Prov 17:22

A merry heart doeth good like a medicine... - Proverbs 17:22

Saturday, October 27, 2018


I know what you’re going to say. 

I know because it was my first thought, too. “Didn’t the Prairie Players just do M*A*S*H a couple of years ago?”

Well, first of all, it was eight years ago. Time flies like that.

Secondly, the production you saw in 2010 was taken from the TV series. This year’s production is the original script, the one you’d have seen in the 1970 movie—if you saw the movie.

I had not. So, I did a little digging.

Turns out the original movie was based on a 1968 book called MASH: A Novel About Three Army Doctors by Richard Hooker (the pen name for former military surgeon Dr. H. Richard Hornberger and writer W. C. Heinz.) Dr. Hornberger graduated from Cornell University Medical School and was almost immediately drafted into the Korean War and assigned to the 8055th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital (MASH).

A scene from the original MASH movie
His experiences became the background for his novel, which he worked on for eleven years. MASH was rejected by many publishers before Hornberger collaborated with famed sportswriter, W.C. Heinz. A year later, the book was published and became highly successful. MASH was adapted as a film and nominated for five Academy Awards, winning for Best Adapted Screenplay.

The TV series debuted in 1972 and ran for eleven seasons—eight years longer than the Korean war! Rumour has it that Hornberger did not like Alan Alda’s portrayal of Hawkeye Pierce (in the movie, Donald Sutherland played Pierce), and that he was so furious at having sold the film rights for only a few hundred dollars that he never again signed a copy of the book.

In MASH units, draftees and regular army personnel lived and worked together in tents—operating on stretchers balanced on carpenter’s sawhorses. They roasted in the summer and froze in the winter. One thing that characterized these units was long periods of a week or more in apparent peace and safety when nothing was happening. When you realize most of these doctors were in their twenties, it’s not surprising all that free time resulted in numerous and varied shenanigans. Then suddenly, they’d be faced with an overwhelming mass of casualties, as many as a thousand in one day. You’ll recall both scenarios dramatized effectively in the series.

You can discover the differences between the two scripts when you see the play.

Come on out to the William Glesby Centre and enjoy the Prairie Players’ production of this classic. Directed by Christopher Kitchen, the large cast includes Krista Austin, Craig Bennet, Shaina Bergen, Theresa Bergen, Sandy Blight, Ron C, Avery Griffith, Mike Hoekstra, Gord Holm, Iris Jones, Monce Joseph, Jim Kitchen, Larry Lepla, Haley L’Heureux, Robert Martin, Deanne McLeod, Henry Romance, Tyrone Taylor, Jordan Thiessen, Peggy Tidsbury, Terry Tully, Danica Turcotte, and Paul Warthe.

All four nights will be set up in coffee house style with reserved seating at round tables. November 7 and 8 is the play only at 7:30pm. Doors open at 7. Tickets are $15 each. November 9 and 10 will be dinner theatre with cocktails at 5:30, dinner at 6:30 and the play at 7:30. Tickets are $45.00. Catered by Café on Prince. Tickets are not available online. For tickets, call the Glesby Centre Box Office at 204-239-4848 or visit them during office hours.

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