A CHILLING COMEDY

Box in the Wood presents ‘The Ice House’
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Leader Photo by Lee Pulaski Ingrid, left, played by Karen Fuller laughs as she turns away from Erik, played by Coulton Boughton, and Michelle, played by Maddie Stuewer, in a scene from “The Ice House.” The show opens Friday at 7 p.m. and runs through Oct. 14.

The latest show from Box in the Wood Theatre Guild will leave the audience with chills.

With a title like “The Ice House,” would you expect anything less?

The guild is performing the comedy for the next two weekends at the Mielke Arts Center, N5649 Airport Road, Shawano. While the play is based in Minnesota, most aspects will ring true for those Wisconsin outdoors enthusiasts who enjoy fishing on the ice in the dead of winter.

“The show is written by Peter Bloedel, a professor at Bethany Lutheran College in Mankato, Minnesota,” said director Sue Kluge.

Three men have enjoyed the sport for years, but one, Oskar, is no longer able to enjoy the thrill of the chase after he is forced to move to Florida by his needy sister-in-law, Ingrid, according to Kluge.

“She’s a bit of a user. She takes advantage,” Kluge said. “There’s different things throughout the show where the characters talk about how she’s finagled things.”

The other two men, missing their friend, devise a plot to get their friend back to the frigid climate of Minnesota. It’s not just any ordinary plot, however. It’s a deluxe ice house with a kitchen to prep and cook the fish caught, a bathroom, a sauna and much more — all being done in secret so the wives don’t discover the amount of money they’re putting into their little palace.

“They call it an ice chateau at one point,” Kluge said.

However, the proposed ice house is not the only motivation for Oskar to try to return to Minnesota. Attending a spring wedding ends up with Oskar falling in love with the mother of the bride, Kluge said.

“There’s other silliness in between that I won’t divulge,” Kluge said.

While the show is a comedy, Kluge said she didn’t push that aspect as far as the playwright did when his show debuted in Mankato in November 2016. Kluge noted that she tends to veer more toward the dramatic side when she directs.

“They really did more of a caricature of the characters in the story,” Kluge said. “They pushed the Minnesota accent and all that silliness, which we didn’t do so much.”

Kluge also directed “Church Basement Ladies” for Box in the Wood in April and May, and like that show, she finds the characters easily relatable to those who call northeast Wisconsin home.

“That’s what people will find funny — the silly things they do, how they talk about ice fishing, the conversations about the kids,” Kluge said. “I think they can relate to the characters that way and be able to laugh at themselves.”

AT A GLANCE

WHAT: “The Ice House”

WHEN: 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and Oct. 12-13; 2 p.m. Sunday and Oct. 14

WHERE: Mielke Arts Center, N5649 Airport Road, Shawano

TICKETS: $12 adults, $7 children

For ticket information go to https://shawanoarts.com