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Poulsbo youth bring past to life

       - Jennifer Morris/Staff Photo
— image credit: Jennifer Morris/Staff Photo

POULSBO — It was a meeting with two councils Wednesday night in Poulsbo’s City Hall. Two mayors and even two clerks were on hand, as the usual contingent of mid-week politicians was joined by a young, but historical, cast.

Eleven thespians from North Kitsap High School — and one 5-year-old debuting starlet — breathed life into a reenactment of the first Poulsbo City Council meeting held, and showcased the ways the community may have reacted to some of the very first ordinances put on paper.

The performance was a hit, bringing back to life in a humorous way a handful of historic figures after which many of Poulsbo’s streets and avenues are now named. The starring characters were some of the city’s most renowned, including Mayor Andrew B. Moe, Peter Iverson and Alfred Hostmark. The play was set in the printing offices of Peter and Josephine Iverson’s Kitsap County Herald at a time when the city was worth just $51,065.

Written by 17-year-old NKHS seniors Sophie Bonomi and Elizabeth Nodolf, the two-act play was produced to help ring in Little Norway’s centennial year. The Poulsbo Historical Society student volunteers began the project over the summer, dissecting minutes from early city meetings and coming to an understanding of just what it meant to be a pioneering town.

Coordinated by Erica Varga, former PHS curator, and directed by NKHS’s Sharon Ferguson, the show elicited bouts of laughter from the packed council chamber crowd, and despite one comically wayward mustache, displayed the city’s beginnings with impressive detail.

Much like today, the townsfolk in 1908 faced issues of population growth and new building developments, along with a widening of Front Street and the barring of animals from running wild. To the crowd’s amusement, ordinances against indecently exposed ankles and children on the street after 9 p.m. were a couple of the outdated notions discussed throughout the theatrics.

The enthusiastic reaction from the audience was just what Bonomi and Nodolf were hoping for, as their goal was to bring a little excitement to a meeting which, they admitted, can sometimes be a bit dull.

“We really wanted to liven it up,” Bonomi said. “Our goal with everything we do is to bring the past back to life.”

Ferguson said the high schoolers each have past stage experience, and only had two rehearsals to prepare the lines they memorized over the holidays. Despite that, she was confident in their abilities to wow the crowd.

“They’re all terrific kids,” she said.

Poulsbo Mayor Kathryn Quade applauded the performance, and the passion for history shown by the teens.

“I think every council meeting should be as entertaining,” she said. “These kids did a great job.”

Two more showings of the reenactment are set for today’s inaugural centennial event at the Sons of Norway. The 11 a.m. showing is open to the public; tickets for the 7:30 p.m. finale and evening wine-tasting event are $35.

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