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21 scene and heard - snyder /mb/ab

Hedlund is a man of many faces

By Karen Snyder

life@postbulletin.com

John Hedlund of Rochester, who recently played Felix Unger in the Mantorville Theatre Company’s production of "The Odd Couple," specializes in portraying uptight characters.

"It’s a little typecasting," Hedlund said. "I tend to get stressed out — but not as much as Felix."

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Mantorville Theatre presented the Neil Simon comedy in February. "The Odd Couple" features a memorable pair of mismatched roommates, the fastidious Felix and the uber-messy Oscar Madison.

"Felix is a ramped-up version of me and I’m a diluted version of him," said Hedlund, a copy editor at Mayo Clinic. "I had all the sympathy in the world for the people around me in this play. You get sick of the guy who can’t sit down to play poker because he’s too busy serving drinks and making sandwiches. Felix is just a putz."

"John can be a stressed-out guy," his wife, Diane, said, "but he isn’t as persnickety as Felix, and not nearly as depressed. John doesn’t take himself seriously, and he has a self-deprecating sense of humor."

Among the tightly wound roles he’s played, Felix is John Hedlund’s runner-up favorite — "a close second to Paul Bratter in ‘Barefoot in the Park,’" Hedlund said. "It’s more fun being a stressed-out newlywed than a stressed-out divorcee."

Multitasking in Wabasha

Mike Smith loves variety in his work and Wabasha as his home — two good reasons why he’s served as editor of the Wabasha Herald since 1976.

Smith attended Wabasha High School before it became Wabasha-Kellogg High, and Rochester Community College before it became Rochester Community and Technical College. He credits teachers for encouraging him to pursue journalism.

Editing a small town weekly calls for multitasking and many skills. In addition to editing the Herald, Smith does most of the photography and reporting. He covers meetings and athletic events. He and Herald reporter Ruby White write the news and feature stories.

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The difficult part, Smith says, is spending so much time away from his family.

"When people say, ‘You’re so busy, how do you do it?’ I tell them I don’t know any other way. I like being on the go."

Fiddlers’ jamboree

"I’m not a fiddler," Larry Dobson said, "but I’m looking for fiddlers. I want to get together a bunch of fiddlers to play at Olde Fashioned Fourth of July in Mantorville."

During this quest, Dobson is getting an education on the subject of fiddling. He thought fiddles were strictly violins. He found out any stringed instrument played with a bow qualifies.

He believed fiddling music came in two categories: country and bluegrass. He learned otherwise.

"There are jazz fiddlers, ethnic fiddlers, classical fiddlers, all different kinds of fiddlers."

Though Mantorville’s festival will be Olde Fashioned, its fiddlers need not be. Fiddlers of all styles interested in joining the jamboree can contact Dobson at (507) 374-6531, at communitynewscorp@kmtel.com, or at P.O. Box 279, Dodge Center, MN 55927.

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Karen Snyder is a Rochester freelance writer. Scene & Heard runs every Saturday in Life/Home & Away. Send comments and ideas to life@postbulletin.com.

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