'Rumspringa' premieres at Goessel
Carol Duerksen’s “Swedish Rumspringa” had its world premiere Saturday at Goessel High School’s theater.
Duerksen approached the school at the start of the year with a loose stage adaptation of one of her novels, a coming-of-age story focused on Swedish exchange student Henrick (called “Swede” by most characters). The novel focuses on his relationship with the Amish grandfather of his host family, nicknamed Dawdi or “Old Man”.
The play was adopted by directors DJ Freeman and Dolores Unruh as well as students who tried out for roles.
“We put them into those roles, and they really filled them out,” Duerksen said.
Students contributed their real names to the characters, their everyday clothes to the costumes, their honest thoughts for a scene comparing differences between America and the exchange students’ countries, and their own ad-libbed jokes for classroom and patio hangout scenes.
“The best line came from one of the girls, and it was when Ader said, “I feel fatter every time I eat,”” Duerksen said.
Henrick and his love interest, Mattie, were played by a pair of students who were in a relationship.
Goessel’s exchange students were cast for the fictional exchange students — except for Henrick, who was played by senior and forensics veteran Dominic Englestad.
Each character was a compilation of people from Duerksen’s life, including exchange students she and her husband have hosted in the past.
“Anybody there who has hosted exchange students could identify Swede, but he was a compilation,” Duerksen said.
Last modified Nov. 17, 2021