Union Street Players, Pella’s award-winning community theatre, is working on the world premiere of a locally written play entitled Ham Buns and Potato Salad. Here are the answers to five questions we’ve been getting:
1. What’s the play about?
Ham Buns and Potato Salad is a full-length comedy in two acts set in the fictional Iowa town of Hebron (population 318). There has been a tragic accident and the town is preparing for the funeral of a beloved couple who were life-long members of the community. The couple’s son, Thomas, is coming home to Hebron for the funeral and it is the first time he’s been to Hebron since he left for college twelve years earlier. Traveling with Thomas is his agent, Gladys Iskowitch, a Jewish New York dame who is visiting Iowa for the first time.
When Thomas left, the town was embroiled in a scandal that involved both him and his next door neighbor and best friend, Marian. The scandal was never resolved and has become the fodder of endless speculative conversation for the farmers who gather at the cafe twice a day for coffee time. Now that Thomas is returning home for the funeral, the heat is turned up on the long-simmering scandal.
Add to the mix a Vietnam veteran whose flashbacks send the citizens of Hebron running for cover, a cantankerous old Dutchman, a former high school sports hero continually reliving his glory days, and you have the perfect recipe for an evening of laughter.
2. What does the title Ham Buns and Potato Salad mean?
If you attend funerals in central Iowa, you’ll find that the menu at the reception is always the same: ham buns, potato salad, chips, brownies, Jell-O cake, water, iced tea, and coffee. The title of the play points to the event which drives the action in the play (the funeral of Thomas’ parents). It also points to a theme of grief that is subtly present for most of the characters in one way or another.
3. Will I like it?
Yes. There is something in this play for everyone:
If you like comedy: You’ll enjoy a lot of laughs. (Guaranteed.)
If you like drama: You’ll enjoy the serious theme that emerges. (Yep, also guaranteed.)
If you like kids: We have one in the cast. (Her name is Lily. She’s adorable.)
If you like romance: You’ll enjoy the love story. (Stories, actually. There’s bonus romance at no extra charge.)
If you like action: You’ll enjoy the gun fire. (Not kidding. There really is gun fire. Blanks, of course.)
If you like thrillers: You’ll love the twist. (M. Night Shyamalan eat your heart out.)
4. Who is in it?
Cyndi Atkins, Karl Deakyne, Doug DeWolf, Jana DeZwarte, Denise Gregory, Griffin Hammel, Mark Moreland, Arvin Van Zante, Wendy Vander Well, and Lily Villalobos.
5. Is it appropriate for children or families?
Parental Guidance is suggested, so call it PG. The show is not intended for younger children, but teens and some pre-teens will enjoy it. There is very little swearing (one “hell” and a few “my god”s) but parents should know that adult themes are addressed. We can’t say more without giving things away.
6. (BONUS QUESTION!) How can I see it?
Ham Buns and Potato Salad will be performed in the Pella Community Center (712 Union Street, Pella, Iowa) April 10-12 at 7:00 p.m. and April 13 at 2:00 p.m. The show runs approximately 2 hours with an intermission. Tickets are $8 for adults in advance and $10 at the door; $6 for students in advance and $8 at the door. Tickets can be purchased on-line in advance by clicking HERE.