Agricultural tradition: A new play on local agricultural life will open in Munster | Theater

Eloise Marie Valadez, 219-933-3365

A mix of agricultural history, family life and memorable meals will soon be in the spotlight at the Theater at the Center (TAC) in Munster.

The new solo multimedia piece “Once upon a farm: a story, a family, a tradition” arrives at the TAC from September 14 to 18.

“Once Upon A Farm” is written, directed and performed by writer/columnist Philip Potempa. It is a personal story of family life on the farm, the story of life as a rural Indiana farmer as well as stories of meals at home and stories surrounding Potempa’s From the Farm columns .

“I’ve been working on this piece for as long as I’ve written columns and cookbooks,” said Potempa, who began his From the Farm columns when he was an editor at The Times. Potempa, who has written four cookbooks, launched his first cookbook in 2004. Potempa’s demonstration cooking shows he did at the old Star Plaza Theater as well as the Theater at the Center have also been a source of inspiration for this show.

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“Once Upon A Farm” is the first small-scale production to grace theater on center stage since the pandemic began.

“I want to bring the stories, colors and characters (from the farm) to life on stage with the piece,” Potempa said.

Onstage will be a recreation of the family farm, located in San Pierre, Indiana, in Starke County. A mixture of rare images, videos and music will be featured in the show.

Potempa said his From the Farm chronicles surely inspired this production. Audience members will have the chance to hear from many family and friends as well as famous names who have been celebrated in its columns for two decades.

Having multimedia features, including photos and videos, on the show, Potempa said, “adds a whole other interesting element.”

During the show, viewers will learn about her paternal grandparents who traveled from Poland to live in Chicago. His grandparents raised nine children during the Great Depression and soon started a new life in northwest Indiana where they worked as farmers.

“Not everything is scripted,” Potempa said of the show. Occasionally, Potempa will break the fourth wall and interact with audience members.

“I’ve always thought that a one-man play or show, with less emphasis on the cooking and recipe aspect and more emphasis on family history using a dose of humor and storytelling , could be just as appetizing and fun for audiences,” Potempa said. ”

As part of the show, Potempa will create one of the recipes from her latest cookbook.

“There will also be prizes and surprises,” he said.

While continuing to research his family history over the years, Potempa said, it still remains fascinating.

“I learn things all the time. My dad, at 93, is a living history book.”

As part of the show, there will be an option to add a meal with dishes from her latest cookbook.

About Keneth T. Graves

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