15 July, Sunny and highs in the low 80’s
All the neighbors on Stagecoach Springs evacuated to the town of Edgemont on Friday night to enjoy an evening in the big city. Actually, Edgemont has a population of 742 (no I didn’t forget a digit). Cowboy Dave, Linda, Neighbors Kathleen and Steve, the two Hotens, and Linda’s brother Don all went to the Edgemont Theatre to enjoy a steak dinner and a performance of “Stop that Villain Or Have you No Shame Rip Roquefort”….an original drama from Tim Kelly of the Pioneer Drama Service.
The Edgemont Theatre has been putting on productions in the old Edgemont Cattle auction house since 2001. It is a community tradition. The stage is where the auctioneers would have sat and dinner is served on the floor where the cattle would have been shown. The cast is made up of locals who serve the dinner before the show. The auction house sits right next to the railroad. According to the program, once the play starts “The only time the action stops is when the “Train Time” sign is brought on stage as a BNSF train rumbles down the track.”
This was an absolute treat. First of all, who gets to see a play put on in an old auction house? Second, the evening began with a local trio playing acoustic guitar and singing old cowboy favorites and Gene Autry music. We love this stuff. Third, the steak dinner was superb. It was really a delicious steak and baked potato, followed by homemade angel-food cake topped with local strawberries and cream! Finally, the whole experience was like stepping back into a small town in the 1950’s, where everyone in town knows everyone and they all want to celebrate a hard week’s work. It is a place where everyone works together to lift each other’s spirits and escape the problems of the real world, if only for one evening.
The theatre filled up rapidly and the air was thick with the nervous anxiety of the actors about to take the stage. The old-time piano music began and the narrator introduced the first scene. The play was hysterical and audience participation was encouraged with signs instructing when to applaud and when to boo the villain. The villain, by the way, was the Mayor of the town of Edgemont. The cast had several missteps where they forgot their lines, but their attempts to maintain their demeanor and help each other remember solicited big laughs from the audience. The story was funny, campy and full of clean humor that is a rare find these days. The cast really hammed up their lines and a good time was had by all.
During intermission, they served root beer floats. Dave and I stepped outside for some fresh air and we were stunned by the view of the large moon illuminating the night sky over the wide open prairies of southwestern South Dakota and Nebraska. There was a light breeze that carried the smell of fresh air blowing across the prairie. It was like stepping into the backdrop of an old western movie and I wish I would have taken a picture but there is no way it would have captured the magic of the view or the feel of the night.
We went back inside for Act II and the big finale which left everyone rolling on the floor laughing. After taking their bows, the cast waited outside for a reception line in which their local buddies shook their hands or talked trash or both about their efforts.
We made it safely back to the campground, dodging the kamikaze deer in the dark and didn’t get to bed until after midnight. This is a wild Friday night for us, but we will definitely go back next year!