It’s no secret that Covid-19 has kept local theaters and audiences away from one another with no return in sight. Two weeks into the pandemic, Classics Lost ‘n’ Found Theater Company cancelled their 2020 season. As rehearsals for their Spring production of Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night” began, Governor Walz closed down the state.
Nokomis resident Greg Bastien, the director of “Twelfth Night,” recalls the moment: “At that time, we were hoping to still perform in the summer, possibly outdoors. Unfortunately, we had to cancel that, too!”
Noreen K. Brandt, the costumer for the show and also a Nokomis resident stated, “That left us with a lot of antsy actors still eager to perform. Greg and I, who are both playwrights, literally looked at one another and said, ‘Let’s go digital!’” A decision was made to work on several short plays, including scenes from “Twelfth Night,” and a week later Minnesota Association of Community Theaters (MACT) announced that their short play festival, FastFest, would be digital for the first time. “This was a great opportunity for us, and gave us a deadline to rehearse and film,” said Brandt. The finalized program included two scenes of the Shakespeare play and two original scripts: “In a Time of Masks” by Bastien and “Bad Mystery Suspense/Science Fiction Theater” by Brandt.
Based in south Nokomis, Classics’ performance space is at Lake Nokomis Lutheran Church, located on 46th St., two blocks off Bloomington Ave. However, the church is unavailable for rehearsals.
Even so, “We’re not done yet!” said Daniel L. Dyke, who’s scheduled to direct a new version of the Sherlock Holmes thriller, “The Hound of the Baskervilles,” now postponed until October 2021. “We made a decision to continue rehearsing and filming this fall, both a preview of a scene from ‘Hound,’ as well as other short scripts.”
Steven LaVigne, who wrote the Holmes script and is a co-founder of the theater company is working on developing a website. (He’s also written a short play about John Barrymore for future production). “We’ll post links to YouTube from our Facebook page, and our webpage once it’s set up. We’re also hoping to either have our own mini-festival or rent a local venue for a fundraiser either next spring or summer.
The roster of actors for upcoming productions include Nokomis or Longfellow residents Coral and Greg Bastien, Brandt, Tony Gillen, Stephen Greenhaigh, Katie Holmes and Selma Petterson as well as Corey Alfred, Connor Burrell, Helen Collings, Candy Dyke, Don Larssen and Daniel L. Dyke.
Bastien would also like to acknowledge that all camera work is being done by Katie Holmes. “She did a great job with our shows this summer, and our goal is to complete four or five short scenes by Thanksgiving, followed by more in 2021. At this point we’re still hoping to do Twelfth Night with the original cast next May. It is possible we may end up filming that as well.”