PRIMGHAR—Roger Brikert does it all.
Acting, directing, set building — you name it, he does it.
The 59-year-old rural mail carrier and rural Primghar farmer has been actively involved with Primghar Community Playhouse for the last 12 years, although he first became involved with the community theatre in 1988.
"I took a few years off in there and then got back in it," he said.
Brinkert got his first taste of PCP, which is closing in on its 30th anniversary, working back stage during "Something's Afoot," a murder mystery musical that spoofs detective stories, particularly the works of Agatha Christie.
While not front and center on stage, Brinkert's role was a little less nonchalant, but noticeable nonetheless.
"I worked for fun back stage," he said.
And, when the special effect puffs of smoke went off before each victim was killed off, Brinkert had the pleasure of hiding below the stage and throwing darts at one lone unsuspecting pawn.
He was hooked.
Since then, Brinkert still has continued to do his fair share of work behind the scenes, but he also has taken up acting and made his directing debut in PCP's 2003 rendition of "Murder on the Rerun," a murder mystery written by Fred Carmichael.
Although he got his start back stage, and has constructed the sets for each of PCP's productions over the last eight years, Brinkert's favorite aspect of the theatre is being in front of the spotlights.
"You feel important on stage," he said. "You get to be somebody else."
Brinkert, donning a tweed hat and a smoking pipe, will take on the role of Peter Flimsey, a pseudonym for the fictional detective Sherlock Holmes, in PCP's latest production, "The Butler Did It," which will be presented April 24-26.
Of course, Brinkert has spent an added two to three hours each week assisting with the set building, in addition to the three, three-hour nights each week for rehearsal, but he thinks the extra effort is worth it for those audience members who choose to see the production in its dinner theatre format or by way of matinee.
Brian Kleve of Sanborn is portraying Father White as well as directing the play, which follows a well-known society hostess as she throws a murder mystery night at her isolated and fogbound estate, called Ravenswood Manor, located on Turkey Island, off the coast of San Francisco.
Brinkert was not smitten by the play at first, but writer Tim Kelly delivered and ended up winning him over.
"The more we rehearsed, I came to realize that it is hilarious," he said.
But those in attendance will have to pay close attention as Brinkert said the production is fast-paced.
The relatively small cast of 10 has been rehearsing since early January, but Brinkert said the production could not go on without the assistance of the backstage crew.
"A lot of times, people don't even know they're back there," he said.
Brinkert said not many backstage helpers were needed this time as "The Butler Did It" is not a grand production and does not require added special effects. But those who are helping deserve just as grandiose an applause as the actors.
"Four to five people will start doing our makeup a week before the production, and that takes about an hour each night," Brinkert said. "And the board has been busy taking care of all the publicity, the dinner and setting up tables. People just don't think about that aspect, but the production couldn't go on without them."
This article appeared in the March 28, 2009 edition of The N'West Iowa REVIEW.