Mandan News

Old fashioned melodrama comes to life at Fort Abraham Lincoln

The Fort Abraham Lincoln Dramatic Association will be bringing 1875 back to life in melodramatic style.

This year’s play, “The Idiot Witness,” began its run yesterday and continues each night through July 25 and Thursday, July 29, to Sunday, Aug. 1, in the granary building at Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park.

The performances will begin at 7 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, with a Sunday matinee performance at 1 p.m.

“Theatre helped break up the monotony of the soldiers’ life, and General and Libby Custer often enjoyed the plays put on at the theatre building at the fort,” says Rebecca Maloney, director.

“Soldiers and laundresses would play the parts, and the actors are trying to bring that perspective to their roles,” Maloney says.

In traditional melodrama style, there will be music to heighten the mood, and the audience should be prepared to boo, hiss, gasp and cheer for the characters on stage. There will also be an intermission will music and storytelling.

Tickets are $5 per car for entrance to the park and $2 per person admission to the melodrama. Root beer and popcorn are available for audiences to purchase.

“The Idiot Witness” was actually performed at the theatre on Fort Lincoln back in the 1870s. Back then, there was a theatre building, but the actors today are making do with the Granary building. “It’s both a challenge and a delight to work in the reconstructed granary building,” Maloney says. “The actors have to play cast and crew, and they have definitely showed their skills by standing up to the task.”

This is the 15th year that the melodrama will be performed and continues to speak to the history of daily life at Fort Abraham Lincoln.

For more information, call 663-4758 or visit the website