Author of the book “Waking to Mourning Doves,” Caryl Crozier, will be present at the Northern Fort Playhouse production of “The Friendly Hour” at 2 p.m. Sunday, July 14.
Crozier will be selling her books on site and also be available for book signing. Crozier was the catalyst for the play since she compiled the notes of the Beresford, S.D., Friendly Hour Club, kept by her mother and main character, “Dorcas,” of the play. She gave these notes to her husband’s nephew and playwright Tom Jacobson, who used Crozier’s summary of the club minutes and stories about the club and community to form the nucleus of this poignant fictional play chronicling the 70 years of the club.
The play received its premiere in Los Angeles in 2008 and is receiving its South Dakota premiere at the Northern Fort Playhouse. After Crozier’s mother passed, the soulful call of a mourning dove gave her the inspiration to title her book, which is built around excerpts from her personal diary entries from ages 10 to 21; adult journaling; and memories growing up on rural South Dakota prairies in the 1940s and 1950s.
The 1930s portion of this play has been made into an award-winning short film titled “Prairie Sonata,” which premiered in 2011. It has been entered in a number of film festivals including the Black Hills Film Festival and the Newport Beach Film Festival, and it was the winner of the short film category at the Moondance Festival. Filming took place near Beresford, S.D., in a field of restored native prairie at the Kinkner/Crozier farm. Scenes were also filmed at the Beresford Zion Cemetery and the Skresfurd Church. Crozier plays her grandmother in this film. There will be free screenings of the film during the final two weekends of the Playhouse in the North Barracks Visitor Center.
Seats are available for all remaining performances of “The Friendly Hour”: Friday, July 12, at 7:30 p.m.; Sunday, July 14, at 2 p.m.; and Friday, July 19, at 7:30 p.m. The play appears in repertory with the World War II-era musical “Swingtime Canteen,” which will be performing Saturday, July 13, and Saturday, July 20, at 7:30 p.m. For additional information or tickets, call the Northern Fort Playhouse Box Office at 605-467-3247.