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A rich tradition revisited

Actors rehearsed a scene Tuesday of “Tinytown: A Very, Very Poor Village” that w

Central Lakes College’s Children’s Theatre announces the production of “Tinytown: A Very, Very Poor Village” at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. April 16 in the Dryden Theatre on the Brainerd campus. The 2 p.m. show will be an American Sign Language performance.

Loosely based on the story “Stone Soup,” Tinytown, located in the lush valley between the Tower Mountains in the Kingdom of Dillydob, is a rich and prosperous village. But when the villagers hear rumors of a royal visit they fear taxes will be raised, so they pretend to be very, very poor. This little fib proves fatal as the Prince of Dillydob has really come to spend money in their town, for he loves to shop.

He can find nothing to buy, except the inventions from a young inventor named Alexander Edison. All of the villagers, even his mother, make fun of Alexander’s inventions, which they believe are useless. The prince rewards Alexander by appointing him the “Wizard of All Things New.” To help the poor village, the Prince decides to build the kingdom’s smelly Royal Sauerkraut Factory in Tinytown.

Alexander becomes rich and famous, Tinytown becomes very stinky and the villagers learn an important lesson about telling the truth and listening to rumors.

The production will play to more than 1,200 school children during the 10 performances for schools playing through May 5. District 181’s Community Education purchases tickets for all the district’s second-graders to attend. 

“This is the 28th year the district has partnered with the college on this program and we are very grateful for their support,” said CLC theater instructor and director Dennis Lamberson, who also wrote the script and has taught at the college since 1987. “For many students this is their only exposures to theater during their K-12 education. Each year, I get students in my college classes who remember coming to the theater in the second grade.

“‘Tinytown’ is the sixth play in the series about the Kingdom of Dillydob that I have written for CLC Children’s Theatre,” Lamberson said. “The exciting thing about doing an original script is the chance for actors to create original characters for the first time. 

“As a playwright, I am able to develop the script to fit the individual talents of the actors. In the first draft of the script, the character of Alex was only an inventor. Ralph Knowlton, the actor cast in this role, can tumble and juggle, so the character of Alexander Edison grew into a circus performer who is also an inventor. In draft one and two, the role of the comic prince was a princess. Actor Dillon Pool is an excellent physical comedian so the character was changed to Prince Eric Edgar Edwin Ester Barthelme the Third. A member of last year’s CLC football team, Pool’s large physical presence adds to the comic nature of the 10-year-old Prince of Dillydob.”             

Three of the Dillydob plays are published by Drama Source under the title The Magic Theatre Trunk.

Others in the cast includes Justin Jordan as the Mayor and his twin brother Horace the goat herder; Savannah Spreeman is Millie, a girl on the lookout for a husband; The deceitful villagers of Tiny Town are played by Ariel Sutton, Beatrice Mitchell, Katie Nier, Aidan Muller and Nicholas Brutscher, and Bruce Praska is the Prince’s body guard  

The production is written for audiences preschool and older. All tickets are $5 and may be purchased by calling the theater box office at 855-8199 or online at