'Grand Opening' Bob Suh


Grand Opening

Every Fri. and Sat. from Oct. 12-Nov. 3
7:30 p.m.
Every Sun. from Oct. 14-Nov. 4
2 p.m.

Jon Hassler, who was born in Minneapolis but grew up in the towns of Staples and Plainview, brought a uniquely empathetic perspective to his novels, which center on common people living their lives in often overlooked dots on the map. His highly autobiographical Grand Opening is being produced this season by Theatre in the Round Players. Adapted by Hassler himself, Grand Opening recounts the experiences of the Foster family, Minneapolis natives who relocate to a small town with hopes of a fresh start as owners of a modest grocery store. Instead of rustic simplicity, however, the Fosters discover a community with its own stringent codes of conduct and moral propriety, where fierce judgements are leveled upon everything, including work ethics, suspect intellectualism, and religious orientation (most notably the tense divide between Catholics and Protestants). Grounded largely in the perspective of 12-year-old Brendan Foster and incorporating outlooks particular to the whole of small-town society, Grand Opening seeks to demystify the rural Midwest by exposing its vices and acknowledging its virtues.