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Lake Country Faces: Try to get out of the audience of life

Pine River woman encourages others to try new things while acting in her fourth play

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Though they are technically allies, confusion leads to accidental infighting, such as when Parfait DeLuxe (center, played by Sarah Good) gets the worst of it from fellow villain I.C. Custard (right, played by Mike Lupella) and Robin Baskins (played by Greg Gentry) at this May 3, 2023, rehearsal of "The Great Ice Cream Scheme" in the Pine River-Backus High School gym.
Travis Grimler / Echo Journal

PINE RIVER โ€” The Pine River-Backus Community Education production of "The Great Ice Cream Scheme" is a slapstick, third wall breaking, on-the-nose laugh that will surely leave audience members smiling.

That couldn't happen without Sarah Good's character โ€” the goofy, lovable antagonist Parfait DeLuxe, whose sneaky scheming only endears her to those watching.

Good is a Pine River original who graduated locally, left and came back to bring up her family. After coming home, she found herself drawn to the annual community education productions.

"I really have always enjoyed community theater," Good said. "When I was in my late 30s or early 40s, I thought, 'Why don't I give it a try?' I tried out for 'Steel Magnolias' with the Pine River-Backus Community Education. I got a part. That was my first time just in 2019.

"And I've done 'Princess and the Pea.' I also did 'The Haunting of Hill House' with the Medina community theater and this is my fourth time on stage," she said.

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Good was inspired to feed her curiosity and adventurous side when she saw a teacher she knew on stage, acting for her first time.

"I think being from a small community, I see theater as just an opportunity and an outlet for a lot of different people, especially when it is community theater welcoming people of all ages," Good said.

"So I think it's really important to come out and support the community, especially the smaller community, coming in making sure to try to fill the room," she said. "So I think that's where it started, is really a passion for the community itself. And then thinking, 'Oh, maybe I could do that.'"

Good's role as Annelle in "Steel Magnolias" was her favorite so far, but DeLuxe is turning out to be her second favorite. It's fairly common for actors to consider the villain to be the most fun character to portray.

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Though "The Great Ice Cream Scheme" has a romantic sub plot, Parfait DeLuxe (Sarah Good) may have other things in store when it comes to Robin Baskins (Greg Gentry) as seen during this May 3, 2023, rehearsal.
Travis Grimler / Echo Journal

"She's multifaceted," Good said. "She's coming from the chorus line. It's basically set in the early 1900s. She was not good in the chorus line; she was super klutzy and was kicking all the other girls in the shins.

"So now she's kind of got this opportunity to be the villain sidekick, and she's just really desperate to do it, but she keeps messing up and she's just still klutzy all over the stage," she said of her character.

This latest role offered Good a new experience, performing in a role that includes fight choreography in a chaotic, throw down, battle royale featuring almost the entire cast. That's Good's favorite scene, though she suspects the audience will truly enjoy the show's never-ending comedy.

I just want to let myself be free and funny.
Sara Good

"All of the characters are just really funny in their own way, and they all have their own quirks," Good said. "There's a love story; that's fun. Then there's a couple that have kind of known each other and been in love for a long time. So they're kind of like an old couple kind of thing. And then there's a couple that comes in to just eat a lot of ice cream all the time."

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Good said Mike Lupella's accent and energy tend to steal the scene whenever he's on, and she anticipates him to be a fan favorite.

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I.C. Custard (Mike Lupella) may be the villainous mastermind, but that doesn't stop him from becoming the victim of culprit Parfait DeLuxe's (Sarah Good's) clumsy mistakes during this rehearsal of "The Great Ice Cream Scheme" at a rehearsal May 3, 2023. Here, she tries to help him thaw out after being locked in a freezer for hours.
Travis Grimler / Echo Journal

Good finds inspiration by watching and learning from other performances.

"As an actor who doesn't have a lot of experience, and just getting into it in their 40s, I initially just researched by seeing the different acting methods to see what would be a good fit," Good said. "A lot of times, I initially rely on the director to kind of give me some direction, like what do you think this character is like? The books also give you some kind of insight."

Director Jennifer Anderson is invaluable in helping Good form her character's personality.

"Especially with this one, it's a melodrama. So she's like, 'Just go big with your character and have a lot of fun with it.' As far as getting my lines down, I do record myself and I just listen as often as I can," Good said. "Every time I'm in the car, I'm practicing my lines. When I'm at home at night, in the morning, just trying to calm down."

Everyone's a little afraid to try something new, but just go for it. It's worth it. You know, sometimes it's a challenge.
Sarah Good

Good likes the roles that allow her to be goofy. She doesn't feel like she would ever be in a musical, but the goofier the role, the better.

"I just want to let myself be free and funny," Good said.

She believes other people who have seen something that tickled their fancy should get out and give it a try.

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"I would just encourage people to kind of go for it," Good said. "If you're sitting back there in the audience, you know, not necessarily an audience with community theater, but just the audience in life thinking, I really want to try that. Everyone's a little afraid to try something new, but just go for it. It's worth it. You know, sometimes it's a challenge."

Good is a mother to two Pine River-Backus High School students. When she's not on stage, she has a full-time job and likes to participate in other community events.

For fun, she and her family love the outdoors. They often go four wheeling, she gardens and recently they've tried new activities like virtual reality and ax throwing.

'The Great Ice Cream Scheme'

  • When: 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, May 12-13; 2 p.m. Sunday, May 14.
  • Where: Pine River-Backus High School gym. Enter through Door 45.
  • Tickets: Sales will start 45 minutes ahead of each show. Cost is $12 for adults, $10 for seniors and $8 for students, which includes a choice of dessert at intermission. Ticket sale proceeds will go toward a French class trip to Quebec in 2024.

Travis Grimler is a staff writer for the Pineandlakes Echo Journal weekly newspaper in Pequot Lakes/Pine River. He may be reached at 218-855-5853 or travis.grimler@pineandlakes.com.

Travis Grimler began work at the Echo Journal Jan. 2 of 2013 while the publication was still split in two as the Pine River Journal and Lake Country Echo. He is a full time reporter/photographer/videographer for the paper and operates primarily out of the northern stretch of the coverage area (Hackensack to Jenkins).
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