Acting troupe ready to entertain

The Slope County Farmers Fair Association along with the Slope County Players will hold their 9th Annual Dinner Theater as the Slope County Players will perform Hospital Hijinx, an Eldridge Publishing Co. play written by R. Eugene Jackson.

Kasey Burke (LEFT), Donald Nordby (MIDDLE), and Nicole Lamborn (RIGHT) laughs while they practice a scene for the upcoming production of Hospital Hijinx, a comedy that the Slope County Players acting troupe will perform during the 9th Annual Dinner Theater in Amidon. (Photo by Rachel Bock/The Herald)

By RACHEL BOCK

For The Herald

There will be three performances, one on each of Jan. 28, Feb. 3 and Feb. 4 at the Slope County Community Center in Amidon.

The production is earlier this year, as the dates of the productions had to be moved up due to conflicts with cast members. Past year’s performances were usually around Valentine’s Day and the middle of February. This year’s play will showcase the talents of 16 area actors that have been practicing since the beginning of December. Play practices have also been affected by the winter weather this season, and the actors have been making up for cancelled practices by having four practices a week to get ready for the performances.

Hospital Hijinx is a comedy that takes place in a rundown hospital where the only two doctors on the hospital staff have been shipped out of the country, and for some reason all of the medical supplies keep disappearing. To keep the hospital operating, four student nurses are hired despite the fact that they have the four lowest grades in their nursing class. Meanwhile, the owner of a nearby rival hospital is scheming a plan to take over control of the run down hospital, so he can have complete control of all the healthcare in the area. The student nurses who do not know anything about nursing, or even how to take a blood pressure or a patient’s temperature, try and disguise themselves as doctors to stop the takeover.

(L to R) Lyndsey Erickson, Jordyn Brandt, Kristy Van Daele and Shelby Hewson act out a scene. (Photo by Rachel Bock/The Herald)

This year’s production is being directed by Amidon resident and the original creator of the Amidon dinner theaters Donald Nordby. For Nordby, who doesn’t see the dinner theaters as work but more a love and passion for the theater, uses it as an outlet for him to display his creativity. Nordby especially enjoys the building of the sets, and making a creation he has in his mind come to life. For Nordby, who initially caught the acting bug as a young child from his mom Vivian, began acting when he was little in plays that his mom wrote and directed.

“This is therapy for me. Seriously this is therapy for me. It allows me to be in my own little world, and get away from life for a little bit. I just love it,” he said.

Donald Nordby, who originally started the Amidon Dinner Theater as a fundraiser for the Slope County Fair Board, did not act or direct in the first one, but was in charge of all the behind the scenes aspect of the production along with being in charge of the meal. Since the first production, he has acted in all of the plays along with directing most of them.

Nordby who says acting and directing is really fairly simple, has been able to pass on his skill of directing to other people over the years. He really enjoys the acting and directing part of the productions because of the creativity and the fun you can have by getting into character and says even though you may forget a line or mess up a line, the way you react can add to performance.

“People that get into these plays they do have a lot of fun. People come here to have fun, they do not expect a professional Broadway Play. Actually when you miss a line it is the ad-lib trying to get back on cue or the way you are up there stumbling, which makes it funny,” Nordby said.

Brenda Davis, who will be performing in her third production with the dinner theater this year says she originally got started with the dinner theaters because she helped with the fair shows years ago, another play productions that the Slope County Players are perform during the Slope County Fair. She has not been in the plays for about five years, and came out of her acting retirement this year because fellow actor Lyndsey Erickson asked her to be in the play. Davis gives credit to both Donald Nordby and Lyndsey Erickson for all their hard work and dedication that they give to these dinner theaters.

“I would like to give credit to Donald Nordby. He has prepared the stage, painted everything, and has the set ready. Every time we are here he is working on something. Donald and Lyndsey both put in a lot of extra hours,” Davis said.

After the play performance on Jan. 28, Davis along with Brent Voigt, and Trent Scott will share their musical talents as their band will perform country western music for the crowd to enjoy.

“I like acting, I like performing, I like singing and playing, I like it all. I think it is going to be a hilarious play, there are lots and lots of good parts to this play and lots of great characters,” Davis said.

There will be another musical act that will perform after the Feb. 4 performance, as Lane and Anne Dingfelder will also perform country western music for the crowd in attendance.

Tickets for each performance is $45 a ticket which includes hors d’oeuvres before the beginning of the play, along with a certified Prime Rib Dinner during the intermission, followed by desert. The meal will be catered this year by the Roughrider Bar and Grill from Belfield.

Tickets can be purchased at the Amidon Courthouse by stopping by or by calling 701-879-6275. Tickets have been sold out in the past years and are going fast.

Lyndsey Erickson who has directed and acted in a lot of the past performances stresses how much fun it is to be a part of the Slope County Players. She also states how Donald Nordby has been a huge influential role in the success of all of the dinner theaters.

“We of course do this for fun, because we love to do it. Best part for us is to get away and perform for the community. We get excited come October when we get to start picking out plays. The fun part about this year is Donald Nordby is back directing. Donald does so much for the dinner theater, he is amazing, and he just puts in so much work. We would be lost without him,” Erickson said.

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