In 35 minutes or less: DLHS cast preparing for one-act play competition
For fans of high school sports, January is a month filled with trips to see basketball and hockey games, Nordic and alpine skiing races, wrestling and gymnastics meets. But for theater buffs, it's all about the one-act play.
The format is simple: Within the space of 35 minutes, a cast and crew of no more than 20 students must set up, perform and take down the set for a single-act theatrical presentation, in competition with other schools from their subsection. Casts that exceed the time limit are penalized in their final score. Three schools from each subsection move on to section competition, with the top team from each section advancing to state.
This year, Detroit Lakes High School one-act play director Nikki Caulfield has chosen to present "Lafayette No. 1" by Mandy Conner, a story about a group of homeless orphans known as the Forgotten, who live on the streets of 1816 New Orleans in the midst of a raging yellow fever epidemic.
"Spoiler alert: It does not go well for them," Caulfield joked, noting that while only two deaths occur during the play — one adult, and one of the orphans — the orphans' ultimate fate is not the stuff of which happy endings are made.
For the past month and a half, the cast of 15 has been hard at work preparing for Subsection 8AA North competition, which gets underway this Thursday, Jan. 24 at Moorhead High School.
"We'll be performing at 4:45 p.m.," Caulfield said, adding that she feels confident they will be ready, as rehearsals have been going well thus far.
"This is a fun crew," she added. "They're kind of goofy, but in a good way."
Those who would like to see the fruits of the cast's labor, and are unable to attend Thursday's competition, can get a little sneak peek at a public performance set for this Tuesday, Jan. 22 at the Detroit Lakes Middle School's George Simson Auditorium. Curtain time is 7 p.m., and tickets are just $2 each.
If Detroit Lakes advances to section competition, they will be heading to Becker on Thursday, Jan. 31 in an attempt to secure a berth at the State One-Act Play Festival, set for Thursday and Friday, Feb. 7-8 at O'Shaughnessy Auditorium, located on the campus of St. Catherine University in St. Paul. Teams competing against Detroit Lakes at subsections include Brainerd, Fergus Falls, Moorhead, Little Falls and Alexandria, while the other subsection includes Becker, Foley, Rocori, Sartell-St. Stephen, Sauk Rapids-Rice and St. Cloud Tech.
'Lafayette No. 1' Cast
• Anna Landry — Piper Thorson
• Julien Poydras- Tom Felix
• Margaret Haughrey- Natalie Eidenschenk
• Yellow Jack- Kya Rosell
• Tourist (doubled role) — Natalie Eidenschenk
"The Forgotten" (Orphans):
• Lizzy Landry — Annika Gulseth
• Harris Carrol- Jacob Bergstrom
• Hannah Meyers- Hannah Hagen
• Moab (William Limon) — Victor Jimenez
• Maggie McCarthy- Taylor Johnson
• Geo Jackson- Gretta Schulberg
• Peggy Hatcher- Kaitlyn Peterson
• Fink (Felix Zallesky)- Lily Sundby
• Marie Warner- Sammy Collins
• Margarette Warner- Violet Bierderman
• Catherine Blake- Maria Sauer