|Fishy plays to benefit John Little Memorial Endowment|
The ND Playwrights Co-op has been busy fishing, but not with a rod. They've been fishing for John Little stories, and they've got eight on the stringer. John Little, founder of the UND Writers Conference, also wrote fishing columns for the Grand Forks Herald in the 1980s and early '90s. In an effort to establish the John Little Memorial Endowment at UND, four playwrights have adapted Little's stories into plays and plan to premiere them later this month. They will produce the plays with the assistance of actors Steve Finney, Jared Kinney, Jenny Morris, and Patrick Pearson, set by Jeff Kinney.
Bob Greenwade of Corvalis, Ore., saw the call for plays in a Herald story last spring, and while never having met John Little he has written two plays based on Little stories: "The Wildest Caster" and "Opening Day at the Boat Ramp." Adonica Schultz Aune (Grand Forks) adapted a story about the lengths one angler goes to in order to keep secret a sweet fishing spot. Charlotte Helgeson (East Grand Forks) adapted Little's ode to Catfish in "Cat What?" Kathy Coudle-King went to town with four pieces, "Muskie Mania," "Hungarian Bill the Legendary Angler," "The Big One," and "The McClusky Canal." Coudle-King stated that "adapting John's columns was the easiest thing I've ever done. I can't take credit for the plays because I had to do very little in order to turn them into a script. How do you top John Little's humor? You don't. The laughs are all his."
The premiere of the collection, aptly named "Gone Fishing," is already sold out. A catfish dinner will precede the performance at the Blue Moose on Oct. 21. However, Oct. 28, at 7:30 p.m. the ND Museum of Art will host the plays as well as "Fresh Fish," readings by emerging local writers. Topic? Fishing, of course. "Fish Tix" will go for $20 and are available at the Museum the night of the event. All proceeds go to establishing the JL Memorial Endowment. Interest from the Endowment will enable Writers Conference organizers to bring a fiction writer to campus each year to fill the "Little" chair, as a way of honoring Little's contribution to the literary life of our region. For 41 years, lovers of literature have had free access to such literary stars as Truman Capote, Eudora Welty, Sherman Alexie, Louise Erdrich, and this year Pulitzer Prize winner Art Spiegelman will participate. Coudle-King, one of the coordinators of the Writers Conference urges that "The time to create a tangible tribute to the man who gave us the Writers Conference is long over due." So, what are you waiting for? Grab your rod, and go fishing on Oct. 28.
The events are co-sponsored by the Blue Moose, Home of Economy and the Dept. of English at UND.
-- Kathleen Coudle-King, Lecturer , English , firstname.lastname@example.org, 777-2787