Friday, September 4, 2009

Play of the Week: Escanaba in da Moonlight

If anyone has ever been to Michigan's Upper Peninsula, they will immediately identify with this play. The Superior State, as it is sometimes called, is a world of its own. The peninsula possesses some of the most beautiful, rugged, and remote country you will ever see. It is cold and lonely. The residents, locally referred to as Yoopers, enjoy deer hunting, fishing, snowmobiling, and other northerly activities. Indeed, the first day of deer season is more sacred than Christmas to some.

Jeff Daniel's homage Escanaba in da Moonlight, lovingly explores the opening night of deer season in a hunting cabin in the heart of the U.P. This comedy comes complete with all the Yooper stereotypes including the dialect that to the untrained ear sounds like a Minnesota accent, but has subtle changes thanks to the Finnish immigrants that worked in the copper and iron or mines.

The play is the right of passage. The youngest son has still yet to bag his first buck at the age of thirty-five. And if he doesn't accomplish that feat this season, he will wear the same of being the oldest family member in the family's history to have not attained this trophy. But after a night of spiritual quests and divine intervention, all is made right through the power of love.

This play is definitely not your normal theatrical fare. While not totally inaccessible, it definitely will appeal to certain regions more than others. It has a very special place in this blogger's heart as it reminds me of home.

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