One-act plays set to 'break a leg' at Willmar High School
As the lights dimmed on the stage at the Willmar High School Tuesday night, it was hard to imagine what was going through the mind of the audience. For 30 minutes, a half-packed auditorium chuckled and laughed as Willmar High School students rifl...
As the lights dimmed on the stage at the Willmar High School Tuesday night, it was hard to imagine what was going through the mind of the audience.
For 30 minutes, a half-packed auditorium chuckled and laughed as Willmar High School students rifled through a montage of clever -- and sometimes downright outrageous -- skits focusing on hair.
Whether it was the Sponge Bob backpack-wearing Grant Schneider, mimicking a 5-year-old's obsession with pulling ponytails, or the two girls condescendingly yelling "did you see her," at imaginary passersby, the audience was a constant buzz of laughter.
When Willmar wrapped up their act, a group of five Central Minnesota Christian School seniors took the audience on a journey through an emotional experience of a family coping with how their lives have changed since "Billy" died in the war.
The students put on the shows in preparation for a one-act play competition. Students from Willmar High School and Central Minnesota Christian School in Prinsburg performed in an open dress rehearsal and critique. Willmar is hosting the south subsection Saturday; CMCS will perform its one-act play Saturday at Redwood Valley High School in Redwood Falls.
Before the lights were softened Tuesday night, Willmar's one-act play director, Nikki Bettcher Erickson, briefed the audience on how one-act competition works. The students are given 10 minutes to set up their stage, 35 minutes to perform and another 5 minutes to take down their set.
"They're judged on their acting, projection," Bettcher Erickson said. Technical aspects, such as lighting and sound effects, are also judged, she continued.
Tuesday's audience was also given an opportunity to critique the shows themselves. Bettcher Erickson asked that each audience member complete and leave a critique sheet, to help better the performance this weekend.
Beginning at 10 a.m. Saturday high school performers from Hutchinson, Waseca, New Ulm, Marshall and Willmar will take to the stage in Willmar for the Subsection 2 AA one-act play competition. From there, the top two teams advance to sections Feb. 3 at the St. Michael-Albertville High School. The section winner goes on to state.
"It's fun to work with the kids and push them to their best," said Kevin Wassenaar, CMCS's one-act director. Wassenaar said he likes the one-acts because he gets to see the students excel and achieve a sense of accomplishment with their work.
Even as both schools were preparing for competition, the students all seemed to be driven by more personal motivations.
CMCS seniors Matt Postma and Lucas Zuidema both wanted to perform something with a military tie. "Me and the other male actor just joined the Marines this summer," said Postma.
For Willmar junior Schneider -- the chronic ponytail tugger -- the reason was much more simplistic.
Schneider said he loves the interaction with other actors on stage. "(I'm) pretty much a theater geek all the way around," he said with a laugh. For the junior, this is only his second year of one-act competition, but he has been involved in speech and theater for numerous years.
As for the Sponge Bob backpack, it was no prop. "It's my backpack," Schneider said. When asked if he uses it for classes, he laughed and said no, "it only holds two cans of pop."