MNSU professor and local playwright team up for show

Coffee Hag to host local Halloween entertainment Sunday

If you’re looking for in-person local entertainment that is Halloween-related other than a party, Dr. Crowley and the Real Old Time Medicine may be just your kind of medicine.

David Gadberry, a music professor at Minnesota State University, Mankato has teamed with local playwright Esther Marcella Hoffmann to scheme a brew that will enchant their audience on Oct. 28 at 7 p.m. at the Coffee Hag.

Hoffmann and Gadberry had met through Gadberry’s band Nowtro that plays at Coffee Hag most first Sundays of each month.

One of those times they had begun a discussion about the folk music subgenre and murder ballads because both wanted to do a performance that consisted of both. Gadberry suggested the idea of the old time medicine show and from there, their ideas evolved.

Throughout the show, Gadberry will play the banjo, a popular instrument during the medicine show time period and the Minstrelsy.

“The banjo came from the African American community and was adopted by whites,” Gadberry explained, then assured: “We will not be referring to Minstrelsy or performing any racist material during this show.”

Gadberry described the show as “varied, informative, creepy at times, humorous at times, fun.” Hoffmann, meanwhile captured the show in a phrase: “Trouble gone in a swallow.”

Aside from appearing as Doctor Crowley, Gadberry will also incorporate folklore in the songs that he will play at the event.

He has studied folk music from a variety of culture from mostly America. His particular interest is in outlaw and murder ballads, both of which will be the focus in the performance.

“This show is unique as only some of it is scripted. David wrote his parts and I wrote mine,” Hoffman said, “but the show itself will be driven by the characters and audience in the moment of its performance.”

Hoffmann is the “Entertainment Guru” as Coffee Hag owner Jenn Melby-Kelley has fondly called her. In 2012, Hoffmann turned one of her stand-up routines into a three-person play called “A Little Pick Me Up,” with the story based on the dysfunction of her dating herself.

Hoffman will focus on testimonials of a quick fix solution and stories that promise no more pain or suffering, and stories of who we believe and trust with our pain. Charla Tin, Doctor Crowley’s associate, will also tell a ghost story.

Furthermore, the Rakstar Fusion Bellydance will emerge in full skeleton costumes at some point.

Gadberry and Hoffmann will present their talented selves at Coffee Hag on Saturday, Oct. 28 at 7 p.m. Doctor Crowley and the Real Old Time Medicine Show is the first event they have co-created. At the close of the show, Hoffman will give the audience a tarot reading and then an option for tarot tips.

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