Current Season

2019-2020 Season

Adapted for the stage by Eva Barr
Based on the book Packinghouse Daughter by Cheri Register, published by the Minnesota Historical Society Press
Directed by Susan V. Hansen
October 4, 5 @ 7:00 pm, October 6 @ 2:00 pm – Austin West Cafeteria
October 11, 12 @ 7:00 pm, October 13 @ 2:00 pm – Albert Lea Commons

In this World Premiere, local Minnesota playwright Eva Barr adapts Cheri Register's 2001 memoir about coming of age in Albert Lea, MN during the 1959 Wilson's meatpacking plant strike. The play spans the inciting moments of the strike to the violence and divisiveness that resulted, but it is Register's personal awakening to the meaning of class in her life as the daughter of a blue-collar worker that provides the universal hook. As Register's grandfather might have put it, class is one of those "disquieting" subjects that applies to us all.  In a first for Riverland Theatre, this play will be performed in nontraditional spaces on both the Austin and Albert Lea campuses. Rating: Some material may be inappropriate for children.

Special events with playwright Eva Barr in conjunction with Wilson's Girl:

Stories for Small Town America: Adapting an "Old" Story for Today's "Stage"
Farmer/theatre artist Eva Barr talks about the process of adapting Cheri Register's "Packinghouse Daughter" into the play that Riverland Theatre is producing this semester. "Wilson's Girl: Unpacking the Beef in a Minnesota Town" is the product of a residency Barr conducted in 2017 with humanities teacher Jim Haney's Albert Lea High School students.  Barr will talk about why she chose to go about this adaptation in this particular way, collaborating directly with Register, creating live performance work in a media-saturated 21st century, and using performance work to generate discussion in the classroom.
Tuesday, October 1, 12:00 pm
Austin East Library
Free lecture; a free light lunch will be served

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Writing for Performance: Stories, Spaces, and Bodies
In a time when we can watch anything we might desire with the touch of a button, why write for live performance?  With this question driving the work, Eva Barr will guide students through staging local and/or personal stories.  Students are welcome to bring writing that they've done or short stories that intrigue them (fiction or non-fiction), but it is not necessary. We can work with oral stories as well.  Students will make choices about context, narrative structure, essential voices, style, and tone to represent a story in a four-dimensional way, no buttons needed.
Tuesday, October 8, 2:30 pm - 5 pm
Austin East E102

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Music by Mary Rodgers, Lyrics by Marshall Barer, Book by Jay Thompson, Dean Fuller & Marshall Barer
Directed by Lindsey Duoos Williams
November 20, 21, 22, 23 @ 7:00 pm; November 24 @ 2:00 pm

If you thought you knew the story of “The Princess and The Pea,” you may be in for a walloping surprise! This modern interpretation not only puts a twist on the well-known fairy tale but also brings a new perspective to the classic musical comedy. Prince Dauntless hasn’t had any luck finding a bride, until along comes the unconventional Princess Winnifred—but can she pass the test? Carried on a wave of wonderful songs, by turns hilarious and raucous, romantic and melodic, this rollicking story of royal courtship and comeuppance provides for some side-splitting shenanigans. Chances are you'll never look at fairy tales quite the same way again. Rating: Some material may not be suitable for young children.

By Oscar Wilde
Directed by Susan V. Hansen
February 26, 27, 28, 29 @ 7:00 pm; March 1 @ 2:00 pm

The Importance of Being Earnest has proven to be Oscar Wilde’s most enduring—and endearing—play. Jack Worthing and Algernon Moncrieff create alter egos named Ernest to escape their tiresome lives. They attempt to win the hearts of two women who, conveniently, claim to only love men called Ernest. The pair struggle to keep up with their own stories and become tangled in a tale of deception, disguise and misadventure. Filled with witty Victorian aphorisms and Wilde’s own brand of wisdom, The Importance of Being Earnest remains one of theatre’s most popular comedies. Rating: Some material may not be suitable for young children.


Music and Lyrics by Shaina Taub, Adapted by Shaina Taub and Laurie Woolery
Directed by Lindsey Duoos Williams
April 23, 24, 25, 30, May 1 @ 7:00 pm; May 2 @ 2:00 pm

Named one of The New York Times‘ best shows of 2017, As You Like It is an immersive, dream-like tale of faithful friends, feuding families, and lovers in disguise. Forced from their homes, Orlando, Duke Senior, his daughter Rosalind and niece Celia escape to the Forest of Arden, a fantastical place of transformation where the refugees find community and acceptance under the stars. Featuring an original folk-pop score by Taub and adapted from William Shakespeare’s original text, As You Like It celebrates the power of community and love. Rating: Some material may not be suitable for young children.