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High drama in store: DL has great hopes for unique one-act play

A play where each character has its own story, portrayed in a unique way and by local high school students, will compete in the sub-sections One Act Play competition Thursday.

Nine Detroit Lakes High School students will kick off the competition at 4 p.m. on the Historic Holmes Theatre stage performing "Sonnets for an Old Century" by Jose Rivera.

"The Message is that life is tragically beautiful," Veronica Foltz said.

Students say although they will all be in the same room together, each one will be telling a different story -- a prevalent memory, a tragic life event, a much anticipated apology or even the neighbor's laugh.

The 25-minute play will go against others from Alexandria, Fergus Falls and Moorhead.

Director and advisor Jennifer Burnside said "Sonnets" is different and will capture the audience right from the get-go.

"I'm just always looking for plays that are relevant and meaningful," she said.

Laura Berger, a student who has participated in previous One Act plays, said this one is particularly out of the ordinary.

Her performance as the so-called moderator and one of the characters will tell the story of a woman's experience hearing her neighbor's laugh and interpreting all sorts of feelings just from that.

"It's a unique avant-garde type of approach to a one act," she said of the play.

This year's play is also different in the sense that it's more of a monologue instead of a dialogue. As the students gather on stage, they each take turns performing, sometimes telling each other their stories, but mostly each character is on its own.

Burnside said a one act play competition is more subjective than a sporting event, so it's hard to predict which school has the best shot at advancing to sections.

"You can't scout a one act play like you scout an athletic event," she said.

More than half of this year's cast performed last year's "Neighborhood 3: Requisition of Doom" by Jennifer Haley, and took second place in sub-sections.

This year, the students have a little more experience and with Burnside's direction, they'll be able to set themselves apart for the judges to see the uniqueness of this play.

Katie Anderson said "Sonnets" allows the cast to establish some independence, recover if they make mistakes and not make it so obvious.

But for the past few weeks, rehearsing for the play hasn't only been revolved around winning; the group has had some fun with it too.

"It's been a really rewarding experience, I just like working with the subject matter," Anderson said.

The performances are free and open to the public. If the Detroit Lakes team is one of the three top teams, they move on to sections in Alexandria.

The rest of the cast includes: Ashley Morben, Kaleigh Herter, Gunnar Michon, Erik Larson, Christine Kinney, and Kira Leicter.