Creswell Grange hosts Grange playfest

Is it a coincidence that three patients visit the office of Dr. Boehnkrakker on the same day after being hit by a speeding car? The three patients don’t think so. As they lament about filling out paperwork and waiting for their doctor, they realize that they were all hit by the same car. While devising a plan to get even with the perpetrator, Dr. Boehnkrakker walks in and the patients recognize him as the hit-and-run culprit.
As the patients hobble after the doctor, the nurse stands up and looks to the audience: “He said he was going to get new patients one way or another,” eliciting laughter and applause.
Fortunately, this violent doctor is only the premise of Creswell grange’s play for the Grange Play Fest, “Dr. Boehnkrakker Strikes Again,” which was performed on April 23. This annual tradition has been in place since the ‘60s, where local granges create and perform original 15-minute plays and tour them.
Vickie Weathers, playwright and patient number three, said the festival is a lot of fun and brings people into the grange.
“We try to keep it simple and entertaining,” she said. “We’re pretty funny people and try to keep it family oriented.”
There are seven other granges involved this year: Goldson, Dorena, Goshen, Crow, Walterville, Mohawk-McKenzie and Irving. Walterville and Irving Granges also performed with Creswell that night.
“I’m looking forward to seeing what the other two granges come up with, and to see how well (the audience) take Stan’s jokes; he is so funny,” Weathers added.
President of the Grange, Martin McClure said that the grange fest is fun, free entertainment. After the plays, the grange also provided sandwiches along with raffle baskets and door prizes.
“People like getting out and seeing something original,” he said. “It can be pretty darn funny, and it’s a great time for granges to get together.”
Before opening night, McClure said he didn’t know anything about the show because the cast was so secretive.
“No one in the grange has been allowed to see it ahead of time,” he explained.
“Dr. Boehnkrakker Strikes Again” has a cast of four community members. Dottie Jennings played the nurse; Stanley Garbodin, Tom Pearson and Vickie Weathers played patients one through three, respectively; and Patrick Dearth played the handyman and Dr. Boehnkrakker.
Garbodin said the play was a good opportunity to “act crazy for 15 minutes.”
When it comes to writing the plays, Weathers said an idea will just come to her, and she will flesh it out as she writes it down. Then it’s decided the number of people and parts are given out based on the amount of lines someone wants. She already has two ideas in her head for next year.
Weathers, who first joined the grange in 1970, said that granges have seen a decline in recent years; in the past, there have been up to 15 granges participating in the play fest. Granges started by coalitions of farmers throughout the country, and are known for their agricultural roots.
Although there has been a shift to community service through granges, Weathers said granges are still only popular with older generations.
“Kids aren’t being taught agriculture; they’re not being taught community service,” she said.
To combat the disinterest, Weathers said the grange is trying to bring more events like the plays, flea markets and bingo to the community.
“We’re trying to get more things going on to bring in different groups of people,” she said.
The play fest is continuing throughout the month of May: May 3, Mohawk-McKenzie Grange will host Irving and Goldson granges; May 9, Dorena Grange will host Crow and Mohawk-McKenzie granges; and May 10, Irving Grange will host Mohawk-McKenzie and Goshen granges. Doors open at 6 p.m. and the plays start at 7 p.m.



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