‘Ole’s Dead, Lena’s Dating’ opens Saturday

Difficulties abound when recent widow Lena Larsen enters the dating pool, and many of them are food-related.

Lena is played by Elly Mason Johnson. Her best friend, Sigurd Ingebretsen, is portrayed by Vicki Harmon, and fellow church member Cornetta Alma by Lynn Steiner.

The play, about Sigurd’s efforts to get Lena into the dating pool, was written by Wisconsin resident Elly Mason Johnson.

In the play, Sigurd secures several cans of a very scarce tomato soup for her famous hamburger-macaroni hot dish, which will be served at Ole’s funeral luncheon.

Lena takes on a hired hand and invites him in for coffee and some of her equally famous  rhubarb rum cake (see recipe on right).

In a series of vignettes, the three friends muse, talk on the phone or write letters informing others about the events in the little town of Urne.

Elly Mason Johnson, Vicki Harmon and Lynn Steiner play the three church friends.
Elly Mason Johnson, Vicki Harmon and Lynn Steiner play the three church friends.

Three stage areas suggest the homes of the characters. Props, including the ever-present telephone, make it easy for the women to converse — and for some to spread rumors.

At the Sara Circle of First Norwegian Lake View Lutheran Church Auxiliary, competition, consternation and comedy ensue.

Through humor, the play looks at loss, grief, gossip and growth.

Can Lena find something or someone to fill her life after Ole’s passing, or will she be The Widow Larsen, who all will pity but not take into their hearts?

“Ole’s Dead, Lena’s Dating” will play at Faith Lutheran Church at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 26 in the Faith Life Center of Faith Lutheran Church, 886 North Shore Drive.

Tickets are available at Faith Lutheran Church (651-464-3323) and The Yellow Bus (651-464-2112).

The women of Faith are hosts for the evening. During intermission they will serve Lena’s Rhubarb Rum Cake, also known as “a surefire way to a man’s stomach and heart.”

Audience members will also have a chance to win a quilt made by Joy Johnson of Wyoming.

To allow time for the Women of Faith to make Lena’s famous Rhubarb Rum Cake, it is encouraged to buy tickets as early as possible.

Lena warns, “Not only is this very tasty, but it has been known to make some very frisky.”

Lena’s Rhubarb Rum Cake

1 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup corn syrup

1 stick butter*

Rum extract to taste**

Cook sugar, syrup and butter until blended. Pour into a 9 x 13 pan which has been prepared with cooking spray or butter.  Cut up 5 to 6 cups of rhubarb and distribute evenly over the cooked syrup. Mix 1 yellow cake mix per package directions. Pour over rhubarb and bake in 350 degree oven for 45 minutes. Serve with a generous dollop of cream.***

Lena’s notes

*I always use applesauce. It makes a really moist cake, the envy of the Ladies Aid Society, and is good for your man.

**Use yust enough rum extract to make it vel smocke ma (“taste just right” in Norwegian). This is about 1 bottle per cake, though it might be less expensive to use a small amount of real rum. The rest may be used medicinally.

***Don’t forget the egg coffee.