After directing 51 plays and musicals, the spring play marks director Mel Olson's last production at Mitchell High School.
"There's a time to every season, and it's my time to leave the stage, figuratively and literally, to others both in the classroom and directing plays and musicals," said Olson.
The spring play, titled "The Day the Internet Died," is comprised of a series of humorous vignettes that portray the story of how a town copes, or in many ways doesn't cope, with the loss of the internet for a week. Performances will be held at the Mitchell Performing Arts Center at 7 p.m. Thursday and Friday night this week.
With only 25 students in the cast, it was important to have flexibility with the storyline and characters.
"It is a series of vignettes that could be cut individually if there weren't enough kids who tried out to participate in the play," Olson said. "There were also a number of characters listed as 'male' in the play synopsis that could be played by females if necessary. I could have used more young men in the cast but they just didn't come out, so I was able to change the parts to female. We didn't end up cutting anything."
Practices have spanned over the last month, held every day after school. The play runs about 40 minutes and has various scenes, many with only a few characters in them. For this reason, cast members did not have to attend every practice early on, only when their scenes were scheduled.
"It was definitely nice to have some days off," junior Moriah Plastow said. "Practices haven't been too long, so it hasn't been a major time commitment. It's been just enough time to get to know some of my castmates better and grow closer with a number of friends as well."
Though practices have been going well according to both Olson and the cast, many conflicts arose along the way. Individually, the play had to combat illness, work, and other activities the cast members participate in. However, sharing the space of the PAC proved the biggest obstacle.
"We weren't allowed to use the PAC for practice until the week of April 9," said Olson. "I've had to fight off a couple of other school activities that wanted to use the PAC the night of dress rehearsal and the day of the play."
Despite the complications, the cast and crew of "The Day the Internet Died" are eager to share with the public what they have worked so hard on. The play is not only comical and heartwarming, but holds a great deal of sentimentality as Olson's last production.
"I hope to help him end on a high note. I have put in work and effort to make this show wonderful, as did everyone else," Plastow said. "I want Mr. Olson to know that we will all miss him next year. I know he has positively influenced me under his direction. He has made an impact over the years, to all the kids who have been a part of his productions."