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DL one-act play team takes first, moves on to section competition

While most people are still snug in their beds on Saturday, Feb. 4, cast members of the Detroit Lakes High School one-act play, "Escape from Paradise," will be on a bus headed to Alexandria.

That's because the DL thespians took first place in the Subsection 8AA one-act play competition held this past Saturday at the Historic Holmes Theatre in Detroit Lakes. They finished just ahead of Moorhead (second) and Alexandria (third), with all three top finishers advancing to the Section 8AA competition at Discovery Middle School in Alexandria on Saturday.

After finishing first in the subsection, Detroit Lakes will also be the first group on stage for Saturday's section competition, which gets underway promptly at 10 a.m. (The competition is open to the public.)

DL one-act play director Jennifer Burnside described the play "Escape from Paradise" as "an ensemble piece."

"The main character, Jenine (Tierney Michon) has been running away from her life for years, and now must face 'dead memories and forgotten loved ones' from her past in order to make sense of the present," Burnside continued.

Michon, the play's lead actress, is also the only returning one-act participant; the remaining 12 cast members are first-timers, she noted.

Despite their youth, however, "they worked together beautifully," added Burnside. Because much of the play is spent moving from one of Jenine's memories to the next, the actors have to spend much of the play "frozen" on stage.

Yet for the brief period that they "unfreeze" to present their scene, "each actor gives such a powerful character performance that it contributes beautifully to the effectiveness of the ensemble," Burnside concluded.

Only the first-place finisher in the section competition will advance to the State One-Act Play Festival, which is set to take place at O'Shaughnessy Auditorium on the campus of the College of St. Catherine in St. Paul, Feb. 9-10.

DL's first-place finish in the subsection was its second in the past three years; Burnside also directed the 2004 first-place finisher, "Bobrauschenberg America."

"We took third place last year," she added.

Jon Chelmo and Eric Roethel are providing technical assistance for the production. In addition to Michon, the cast also includes Thressa Johnson (Taxi Driver); Kaitlin Lange (Babs); Rachel Skaaland (Sister Sinclair); Lindsay Boller (Superstar); Bethany Haugen (Secretary); Annie Harman (Tour Guide); Ryan Klopka (Rufus); Cassie Williams (Madear); Danelle Olson (Ronnie); Nikki Weber (Karen); Jackie Pavek (Voice); and Heather Hewchuck (Traveler).

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.

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