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Black Dirt Theater to give free performance

Hastings' Black Dirt Theater is offering a free performance Friday in preparation for their upcoming show in the Minnesota Fringe Festival.

The theater group will perform "Paul Bunyan: An Unlikely Beginning to a Tall Tale," which tells the story of Paul Bunyan before he became a famous lumberjack.

"Waaay back in the 1986," the synopsis reads, "Paul was a computer game programmer."

The four members of Black Dirt Theater came up with the play about a year and a half ago, said member Andy Langenfeld. They knew they wanted to tell a Paul Bunyan story because his is such a famous Minnesota story. So each member came up with an idea, and they picked what they thought was the most interesting, Langenfeld said. The story started out as a children's book, which the group then adapted into a play - a family musical comedy.

"It's a play that's really fun and light-hearted that also has some moments that are quite honest," he said. "...There's a very real theme of this idea that Paul Bunyan just doesn't fit where he's living, and how are you supposed to find where you're supposed to be in the world."

Co-sponsored by the United Way of Hastings, Black Dirt Theater will give a single free performance at 7 p.m. Friday, July 30, in the Hastings High School theater.

The show is a celebration of the company as well as the community that helped the group grow.

"It really is a celebration and a sending off of our company to Minneapolis to perform," Langenfeld said.

Black Dirt Theater will give five performances at the Minnesota Fringe Festival Aug. 5 through Aug. 15.

"Bring a friend," Langenfeld encouraged. "It's an exciting, fun, cost-effective hour and a half of entertainment for the family."