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Voices of Dakota Prairie: A North Dakota original

Published: Oct. 8, 2021 at 5:27 PM CDT
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - An original play revolving around North Dakota history is being performed by the University of Mary.

Voices of Dakota Prairies is a play written and produced by University of Mary’s theater arts program chair and professor Daniel Bielinski.

For over two years, he’s worked closely with the college’s history program to help tell the story of the settlers who first arrived in the area.

“The hardship they endured in the late 1800′s when they came here was phenomenal. It seemed like such great dramatic material,” said Bielinski.

Song, dance, poetry, and music from the era are all used to help tell the tale of North Dakota’s predecessors.

“You can read dry historical accounts of what the people in these black and white photos did. But to see it on the stage gives a whole new perspective on it,” said Bielinski.

Many of the families from the show have descendants throughout the state. Local actors and actresses performing say going back through time has been an experience.

“All these different early settlers, we actually say their own words, we can actually portray them using their own language. It’s not something you often see in a lot of theater and plays like this,” said Jonathan Hagen, actor and student.

“There’s this great quote in the play: ‘For the first generation there is death, for the second there is want, only for the third generation is there bread.’ I think that spirit of self-sacrifice, and that idea that, ‘It’s not all about me,’ is a really moving and inspiring thing,” added Bielinski.

This play will be performed Friday, October 8th, and Saturday, October 9th at the Bell Mehus Theater in downtown Bismarck. Tickets are available at the box office.

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