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'A beacon of hope'

Kira (Anna Hokanson, left) and Thomas (Tristan Knopf) listen as Matt (Alex Swanson)tells them what she has seen during a scene from the Detroit Lakes High School one-act play, "Gathering Blue," which will be presented to the public this Tuesday, Jan. 24, at 7:30 p.m. on the stage of the Historic Holmes Theatre. (Vicki Gerdes/Tribune)1 / 5
Anna Hokanson (center) stars as Kira in Detroit Lakes High School's 2017 one-act play, "Gathering Blue," which will be presented to the public this Tuesday, Jan. 24 at 7:30 p.m., on the stage of Detroit Lakes' Historic Holmes Theatre. (Vicki Gerdes/Tribune)2 / 5
Anna Hokanson as Kira, Tristan Knopf as Thomas and Alex Swanson as Matt in a scene from the Detroit Lakes High School one-act play, "Gathering Blue," which will be presented to the public this Tuesday, Jan. 24, at 7:30 p.m. on the stage of the Historic Holmes Theatre. (Vicki Gerdes/Tribune)3 / 5
Alex Swanson, left, as Matt and Anna Hokanson as Kira in a scene from the Detroit Lakes High School one-act play, "Gathering Blue," which will be presented to the public this Tuesday, Jan. 24, at 7:30 p.m. on the stage of Detroit Lakes' Historic Holmes Theatre. (Vicki Gerdes/Tribune)4 / 5
Kira, played by Anna Hokanson, comforts the young singer Jo, played by Eleanor Bierderman, in a scene from the Detroit Lakes High School one-act play, "Gathering Blue," which will be presented to the public this Tuesday, Jan. 24, at 7:30 p.m. on the stage of the Historic Holmes Theatre. (Vicki Gerdes/Tribune)5 / 5

When you ask the cast of the Detroit Lakes High School 2017 one-act play, Lois Lowry's "Gathering Blue," what the story is all about, there's no shortage of voices that clamor to respond.

"A dystopian society becomes aware," says Anna Hokanson, who brings to life the play's central character, Kira.

Giggles erupt from her fellow actors as they kid her about how melodramatic that response sounds.

"'Gathering Blue' is set in a world (author) Lois Lowry created in 'The Giver,'" says Sarah Kapphahn, who plays the role of Vandara

In this world, society is ruled by the Guardians, "a group of all powerful, seemingly benevolent beings," says Madi Hagen, who plays the Chief Guardian.

In reality, however, the Guardians are far from benevolent, she added: They rule through fear, keeping the people of the village submissive and meek by spreading rumors of violent "beasts" that live in the surrounding woods.

"What they put in (the villagers') minds is the fear that if they go into the woods they'll get killed," Kapphahn added. The central plot of the story is that Kira, who was born with a deformed leg, did not meet the same deadly fate as other weak and disabled people in their village, because she reportedly inherited a rare talent for embroidery from her mother.

As Kira takes on the task of learning her craft, in the hope that she will one day be able to repair the legendary "singer's robe," she begins to discover the Guardians' dark secrets.

One of them is the reason why there is no blue thread, or blue fabric, to be found anywhere in the village.

"That's one of the themes," says Natalie Eidenschink, who plays the sinister Guardian known as Jamison. "There is no blue... because blue symbolizes hope."

By the end of the play, Kira herself comes to symbolize that for the villagers.

"She becomes like a beacon to them... a beacon of hope," says Alex Swanson, who plays Matt, the young villager who befriends Kira and becomes her 'protector.'

"Gathering Blue" is directed by Nikki Caulfield, and is Detroit Lakes' entry into this year's Minnesota State High School League one-act play competition, which gets underway with subsections this Thursday, Jan. 26 in Fergus Falls.

After a little over a month of preparations, this past week's rehearsals were focused on making sure that the play did not run over the 35-minute time limit imposed by the state.

Mission accomplished: Thursday's rehearsal clocked in at 31 minutes, 51 seconds.

"That's good pacing," Caulfield told her cast when they took a break before running through some of the finer points of the production a second time.

Those who would like to see the results of the cast's labors are welcome to attend a public performance of "Gathering Blue," which is set to take place this Tuesday, Jan. 24 on the stage of the Historic Holmes Theatre, starting at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $5 for adults and $2 for students, and the performance time is approximately 35 minutes.

'Gathering Blue' Cast

Kira: Anna Hokanson

Thomas: Tristan Knopf

Jo: Eleanor Bierderman

Chief Guardian: Madi Hagen

Jamison: Natalie Eidenschink

Vandara: Sarah Kapphahn

Solora: Diana Heden

Dinah: Ellen Tieken

Asher: Zach Leeb

Mar/Singer: Britt Rorah

Elida: Mackenzie Liddell

Annabella: Gabriella Holm

Matt: Alex Swanson

Katerina: Kendra Jensen

Christopher: Isaiah McKenzie

Vicki Gerdes

Staff writer at Detroit Lakes Newspapers for the past 16 years, currently editor of the entertainment and community pages as well as covering city council and the Lake Park-Audubon School Board. Living in DL with my cat, Smokey.

(218) 844-1454
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