What do hockey, a monkey and Proctor have in common?
So it's Hockey Day Minnesota this weekend, which is weird all by itself. How can one day stretch out over an entire weekend? I mean, I've had days that seemed to have no end in sight but those were usually during Duluth City Council meetings.
But it's also weird to give hockey the special designation of "day." It already takes up an awful lot of time for Northland families. In fact, there are some folks who live and breathe hockey and I don't know how they do it. After one whiff of sweat-drenched breezers, I'd be forced to shove a bowlful of lilacs up my nose for a week.
Part of the reason for our infatuation with hockey may be that it's an enjoyable word to say. It has that hard "k" sound in it which is funny-sounding, but not in a Brad-Bennett-trying-to-pronounce-Don-Dicklich's-name-resulting-in-huge-FCC-fines kind of funny. "K" is a classic comedy sound. Try it yourself. Put down your copy of the Budgeteer (but watch where you set it so you don't smudge Larry Weber's face in the cereal milk) and say the following words out loud:
Monkey. Kumquat. Proctor.
See, you're smiling already! Now imagine a hockey-playing monkey eating a kumquat in Proctor and you'll have the giggles for a week. (Coincidentally, that's the same image Don Ness saw when he took a mayoral Rorschach test in 2010, but I digress.)
I say it's time for a different kind of day in Minnesota. Sure, hockey is great and we all enjoy watching it, but it doesn't really need the statewide attention that a special day brings; it does quite fine all by itself. No, what we need to do is find another worthwhile endeavor that could benefit from a unique moniker bestowed upon it. And that activity is theater.
I propose Theater Day Minnesota, where performance groups get together at an outdoor venue and present a day-long festival of classic, modern and original plays. Imagine if a statewide spotlight was shone on Duluth's own Wise Fool Shakespeare company performing "Romeo and Juliet," followed by a stellar Hermantown High School production of "Once Upon A Mattress," with original one-act plays written by playwrights from all over the state. Like Hockey Day, this commemoration of the oldest yet most vibrant art form could rotate every year, showcasing local theater talent from individuals who didn't feel the need to leave to pursue their dreams but instead stayed right here in Minnesota, raising families, starting businesses, paying taxes and creating theater.
Now, that would be a day worth celebrating.
Brian Matuszak is the founder of Rubber Chicken Theater and invites you to follow him and his theater company on Twitter at twitter.com/rchickentheater, like them on Facebook at Rubber Chicken Theater, and visit their website at www.RubberChickenTheater.com. He has trademarked the name “Theater Day Minnesota” so don’t try stealing it. He’s lookin’ at you, Guthrie!