Groups collaborating to present Lewis play

Press Release

For most of the past century, Americans have wondered if an authoritarian politician ever could be elected to high office in the United States.
Could a persuasive individual assume dictatorial control?
An answer often offered was made famous by a 1935 novel by Minnesota-born novelist Sinclair Lewis entitled “It Can’t Happen Here.”
A stage version of “It Can’t Happen Here” is being presented by the Borealis Bards, in collaboration with Icebox Radio Theater, on the evening of Feb. 17 at the Backus Community Center in International Falls.
The play will be offered as a recorded dramatic reading with added multi-media effects.
“The public is invited to gather and listen to a broadcast-like presentation,” said Douglas Skrief, who is directing the production along with technical direction by Icebox Radio’s founder, Jeff Adams.
“It will be a little like gathering around the radio for an old-time radio drama,” he noted.
“We will facilitate a discussion after the performance,” Skrief added.
The story centres on a Vermont newspaper editor, his family, and neighbours as they follow the nomination of a charismatic U.S. senator to the presidential ticket of his party.
The whole community becomes involved as the senator is elected. But events take dark and unexpected turns as the country learns what a fascist dictatorship might look like in America.
This is the first collaboration of the Borealis Bards, a program of Backus Community Center, and Icebox Radio Theatre, both of which are housed at Backus.
The cast is made up of veteran actors from both groups.
“There are well over 30 roles so some of us are doubling, and even tripling, up on parts,” said Skrief.
“It really showcases some of the amazing voices of local radio and stage.
“[And] Icebox Radio Theatre head Jeff Adams is doing an amazing job of putting together the finished recording,” he added.
Some of the actors include Skrief as the local newspaper editor, Joan Christensen as the society page editor, Aela Mackintosh as the editor’s daughter, Willard Johnson as the senator, and Tom Bement as the local party commissioner.
Other actors taking part include Jim Yount, Justin Kapla, Caleb Silvers, Adams, Scotta Turner, and Andrea Gohl, with Ward Merrill serving as the narrator.
The production will be broadcast in Room 102 at Backus. A free-will offering will take the place of admission.
Light refreshments will be served and there will be a cash bar.
For more information, call the Backus Community Center at 1-218-285-7225.