For some, one word comes to mind when they think of the Borealis Bards: Community.
The one and only theater program in International Falls is above all else just that, says Cody Boyer, director of the Junior Bards One Act play, “An Empress, a Faun and...Olive Loaf?” by Em Frappier — one of the performances taking the stage this coming weekend at Backus Community Center.
The Junior Bards is the youth component of the Borealis Bards, and Boyer’s play will feature actors ages 7-10. However, the play is geared toward audience members of all ages and Boyer wants those interested in attending to know how important their role is, too.
“As Backus’s resident theater and arts program we want nothing more than to extend (our) community to...the community,” he said. “The audience is just as much a part of that community, and we would just be a big silly family of goofs playing pretend in a big empty room if there was no audience. It’s much more fun for the actors and the audience if they are there, in the seats, to watch the show.”
Boyer’s play, a part of the Junior Bards’s third annual all-youth cast production, follows a young girl who finds herself in a mysterious world of mystical animals and lost children, while writing a creative story for school. She must play cold-hearted games with a wicked empress to be able to return home.
Despite having only days to find a script, Boyer worked hard to find a play that could give the younger Junior Bards actors a role.
The Junior Bards’s second director, Graysen Gable, also wanted to be inclusive of those wanting to perform. His play “10 Ways to Survive the End of the World” by Don Zolidis features young actors ages 10 and up.
An end of an era for Gable, he decided to direct the sequel to the play he first began his acting career with in 2014: “10 Ways to Survive the Zombie Apocalypse.”
“Since this will be my last production with the Borealis Bards, I decided I should end on a similar note that I began,” he told The Journal.
Gable, too, said the audience plays a big role in the success of the performances.
“People of all ages will be able to enjoy these plays,” he said. “Theatrical productions are a fantastic way of telling a story and helping to support a community. Both times I’ve directed, the cast has become my favorite part. Being a part of a production is really like forming a family — and the casts of both plays combined have certainly done that.”
“The family, and the home that the Bards has become and been for so many people; it’s such a welcoming, positive, safe and supporting place for everyone it’s opened its arms to — of all ages, backgrounds, creed, and talent,” he said. “To watch the younger members grow up in such a positive environment, I’ve seen them find their strengths and embrace and use them on and off stage. The way they all encourage each other and get along is such an amazing thing to witness.”
But it all comes back to community, he added.
“(The) Bards has become a blessing, a family, and a home for all involved, and as a community theater, that family includes the whole community — not just those on stage,” he said.
This theater arts production featuring local children is made possible in part by a donation from the International Falls Rotary Chapter. Both the plays are presented by special arrangement with Playscripts, Inc., said a press release.