They’re back: former Hole in the Day Players ready to act

Auditions to be held Tuesday and Thursday

By Tina SnellStaff Writer

Beginning in 1978, the Hole in the Day Players entertained the Little Falls community, and beyond, with their comedies. Playing at Jerry’s Supper Club, south of town, the venue would be packed for the three dinner theater productions held annually. Each production would include four – six performances each. The cast would also put on an annual summer musical.

The Hole in the Day Players in the production of “Lie, Cheat and Genuflect” in 1991. Pictured are front row: Sean Flavin. Back row: Michelle Drong, left, and Mark Gerbi.

Four of the early members who developed the group and were the backbone of the productions were Bob Hamm, Jackie Doty, Shirley Mittelstadt and Robyn Gray. Those instrumental in resurrecting the former Hole in the Day Players are Great River Arts Association (GRAA) Director Jill Moore, past actors Sean Flavin (also on the GRAA Board) and Mark Gerbi and past director and actor Jerry Knafla.

“There would be 100 or more people for our dinner theater shows and the musicals would be held in the Charles Martin Auditorium, which was sold out for each performance,” said Flavin.

But, in about 1993, the troupe faded away.

“The core committee became burnt out. There were not enough new people getting involved,” said Gerbi. “As the core group left, the newer actors and crew also slowly left.”

Gerbi said there have been many requests to resurrect the group. Moore agrees and is working hard to get the group up and running again.

“It’s crucial to have performing arts in Little Falls,” she said. “GRAA has so much to offer Little Falls and its surrounding area. It’s a gem and the cultural aspect of what it can offer is huge. The more involved people get, the more GRAA can offer. The community can only benefit.”

The first play to be performed by the newly formed group will be “Lie, Cheat and Genuflect,” a comedy by William Van Zandt and Jane Milmore. It’s also a play the troupe did in 1991, with Jerry Knafla directing. This year’s production will have Knafla and Gerbi as codirectors.

The story centers around two brothers, Billy and Tom Buckle, both black sheep in their family. Because of their gambling problems, they owe a loan shark money and devise a plan to collect part of their rich grandfather’s estate. One incident after another gets the brothers deeper and deeper into trouble. Their issues eventually get resolved, but with a twist.

Auditions for “Lie, Cheat and Genuflect,” will take place Tuesday and Thursday at GRAA from 7 p.m. – 9 p.m. The cast will consist of four males and four females of various ages. Rehearsals will take place three times a week for five weeks, from 7 p.m. – 9 p.m. at GRAA. Those auditioning are asked to bring their personal schedules with them to coordinate rehearsal times.

The play will be presented Fridays and Saturdays, Nov. 23 – 24, and Nov. 30 and Dec. 1, at the Falls Ballroom.

“We are building a theater-in-the-round for this production,” said Gerbi. “The stage will be portable for future productions.”

“People cannot get more fun for less money,” said past performer and director. “The show in 1991 was very popular, it should be well received in Little Falls. People will relate to the characters and their ability to justify family issues. They are over the top.”

For more information, contact Jill Moore at GRAA by calling (320) 632-0960. The art center is located at 122 S.E. First Street.