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Couple ready to take the stage, literally

July 27, 2013
By Jim Tate - SMSU , Marshall Independent

The relationship between Jodie Stensrud and Jacob Forstein blossomed while the two were working on the SMSU Theatre production of "A Secret Garden."

So what better place to get married than the SMSU Theatre?

"Originally, we started talking about having it in Garvin or Camden Park. We wanted something small. Then he was looking at some photos online, and saw a couple who had a wedding in a theatre. He said, 'That's a good idea.' So he started to run with it. He's a big theatre guy," said Stensrud, a 2012 alumna with a degree in business management.

Forstein, a Sioux Falls, S.D., native, has intermittently attended SMSU for seven years. He is the technical director at the Memorial Auditorium Performing Arts Center in Worthington, and a freelance theatre technician. "He does the lighting and sound for all the shows there," explained Stensrud.

And it will be Forstein who designs the lighting for their Aug. 10 ceremony, one Stensrud describes as "simple."

"When you walk into the Fine Arts Building, we'll have some of our engagement and other photos displayed where the cast photos normally are," said Stensrud, a Clarkfield native who is a loan administrator at F&M Bank in Olivia. The stage will only have a unity candle stand, and some memorial flowers, she said.

They will be married by Lyon County Court Administrator Karen Bierman.

Stensrud said that, near the end of the ceremony, "there will be a surprise special effect." She didn't want to spoil it for the attending guests, so that surprise ending will be left to the imagination, for now.

She's relieved that the SMSU Theatre's renovation is complete. The old green chairs are gone, replaced with brand spankin' new red ones, along with carpet in the theatre and entrance areas. "We were keeping an eye on that, hoping it would be done," she said.

The two met when Stensrud was a freshman. "I was in an Intro to Theatre class and needed 15 hours of practical," she said. "I signed up for helping with lighting.

"For that show, Jacob was the master electrician, pretty much my boss. We met through that."

The lights came on for Forstein when Stensrud's lights went out, literally.

"It was about six months (after their first meeting). I was done with my practical and was helping one night. One of the other helpers handed a light down to me, and a part of it wasn't tightened. Part of it fell on my head. I was bleeding, and Jacob was trying to stem the bleeding. I was washing my hands and I passed out."

The sight of her unconscious triggered something in Forstein. "He freaked out a little bit. He had been an EMT in Yellowstone, and had never freaked out before. But when he saw me, he found he had feelings for me."

It was his moment of realization.

She's looking forward to the theatre setting for her wedding. "It's something different, something out of the ordinary. We come from two different types of families, and we wanted to do something extra special. I think everyone's OK with it.

As far as everyone around SMSU knows, it's the first wedding in the theatre. "That's what they tell me," said Stensrud. "It's going to be a lot of fun."



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