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Rainy Butte Productions puts together a spook-tacular fall play

NEW ENGLAND -- Halloween is right around the corner and the new theatre production group in New England wants to make sure everyone is ready to have a howling good time before the costumes go on and candy is handed out.

Rainy Butte Productions is presenting its third annual production — a light-hearted comedy titled "Spook House." The dinner theater performances are Oct. 14-15, 21-22 at the New England Memorial Hall.

According to the play synopsis, “Spook House is the home of ten nice monsters who, unfortunately, are misunderstood. (Sniff.) Tax assessor Abraham Van Helsing VI tries to wrest the property from its ghoulish, yet loving, protectors. However, Vickie Stein, a descendant of Frankenstein (Yes, THE Frankenstein!), and her boyfriend, Roger, throw a ’monster mash’ to raise the money for the payment of taxes. Wild unexpected guests include a bank robber and his moll and a pair of comic cops. With the humans in disguise and bank bags everywhere, everyone is in a hilarious, chaotic uproar!”

Don Nordby, who has been helping to put together productions in Amidon, has been helping to put together the productions for the past few years.

“I like doing this so it just gives me another chance to go out and be involved with the play,” he said.

Nordby grew up around theatre and said his mother would write shows for the Slope County Fair. Although he took a small break when he was in high school and college, he quickly went back and fell in love with the craft.

“I’d always wanted to do a dinner theater and the (Slope County) fair board always kind of laughed at me, I don’t think they really got what it was, but one year they needed some extra money so they said ‘Alright, Nordby you can do your stupid play.’ So we did Murder Cafe and I think we had seating for 50 people and we oversold the program,” he said with a smile. “... It’s kind of my therapy. It’s nice to get away from the real world and go out and have fun. It’s nice for communities to get together and have a little fun and if you make a little money that’s a bonus.”

The area theatre group was formed in the summer of 2016 after presenting two previous dinner theater productions to help raise funds for the Memorial Hall in New England where the group presents their plays.

The group began performing shows in 2014 and have since put together four shows, including this year’s play “Spook House.” In 2014, they performed “Murder Can Be Habit-Forming” from Pioneer Drama Service written by Billy St. John. In October 2015, they performed “Dogsbreath Devereaux, The Dastardly Doctor,” also written by Billy St. John. Last year, they performed “Pistols and Posies” written by Christie Fredrickson.

Adrien Kathrein said while the play has all of the typical Halloween monsters, like Dracula, Frankenstein and werewolves, the twist is they’re all the “good guys” in this play.

Kathrein, one of the actors, said the play includes first-time actors to experienced performers.

“My favorite part about (“Spook House”) is that we have such a huge cast and an awesome variety of talent,” she said. “Everybody has something to add that makes it good.”

Shawn Flaherty, one of the actors in the play, said he had never acted before he started getting involved with Rainy Butte Productions.

“It’s been a nice thing to get away from teaching and coaching,” he said. “I’ve met some really great people through this experience.”

Flaherty said his first time acting two years ago was both nerve-wracking and fun.

“I was a little nervous at times, trying to get your lines memorized but last year I got better because you had to learn how to act a little bit more instead of just remembering your lines and when to come in,” he said.

He said he enjoys this play in particular because it is a very funny production.

Tickets can be purchased online at The price is $45 for the evening performances on Oct. 14, Oct. 20 and Oct. 21, which includes a prime rib dinner, appetizers and dessert. Tickets for the afternoon matinée on Oct. 15 are $25 and include appetizers and dessert.

Sydney Mook

Sydney Mook started working as the multimedia editor for The Press in January 2016.  She graduated from the University of South Dakota with a bachelor's degree in journalism and political science in three and half years in December 2015. While at the USD, she worked for the campus newspaper, The Volante, as well as the television news show, Coyote News. She also interned at South Dakota Public Broadcasting and spent the summer before her senior year interning in Fort Knox for the ROTC Cadet Summer Training program. In her spare time, Sydney enjoys cheering on the New York Yankees and the Kentucky Wildcats, as well as playing golf. If you've got an idea for a video be sure to give her a call!

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