Ode to Theatre L’Homme Dieu

Commentary: Live theater adds to quality of life

“Whoever neglects the arts when he is young has lost the past and is dead to the future.”

Sophocles said that. I never met the man, but I think he was on to something. One should always lead off a discussion about the arts with a quote from Sophocles anyway. None of his quotes ever went viral, however, because he never put them on Facebook. Which leads me, of course, to Theatre L’Homme Dieu.

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THLD is in its 57th year of existence, the longest running summer stock theater in Minnesota. While growing up in the Ozzie and Harriet-ness of Alexandria’s Victoria Heights, I recall attending TLHD in the early 1960s. I was not a theater devotee, so my only memories of the theater then of are the mosquitoes. And it seemed to be a very long ride from our Victoria Heights cocoon. Then I went away for almost 40 years. The theater somehow continued on without me. After we retired back to Alex, the theater went through a major transition going independent after a long affiliation with St. Cloud State University. Now TLHD is doing better than ever through associations with various professional theater companies from around the state. And they love performing here.

I recognize not everyone is a fan of live theater. But you can say that about anything — except bacon. It is important to recognize the role it plays in the arts in general, and how important the arts are to quality of life. Think of it, if nobody is producing entertainment, there would be no need to invent devices to disseminate it. An iPad or television would be useless without anything to listen to or watch on them. It’s hard to imagine a life without the Beatles, or “Seinfeld,” or “Hollywood Squares,” for Pete’s sake. Live theater is where it all began.

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In its quintessential Minnesota lakes area setting, the drive into the TLHD’s campus produces an excitement rush in its own right. So for a couple of months each summer, go out occasionally and grab one of the 272 available seats (I think I counted that right?) for any or all of the six plays, performed six days a week, plus some special events. And at the end of an event, if the spirit so moves you, stand and applaud, shout “Bravo,” and remind yourself you have just had a wonderful life experience.

Obert is from Alexandria

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