It’s TWELFTH NIGHT at Anoka-Ramsey!


William Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night was first performed over 400 years ago on Candlemas night, 2 February 1602, in England. Some of the greatest names in 20th century English and American theatre have since performed in the play – Sir Ralph Richardson, Sir John Gielgud, Sir Laurence Olivier, Vivien Leigh, and Helen Hayes, to name a few.

Twelfth Night, one of the Bard’s most accomplished comedies, is currently being performed on the stage of the Performing Arts Center at Anoka-Ramsey Commmunity College in Coon Rapids.

I was delighted to attend opening night on April 16th. Scott Ford’s inspired direction, the stark yet effective scenic design, and the striking costuming made for a memorable evening.

The young actors, by and large, did a commendable job of interpreting Shakespeare’s intricate and complex prose. A few struggled, others should remember that they must react to action and other actors on the stage, but Marcus Coker (Sir Toby Belch), Jacob Budnick (Sir Andrew Aguecheek), and Emily Moulds (Feste) gave diverting and entertaining performances in their comic roles. Neal Skoy was outstanding as Malvolio.

Mr. Skoy is a remarkably talented young man, and the audience was captivated by his exceptional performance from the moment he first appeared on stage. Malvolio is a complex and fascinating character that he handled with assurance and aplomb, especially through the use of his rich and eloquent voice – which filled every corner of the auditorium, seemingly without effort.

The actors cavorted about the stage in some of the most intriguing, if not startling, costumes I’ve ever seen in a Shakespeare production. Special kudos to Costume Designer Barb Portinga for combining vintage evening gowns, fright wigs, and red high-top sneakers with more conventional ensembles recalling the 16th century. Lauren Haven was lovely in everything she wore, Mr. Skoy bore a striking resemblance to the young F. Scott Fitzgerald in many of his scenes, and Mr. Budnick looked like an escapee from the Court of Versailles throughout. It was all very strange, but it worked.

The public can enjoy upcoming performances of Twelfth Night at 7:30 pm on April 22, 23, and 24. Tickets are $8.00 at the box office.

Bob Gray
Reference and Interlibrary Loan Librarian

Veterans Day, November 11th

Today is Veterans Day, and the East Central Regional Library Headquarters and branches are all closed. Veterans Day is a national holiday, first proclaimed as Armistice Day by President Woodrow Wilson in 1919 with the following words: To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations…

Armistice Day commemorated the end of World War I – known at the time as “The Great War.” The War officially ended when the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919, in the Palace of Versailles outside the town of Versailles, France. However, fighting had ceased seven months earlier when an armistice, or temporary cessation of hostilities, between the Allied nations and Germany went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. November 11, 1918, was regarded as the end of “the war to end all wars.”

Armistice Day became a legal holiday through congressional action on May 13, 1938. (52 Stat. 351; 5 U. S. Code, Sec. 87a). Armistice Day was a day dedicated to world peace and to honor veterans of World War I. In 1954 the 83rd Congress amended the Act of 1938 by changing the word “Armistice” to “Veterans” following World War II and the Korean Conflict. With the approval of this legislation (Public Law 380) on June 1, 1954, November 11th became a day to honor American veterans of all wars.

The observance of Veterans Day moved to Monday, along with Washington’s Birthday, Memorial Day, Veterans Day, and Columbus Day, when the Uniform Holiday Bill (Public Law 90-363 (82 Stat. 250)) was signed on June 28, 1968. This was unpopular with many states, who continued to observe Veterans Day on November 11th, and ignored the legislation. In response to the desires of the the majority of state legislatures, all veterans service organizations, and the American people, Gerald R. Ford signed Public Law 94-97 (89 Stat. 479) on September 20, 1975, which returned the annual observance of Veterans Day to its original date of November 11, beginning in 1978.

Veterans Day Salute Source of information, Department of Veterans Affairs http://www1.va.gov/opa/vetsday/
See also, History.com http://www.history.com/content/veteransday

Barbara Misselt, Director

Berlin Wall Anniversary

Today is the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. For over 25 years a city existed within the confines of a wall that encircled it, keeping its residents in and everyone else out. Travel to and from West Berlin was only permitted through applications and documents. The Wall was a symbol of the Cold War

Following World War II, the defeated country of Germany was divided into four sections and governed by the Allied Control Council or Allied Control Authority, the Alliierter Kontrollrat, a military governing authority. The members were the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Soviet Union. France was later added with one vote, but no duties. As was the country divided, so too was the capitol city, Berlin. Berlin was well within the Soviet controlled section known later as East Germany.

When the Soviets and East Germans erected a wall around the portions of Berlin governed by the Americans, Brits, and French, West Berlin was isolated from West Germany. Armed guards patrolled the wall and the checkpoints going in and out of West Berlin.

I lived in West Berlin from 1983 to 1987, while my husband served with the Air Force. While we lived a relatively normal lifestyle there, getting “Flag Orders” every time we wanted to travel outside the city was an inconvenience. While I lived there, the political climate was relatively calm and we traveled back and forth into East Berlin fairly often. One very tragic incident in 1985 affected us personally, when Major Arthur Nicholson was killed in the line of duty. His daughter Jennifer was in my son’s class. We were also there when President Reagan cried “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall” at the Brandenburg Gate.

The cold gray wall served as a grim reminder of the differences in lifestyle from East to West. Bus drivers who drove through Checkpoint Charlie often played “God Bless the USA” or “Born in the USA” — with the windows open.
Shortly after we moved from Berlin to Maine, I was overwhelmed with emotion as I watched throngs of East Berliners pour through the torn down wall. I feel that way yet.

This website about the Berlin Wall has some good information: http://www.berlin.de/mauer/index.en.html

Also, check for books about the Berlin Wall under the number 943.155
Barbara Misselt, Director

Minnesota Video Vault

Sharing with you this announcement about an unbelievable new online resource:

From Keith Ewing, Saint Cloud State University and the Minnesota Digital Library:
Twin Cities Public Television (TPT) has released the Minnesota Video Vault. The vault provides access to hundreds of videos and TPT productions, from short clips to lengthy shows. The “Educators” button allows you to sort by very broad K12 areas (e.g., Social Science, Science, or Language Arts), then focus by “grade level,” then “strand” (e.g., Minnesota History or US History), and then by “sub strand” (e.g., under the Minnesota History “strand” you can select “sub strands” like the “Civil War and Dakota War” or “Contact and Fur Trade”). The “Interest Areas” button provides a more immediate breakdown by history, people, places, MN issues, arts & entertainment, and special collections, with further topical subdivisions beneath that. This is a terrific resource, of special value to schools and educators, but also for everyone interested in Minnesota and regional history (although the content goes far beyond Minnesota).
Online at http://www.mnvideovault.org/

I’m amazed at all the quality viewing available. Here’s a sample of my favorites:

  • Dakota Conflict (the film shown for the Cambridge Reads event)
  • Tales of the Road: Highway 61, Almanac with Cathy Wurzer
  • American Experience Series
  • Antiques Roadshow
  • Great Performances
  • America at War
  • Nova

Barbara Misselt, Director

D-Day Anniversary

Today is the 65th anniversary of D-Day: the day 160,000 Allied troops landed along a 50-mile stretch of heavily-fortified French coastline to fight Nazi Germany on the beaches of Normandy. Landings on Utah, Omaha, Juno, Gold and Sword Beaches enabled the march across Europe to eventually defeat Hitler. The History Channel had some excellent programming on today, including interviews with a number of D-Day veterans.

To find information about D-Day, check out the following:

Barbara Misselt, Director