Historical past Theater focuses on the journey of the ‘Root Beer Girl’ | Coys Information


The historic theater play, initially titled “America’s Loneliest Lady,” had an issue: actor/author Kim Schultz would not consider her character, Dorothy Molter, was lonely.

She is in good firm. Molter — referred to as a “lonely lady” in a Saturday Night Put up story who lived a half-century in a distant Minnesota cabin — additionally disliked sobriquets.

“Folks assumed she was lonely as a result of she was alone, however I do not assume that was the case,” stated Schultz, whose play, now referred to as “The Root Beer Girl,” opens Saturday. “Hundreds of individuals got here to her to purchase her root beer and I feel she thought of nature and animals her companions.”

Molter turned well-known for her home made root beer, which she bought to vacationers and visiting college students, together with former superstar Julia Roberts. The pioneer lived for greater than 50 years at Knife Lake, the so-called Boundary Waters Canoe Space Wilderness.

The Chicago native first went fishing along with his father to the Isle of Pines “resort” in 1930 and moved in completely 4 years later. She lived in a small cabin with no electrical energy or utilities till her demise in 1986. She was “the final unlawful aboriginal resident of the Boundary Waters,” as Historical past Theater calls her.

The “Root Beer Girl,” 79-year-old Molter, sits at her kitchen desk, a part of a Chelsea M. Warren set that depicts the cabin and its bordering water backdrop. She shares tales about her life and adventures in nature.

“There have been all these assumptions written about her and who she was,” stated Schultz, who has performed different one-person reveals however wasn’t certain what “Root Bear” was. When, I spotted I needed Dorothy to inform her personal story.”

Schultz, who was one of many girls in “No Place Referred to as Residence” at Phantasm Theater in 2011, discovered about Molter in 2019 whereas an artist-in-residence at Tofte Lake Middle. Fascinated, she started researching the Boundary Waters and Ely’s Dorothy Molter Museum, which options a number of reassembled cabins named after her. Schultz rapidly realized that Molter’s story may very well be a play, and pitched the concept to former Historical past Theater inventive director Ron Peluso.

Molter had a tough childhood, together with a keep in an orphanage after her mom’s demise. However Schultz would not consider the basis beer woman is operating away from something when she heads north. As a substitute, the playwright thinks Molter’s story is a sort of love story.

“I feel this can be a love story, a love of the earth and nature. I feel she simply fell in love with the boundary waters,” Schultz stated. “She was a trailblazer for ladies and the atmosphere. She took care of the planet earlier than we took care of it. She understood the significance of lake water and choosing up trash from campers and canoes.”

Schultz is fast to notice that regardless of altering the principles of the place she referred to as dwelling, the privilege of being white helped Molter survive within the border waters. And although Molter lived alone, she had assist — together with the Ojibwe individuals who taught her the abilities she wanted to outlive, and Invoice Berglund, who she met when she visited his Isle of Pines resort. Lastly, he gave it to her along with his will.

“I hope the viewers sees her as a job mannequin, somebody who lived her life by her personal guidelines, was form about it, however wasn’t going to dwell in a world dictated by individuals,” Schultz stated. “She’d say, ‘Cease your abdomen ache'” (Her brother gestured for it, uttering the phrase “Kwitchurbeliakin.”)

Reversing Molter’s path, Schultz grew up in Minnesota (she attended Burnsville Excessive Faculty) and ended up in Chicago. The extra she researched Molter, the extra she admired her bravery.

“I feel, ‘What courageous motion am I going to take right now to dwell the sort of life I wish to dwell?’ Dorothy did it in 1930, so I’ve acquired 90 years on her,” stated Schultz, who nonetheless has questions on what prompted Molter to make the leap: Frustration with the stalled nursing career? The self-confidence that arose in her when she was separated from her dad and mom? Was she someway born within the improper place when she ought to have been in northern Minnesota?

“I do not know what it’s,” Schultz stated. “She stated ‘sure’ to this random fishing journey. It modified her life without end.”

‘The Root Beer Girl’

WHO: By Kim Schultz. It’s directed by Addie Gorlin-Han.

when: A.M. 10 and 10 p.m. 7:30 Thursday, 1 p.m. 7:30 p.m. Fri.-Sat. 2 Solar. Ends February 19.

the place is: Historical past Theatre, 30 E. tenth St., St. Paul.

Protocol: Masks required for Friday and Sunday performances.

Tickets: $20-$58, 651-292-4323 or historytheatre.com.



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