The Free Press, Mankato, MN

October 29, 2012

Bad romance: Madelia playwright pens stage comedy about dysfunctional dating

By Tanner Kent
The Free Press

MADELIA — Joeleen Osborn Krier has plenty of experience acting in community plays.

Not so much when it comes to casting, organizing, directing, producing and promoting them.

Earlier this year, the budding Madelia playwright received a $1,000 Emerging Artist Grant from the Prairie Lakes Regional Arts Council to breathe life into a play she’d written about chronically dysfunctional daters.

She debuts the play in the first of four performances on Friday. But along the way, Osborn Krier said she learned a valuable lesson about commanding a community production.

“You think you have everything lined up, and then something falls through,” she said. “You always have to have a Plan A, B, C and D.”

She’s had to coordinate a technical crew and recruit acting talent from the local community theater. She’s had to book a venue and schedule rehearsal and performance dates. Then, she had to reorganize schedules when director Leslie Cady-DuPree (who has directed a handful of Mankato-produced stage works in recent months) could only do the show in November.

Yet, Osborn Krier has remained committed to getting her work on stage.

“When someone has the faith to back your work,” she said, referencing the PLRAC grant she received, “it gives you so much confidence. It’s the air that makes you rise.”

Osborn Krier’s play, however, began with a decided thud -- at least in the romantic sense.

After a horrible date, the playwright sent an email to her friends describing the events. One of her co-workers suggested turning the experience into a play. They swapped bad-date stories, and an idea formed in Osborn Krier’s mind.

She interviewed several more of her friends to record their stories. She interviewed a handful of men to get theirs, too.

Then, she composed a series of vignettes based on those stories. She forms them around a 12-step program for dysfunctional daters and its affable leader, Ann. The result is “S.A.D.D.: Singles Against Dysfunctional Dating,” a slightly satirical, fully comical romp through the often awkward search for romance.

“Everything is true, or based on a version of the truth,” said Osborn Krier, who is also a member of the 4 Playwrights group in Mankato. “And it’s all funny.”

One vignette features two men sharing their dating perspective in humorously conflicting accounts; another contains recollections of grade-school dates gone awry. Osborn Krier even turns the gaze on herself and bases a story on her own account of hiding breath mints in the couch -- only to later retrieve one mid-kiss and promptly begin choking.

From the fear of rejection to mild bathroom humor, Osborn Krier said the play covers a lot of ground and includes “all different kinds of humor.”

The cast includes: Rebekah Burban, Elizabeth DiCaprio, Ann Hoppe, Brad Krier, Sylvia Kunz, Corban Noah, Jerry Olson, Audrey Rehwaldt and Osborn Krier.