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'Flowers for Algernon' to be performed on Brainerd Community Theatre stage

What if a person could become someone totally different in just a short while? How would that affect their friends? Their family? How would it affect themselves? These themes are all part of the drama "Flowers for Algernon" to be presented by the...

The drama “Flowers for Algernon” will be presented in Nivember by the Brainerd Community Theatre at Central Lakes College. Submitted
The drama “Flowers for Algernon” will be presented in Nivember by the Brainerd Community Theatre at Central Lakes College. Submitted

What if a person could become someone totally different in just a short while? How would that affect their friends? Their family? How would it affect themselves? These themes are all part of the drama "Flowers for Algernon" to be presented by the Brainerd Community Theatre at Central Lakes College.

The show will hit the stage at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 2-5, with an additional 2 p.m. matinee on Nov. 5. All performances are in the Chalberg Theatre on the Brainerd campus.

Based on the award-winning novella by Daniel Keyes, "Algernon" follows the story of Charlie Gordon, a grown man who, because he's developmentally disabled, has an IQ of 58. He's lived a somewhat unremarkable life, unaware of his condition, until one day when he's offered the opportunity of a lifetime. Experimental brain surgery, tested on a lab mouse named Algernon, has proven to dramatically increase intelligence. Charlie accepts the offer of the surgery, with neither he nor anyone else knowing what may be the outcome.

The result is that Charlie begins to grow in intelligence at a phenomenal rate. He soon surpasses the capabilities of his fellow workers at a bakery, then of his tutor, and finally of the research scientists themselves. Becoming a world-renowned genius, Charlie finds that his gift has come with a price. He no longer fits in with the world as he once knew it. People are suspicious, even fearful of him. His attempts to reconnect with the family from whom he was estranged at a very young age do not go as hoped or expected.

Throughout his development, Charlie has befriended the mouse Algernon. But when he recognizes that Algernon is beginning to regress, to lose the intelligence the surgery gave him, Charlie must face his own possible fate of returning to his previous state.

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"'Flowers for Algernon' is a tender, moving and even humorous story about the human condition," Theatre Director Patrick Spradlin stated in a news release. "What it is that makes us who we are, how fragile a hold we have on our reality, and what challenges we face when we try to drastically change those things about us."

The Brainerd Community Theatre cast is a mix of community members and students, featuring both season veterans of the stage and newcomers making their debuts. Featured as Charlie is Scott Lucas, who has appeared on the BCT stage as Atticus Finch in "To Kill a Mockingbird," as the hermit Skelly in "The Rimers of Eldritch" and at Stage North Theatre in productions of "A Christmas Carol" and "Ten November." Mich'le Rolan makes her BCT stage debut as Alice, Charlie's tutor and tentative romantic interest. Rolan has played leading roles in productions of "Antigone" and "A Doll's House."

Kevin Yeager plays Dr. Nemur, and Bri Keran is Dr. Strauss, the two research scientists responsible for Charlie's transformation. Yeager has appeared in numerous area productions, including "Blithe Spirit," "Cheaper by the Dozen," "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum" and "A Midsummer Night's Dream." Keran was most recently seen in the BCT production of "Nunsense," with prior roles in productions such as "The Foreigner," "Blithe Spirit," "Spamalot" and "Steel Magnolias."

Nicholas Kory plays the research assistant Burt. Kory is known for his leading roles in plays like

"Relatively Speaking" and "A Servant of Two Masters." Barb McColgan, last seen as Mother Superior in "Nunsense," plays Charlie's mother in "Algernon." Jesse Brutscher plays his father. Brutscher played the damned soul Sharkey in BCT's "The Seafarer" and was Sir Bedevere in "Spamalot."

Beth Selinger, a veteran actor/director of many area productions, plays the role of Charlie's employer, Mrs. Donner. Marc Oliphant, another veteran of numerous plays, is Joe, Charlie's co-worker and foundation benefactor Mr. Harvey. Sally Boos, seen in productions of "The Sound of Music" and "To Kill a Mockingbird," plays Charlie's landlady, Mrs. Mooney.

Rounding out the ensemble in multiple roles are Cassidy Bates, Connor Nichols, Mackenzie Papillon-Renford, Brecken Pedersen, Nitasha Sanders and Troy Stitt. Juvenile actors Jasmine Patnoe and Bryce Scully play childhood characters from Charlie's past.

Stage management is provided by Allie Gorman; the set is designed by George Marsolek, who also acts as technical director; costuming is by Dawn Marks; and lighting and sound designs are by Ben Kent. The play is produced by special arrangement with the Dramatic Publishing Company of Woodstock, Ill.

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Tickets are available online at www.clcmn.edu or the CLC box office at 218-855-8199.

The production is sponsored by Greater Lakes Area Performing Arts. The entire CLC Performing Arts Center season is made possible in part by an operating grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.

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