Director Carlen Gilseth drew inspiration from his family for the Minot State University theater department's production of "100 Years of Normal."
The production, which runs Tuesday through Saturday, Oct. 19, at 7:30 p.m. in MSU's Aleshire Theater in Hartnett Hall, is a celebratory story of a family who emigrates to the United States from Norway, their settlement in the Minot area, and their connection to the Normal School. Tickets are $6 for adults and $5 for students and senior citizens. There will be a "Talkback" with the writers and director following Thursday's performance.
Anyone with a valid MSU ID can gain free admittance. Patrons should park in the circular parking lot in front of Old Main (E Lot) due to construction on 11th Avenue Northeast. To make reservations, call 858-3172.
From left to right, some of the cast members of “100 Years of Normal” include David Iversen as Papa, Misty Neumiller as Kristin and Cheryl Nilsen as Mama.
Gilseth's aunt, Elna Knutson Knox, wrote a series of journals called "Mostly About Mama," that tells the story of her Norwegian emigrant family. Gilseth's aunt was also a graduate of the Normal School, said Gilseth, whose family has other ties to Minot State University as well. Gilseth, an assistant professor of communication arts at MSU, said he thought including the MSU connection was important since it is MSU's 100th birthday this year.
The narrator of the play is a young MSU student named Kristin (played by Misty Neumiller) who is doing a project for a college class about the history of her family. Throughout the play, different family members appear.
Gilseth said he had originally wanted to do a play based on Ole Rolvaag's "Giants in the Earth" but wasn't able to contact the author's family to get permission to adapt the book. Then he remembered his aunt's journals and he found the perfect play. "Mostly About Mama" was adapted for the stage by Nicole Thom-Arens.