Performances at VCC in Ely on Friday and Saturday

NLAA presents “A Tiny Miracle with a Fiberoptic Unicorn”


Christmas dinner is not going well. Cast members are (l. to r.) Andrea Strom, Courtney Brittingham, Shane Geiger, Morgan Sauls and Tom Bennett. Submitted photo.

Christmas dinner is not going well. Cast members are (l. to r.) Andrea Strom, Courtney Brittingham, Shane Geiger, Morgan Sauls and Tom Bennett. Submitted photo.

ELY – Northern Lakes Arts Association (NLAA) is presenting “A Tiny Miracle with a Fiberoptic Unicorn” by Don Zolidis, as an early Christmas treat for Iron Range residents.

Set in Brookfield, WI, in December 1986, the two-act play tells the story of 13-yearold Louis (Shane Geiger), who has vowed to kiss quirky theater queen Carolyn (Hanna Littler)—”…the hottest girl in the eighth grade gifted and talented class” before Christmas.

Standing in his way are the forces of puberty, his intolerant older sister (Courtney Brittingham) who’s also the church youth leader, control-freak mother (Andrea Strom), eternally amused father (Todd Crego), and the unexpected appearance of his grandmothers—Grandma Jacobs (Tom Bennett) and Grandma Skolowski (Morgan Sauls).

Told through the eyes of present-day Louis (Adam Dykes), “A Tiny Miracle with a Fiberoptic Unicorn” is a humorous look at family life in the ‘80s, filled with laughs and nostalgia, as well as poignant moments and some tears. As present-day Louis points out at the beginning of the play, “This is going to be the worst week of my life. And also the best.”

Costumer and makeup designer Laurie Kess has worked hard to bring back 1980s fashion with Doc Martens, oversized shoulder pads, leg warmers, period Green Bay Packers and ‘80s movie shirts, big hair, heavy eye makeup, and very rosy cheeks. You’ll also hear snippets of classic ‘80s songs, as well as classic (and not so classic) Christmas songs you might have heard ad nauseum at the mall.

As one of the play’s characters suffers from Alzheimer’s, NLAA has partnered with Ely’s Northwoods Partners, a nonprofit organization located in Ely that evaluates and supports seniors and their caregivers to help them to remain living independently in their own homes for as long possible. Material provided by Northwoods Partners on Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia, as well as services available to those dealing with family members suffering from dementia, will be available at the performances.

Directed by Greg Mann, the play contains some PG-13 level adult content, so parental discretion is advised.

Performances are at the Vermilion Community College Fine Arts Theater, located at 1900 E. Camp St. in Ely. Remaining performances are Friday, Dec. 7 and Saturday, Dec. 8, at 7 p.m.

Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at the door or online at www.brownpapertickets.com/event/3906154. This play is made possible, in part, by a grant from the Donald G. Gardner Trust, and is produced by special arrangement with Playscripts, Inc.

Vince O’Connor lives in Ely, MN. He is a board member of Northern Lakes Arts Association in Ely.

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