BATESVILLE — As Oldenburg celebrates its 175th anniversary, over 30 area citizens are bringing its history alive in “Becoming the Village of Spires.”
The full-length play, written by Bill Blank, is based on the original script created by Rita King 25 years ago for the town’s sesquicentennial.
The show “clearly builds on Rita’s idea of presenting the history of Oldenburg .... The intent this time is to provide a relatable update and ensure that audience members can make the connection between the past and the present,” Blank points out.
“We tried to punch it up and make it more current in how it’s presented. Thereís more dialogue between characters,” the technical director adds.
Director Regina Siefert notes, “It’s history. History is dry, but Bill has written this in a way that makes history a bit more interesting .... It will really give you a true understanding of Oldenburg and why Oldenburg is like it is.”
Cast members include Leon Enneking, Cassie Holtel, Kim Brockman, Chris Munchel, Paul Brockman, Dan Eckstein, Karen Munchel, Peggy Suding, Ashley Meyer, Elmer Siefert, Troy Ilderton, Deann Kaiser, Jackie Wilhelm, Gabrielle Raab, Mary Meyer and Gary Munchel, Oldenburg.
Also, Alex Heidlage, Bob Heidlage, Mary Gehring, Diane Raver, Marcia Bischoff, Trey Heidlage, Liz Heidlage, Julia Heidlage, Samantha Heidlage, Kurt Enneking and Mason Enneking, Batesville; Ruth Cooper, Hamburg; and Keegan Moster, Sunman.
Gary Munchel is the producer; Jackie and Mike Wilhelm are in charge of tickets and publicity; and Mary Gehring, Peggy Suding and Mary Beth Kerker are getting the costumes ready.
Dan Eckstein wanted to be involved because “I was in the first one (in 1987) and had a lot of fun. I’ve always loved Oldenburg. Everybody talks to you.” He also recalls from his younger days, “If you got in trouble, your mom and dad always found out about it.”
Marcia Bischoff says, “I wouldn’t be in any other play,” but she decided to join this cast because she grew up in the Village of Spires.
Her father, Elmer Siefert, points out, “I missed being in it in 1987 because I was building a house. I thought I’d like to be in it this time.”
Mary Gehring notes, “When I was in high school at the Immaculate Conception Academy, we had plays, and I had lots of fun on stage. This is the perfect bunch of people to do this with and the perfect place to perform.”
Blank encourages the public to attend because “it’s celebrating 175 years of the town’s history. Any time a milestone occurs, it’s a good opportunity to show how we got here. I believe it should be a fun way to look at it, too. It’s not just reading a history book, but making it come alive in a little different way, and it’s a chance to have an evening of entertainment.”
Performances are Saturday, Dec. 1, at 7 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 2, at 2 p.m. at the Oldenburg Academy auditorium.
Tickets (adults, $10; and children ages 3-12, $7) can be purchased at the Village Store and Schwestern Gallery of Arts, Oldenburg. They are also available by contacting Gary Munchel at 934-6582, Regina Siefert at 934-5213 or Jackie Wilhelm at 934-3826.