Last play, but the story goes onThey’re all done, and the feeling is bittersweet.
By: Monica Isley, Lake County News Chronicle
They’re all done, and the feeling is bittersweet.
This week, I made what I think will be the last of the changes to the third and final play in the Tale of Two Harbors series. When I started, it seemed like a forever project. Now, I’m almost sorry to be done.
I interviewed Bunny Thomson about four years ago to talk about the play she was planning to do as a fund raiser for SAS. It would be a “reader’s theater,” she said, and it would be about the history of Two Harbors.
She talked about her ideas, how she’d fund it, who would be involved. Throughout the conversation, she kept saying, “I still need to find a writer, though.” I didn’t volunteer, as I’m sure she hoped I would. I was very proud of my arm, which usually flies up in the air of its own accord when someone says, “I need a volunteer for…”
By the end of the interview, realizing that hinting wouldn’t work, she just came out and asked. When I said yes, she told me it would be a three-year commitment because the history would be told in sections.
It seemed like a long time, but now the third play is finished—or at least, my part in it. Rehearsals have begun, props are being sought, costumes made, music written. When Heritage Days rolls around in July, A Tale of Two Harbors will unfold the years between 1930 and 1945.
“Why stop there?” someone asked me. “You’re missing all the fun: rock ‘n’ roll, poodle skirts, the opening or Reserve Mining.”
The thing is, people who lived in the years after 1945 are still living. They might not like us to tell their tales and use their names; they might watch too closely for mistakes. Better to stick with the years that are before the time of all but the most senior among us. And they, I hope, will be forgiving.
It was fun for me, though, to get to know the town—better, perhaps, than some of the people who have lived here all their lives. I moved here in 1975, a stranger to the faces, names and stories that surrounded me.
Gradually, through my job here at the paper, through my association with those who love history, and through these plays, I became friends with the hard-scrabble lot who founded the town, with the hopes and dreams, the schemes that failed and succeeded, the changing attitudes (a Republican Club?!) and even the hard-headedness that sometimes makes projects much more difficult than they need be.
I’ve seen the town’s strengths and weaknesses, and I’ve fallen in love with its shoreline and its lake, with the big boats that slide in and out like silent ghosts, and the many happy photo ops for my forays with camera in hand.
The theme song for A Tale of Two Harbors, one that is repeated each year, is “Look Around, It’s Our Town.” The Power Point slide show lets the audience do just that; it lets them see the scraggly beginnings, the progress, the people, and hopeful signs for the future found today.
Although I wasn’t born here, and although I may not die here, Two Harbors will always be my town. I wrote these plays on paper--and in my heart. It’s my hope that they’ll engender pride in everyone who sees them, that they’ll leave the theater with smiles on their faces, music in their hearts, and hope for the future. In a way, A Tale of Two Harbors is everyone’s story.