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Playwright's work will be performed in both English and Finnish

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"The Rock Farm," a play about heritage, love, family, and the magnetic attraction of home, makes its American stage premiere at Central Lakes College in Brainerd Oct. 9 and 10.

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Written by award-winning Brainerd poet and CLC English instructor Donna Salli, the short play is her love song to Finnish-American roots. She is from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, born to parents of full Finnish descent still living in Wakefield.

"I adapted and fictionalized my previously published essays and poems about being a Midwesterner and a Finnish-American," said Salli.

It's a play about family, flavored with humor and worry, she said. "The characters are not my family, though we've been known to laugh and worry, both. The characters of the play are who they became as they moved through the writing process ... They are products of the culture and society I grew up in and were inspired by a time and place that many in the audience will recognize."

"The Rock Farm" ("Kivistön Tila" in Finnish) has been translated into Finnish and was first performed a year ago in Joensuu, Finland at Pakkahuone Theater. Salli attended during an exploratory trip pursuing the possibility of study aboard exchanges for CLC and Finnish students.

In Chalberg Theatre at CLC, the play will be performed twice at each showing in two distinct styles. The first version will be performed in English by a cast of local volunteers, and the second version is in Finnish, translated and performed by Theater Fiasko of Finland.

"There will be two directors, two casts, two collective minds," said Salli. "From the same text will spring two wonderfully different plays. Nor will it matter that most in our American audience will not speak one of the languages. They'll understand the Finnish performance not with their heads, but with their hearts."

Superior, Wis., native Erik Steen of Brainerd directs the English version, while Tuire Hindikka of Theater Fiasko directs the Finnish troupe, which observes its 30th year of performance during its American visit.

Performances are scheduled for 8 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 9 and 2 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 10 as part of the Cultural Arts Series at CLC. General admission tickets are $7.50 for adults, $5 for CLC students, available through the Theatre Box Office (218-855-8199 or 800-933-0346, ext. 8199, or e-mail clctheatre@clcmn.edu.

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