Noted theater group brings ‘Arla Mae’s Booyah Wagon’ to Levee Park By John McLoone Hastings area residents have the opportunity to see a top-notch performance – for free this week, as the …
Noted theater group brings ‘Arla Mae’s Booyah Wagon’ to Levee Park
By John McLoone
Hastings area residents have the opportunity to see a top-notch performance – for free this week, as the Sod House Theater brings its own production of Arla Mae’s Booyah Wagon to The Rotary Pavillion at Levee Park. Shows are scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 4 at 6 p.m. and Sunday, Sept. 5 at 3:30 p.m. The performance is free of charge, but reservations are required. Reserve tickets at www.sodhousetheater. org.
The 75-minute show is playing at 31 locations in Greater Minnesota. It tells the story of Arla Mae, a rural Minnesotan, who claims to have had Minnesota’s first food truck where she made her world famous booyah. Fast forward 25 years, and Arla Mae received a letter that a museum official will come to take a look at the wagon and put it in the Smithsonian Institution if she is able to dust it off and throw one final booyah party. The play was created by the Sod House Theater to bring attention to eating locally-produced food, local farmers and the power that food has to bring communities together.
Noted award-winning chef Ann Kim designed a specialty booyah recipe for the show. Sod House Theater is partnering with the Minnesota Farmers Union on the production.
Sod House Artistic Director Luverne Seifert said this is the theater company’s 12th season. It features noted actors from the stages of the Guthrie, Jungle Theater and Ten Thousand Things Theater. Arla Mae’s Booyah Wagon stars Sarah Agnew, who helped create the production, as well as directing it and starring in the title role.
Seifert said Sod House is a labor of love for all involved.
“It’s exciting. We travel all over the state doing different kinds of shows relating to issues going on in communities,” he said.
This year, it features outdoor venues, such as Levee Park, where the performance “stage” overlooks the Mississippi River.
“We perform in non-specific venues,” said Seifert. “For instance, we had a show about old vaudeville acts. We performed that throughout the state of Minnesota in historic ballrooms.”
“This year, we’re really interested in this push for eating local foods. We’re really trying to bring awareness to the benefits of eating locally-produced vegetables and how much fresher and better than are.”
In this show, Arla Mae is on a mission to find her “missing ingredient.”
“While she’s trying to figure it out, she’s discovering how fresh produce actually tastes much better in her booyah,” said Seifert.
There will be booyah sampling also, as if seeing some of the best performers in the Twin Cities isn’t enough of a draw. See THEATER Page 3
Arla Mae and friends on a quest for the perfect Booyah in this scene from the Sod House Theater production that will be performed Saturday and Sunday at Levee Park. Sod House Theater photo. Theater
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“There’s also music in it. It’s going to be a lot of fun,” said Seifert.
The Sod House family has been working hard this summer, rotating practices at performer homes.
“Brainstorming sessions have been a blast. It’s always a lot of fun” he said.
Copies of the new Minnesota Cooks recipe book “The Farmer and the Chef: Farm-Fresh Minnesota Recipes and Stories” will be available at the performances with authors Claudine Arndt and Katie Cannon present to sign copies.
The Sod House Theater mission is “to produce innovative, joyful, interactive theater.” The group is funded by grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Minnesota State Arts Board and Metropolitan Regional Arts Council, the Hugh J. Anderson Foundation, the Northwest Regional Arts Council and Five Wings Arts Council. The Hastings performances are free with support from the Hastings-Prescott Area Arts Council. Donations are accepted: $15 for adults, $5 for children, students, veterans and senior citizens.
Darcey Engen of Sod House Theater contributed to this article.