FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Three Class A troupes earn ‘starred performance’ ratings
After watching, listening, and then individually critiquing eight Class A dramatic productions, a panel of judges rated three of them “starred performances” on Friday, Feb. 8, during the 2013 State One Act Play Festival sponsored by the Minnesota State High School League. The two-day festival is conducted at O’Shaughnessy Auditorium on the St. Catherine University campus in St. Paul.
The top eight Class A productions from across the state took the stage throughout the day. The three schools whose performances were cited for “starred performances” were (in order of performance) Sauk Centre for The Diviners, St. Paul Academy & Summit School for The Yellow Wallpaper, and Belle Plaine for Ridiculosis By Proxy. The other participating Class A high schools were Fillmore Central of Harmony, Win-E-Mac of Erskine, Mountain Lake, Wadena-Deer Creek, and Eveleth-Gilbert.
Representing Section 5, Sauk Centre’s “starred performance” of The Diviners was directed by Margaret Kitterman. The play was written by Jim Leonard, Jr. It's the dust bowl during the 1930's, and we know when the play opens that Buddy Layman has drowned tragically. The rest of the play explains the struggles of the townspeople and a drifter named C.C. Showers, as they all attempt to quench Zion's thirst for water and religion. Cast members were Cole McElwain, Lily Satterlee, Brendon McElwain, Jake Kluver, Hannah Salto, Briana Ziemer, Stephy Polipnick, Charlie Barhorst, Jamie Jennissen, B.J. Welle, Riley Akervik, Ayden Berg, and Abbi Primus. Support personnel were Rebecca Engel, Kayley Schirmers, Karla Zwack, and Lizzie Wiener. This was the school’s eighth festival appearance and it’s fourth “starred” rating. The school earned previous top ratings in 1975, 1976, and 2007.
Representing Section 4, St. Paul Academy and Summit School’s “starred performance” of The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman was adapted by Jennifer Blackmer. Eric Severson directed this year’s “starred” production, which was the third for the school. This play is based on and adapted from the 1891 novella by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, which is often referred to as one of the first pieces of feminist literature. The story was written shortly after Gilman herself was diagnosed with hysteria, and subjected to the so-called “rest cure” by world-renown physician Weir Mitchell. Gilman had just given birth to a baby daughter, and in this time, her ailment might be situated as postpartum depression. During her treatment, she was denied access to her baby, which undoubtedly worsened her condition. As Gilman endured her confinement, she traveled, in her words, “dangerously close to the edge.” She managed to pull herself back by ultimately ignoring the doctor’s orders and returning to her work writing stories and works of fiction. The Yellow Wallpaper was one of her first efforts following her ordeal. After the story was published, she sent a copy to Weir Mitchell. His response was this: “Such a thing ought not to be written. It would drive anyone mad to read it.” Cast members were Sophia Myers-Kelley, Emily Ross, Maggie Vlietstra, Charlotte Hughes, Chinaza Nwaneri, Rachel Ketz, Maggie Clark, Claire Flom-Staab, and Cam Murray. Ian Rolf, Ellie Fuelling, Clara Stahlmann Roeder, and Anna Biggs provided support. This was St. Paul Academy and Summit School’s fourth festival appearance overall. The Spartans earned their two other “starred” ratings in 1994 and 2006.
Representing Section 2, Belle Plaine’s “starred performance” of Ridiculosis By Proxy by B. Dwayne Craft was directed by Tony Hartmann and Peter Jacobson. How does a community respond when an unknown, unnamed, symptomless disease, begins to ravage its citizens? In this absurdist comedy, the citizens must face the reality that perhaps a life sentence is the harshest punishment that can be given to a human. The school was making its 11th appearance and earned its 10th “starred” rating. The school earned previous “starred” ratings in 1993, 1997, 1999, 2000, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011, and 2012. Cast members were Kyle O'Brien, Alec Lorenz, Kelly Morrison, Kali Gorman, Nick Johnson, Jake Hartmann, Rylee Pumper, Hannah Burmeister, Aiden Winterfeldt, Mikhayla Clausen, Mitchell Farmer-Lies, Erin Winters, Taylor Bergland, Jennifer He, Cassidy Pumper, Catherine Littlepage, Dylan O'Brien, Patrick Selly, Janessa Meuleners, and Max Hughes. Crew members were also part of the ensemble.
The Minnesota State High School League State One Act Play Festival does not involve direct competition. Judges rate the plays according to specific criteria, including pace, blocking, costuming, and projection of the play’s meaning. Each production is limited to 10 minutes of stage preparation and 35 minutes of actual performance.
The judges consult after each production and then openly critique each in front of the cast, crew, and audience. “Starred performance” ratings are determined by private balloting of the judges. One school from each of eight sections in each class gets to perform at the state level. Two hundred and ninety-seven teams participated in One Act Play this season, 208 in Class A and 89 in Class AA
Each cast and crew member involved with these three productions was also presented a Spotlight on the Arts Award of Excellence recognition pin. This is a fine arts recognition award created by Wells Fargo, the League’s premier sponsor, in cooperation with the League. The casts and crews were also awarded a handsome acrylic trophy incorporating the Spotlight on the Arts logo.
Four of eight Class AA troupes earned “starred performances” on Thursday, February 7. (See the Class AA Results news release for details).
— 30 —