are taken. That is where growth is demonstrated.”
Originally Published in The Rampage – April 2013