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Armour, Mount Vernon advance to state One-Act Play competition

For two area schools, plays focused on teenage issues earned the students a one-way ticket to the State One-Act Play Festival. On Thursday, for the second consecutive year, both Mount Vernon and Armour high schools competed and took the top place...

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Armour students Amy Brenner, far left, and Gracie Wold, far right, act during their play, entitled "Selfie," at the Region IV B One-Act Play Contest on Thursday at the Pepsi-Cola Theatre in Mitchell. (Sarah Barclay / Republic)

For two area schools, plays focused on teenage issues earned the students a one-way ticket to the State One-Act Play Festival.

On Thursday, for the second consecutive year, both Mount Vernon and Armour high schools competed and took the top places at the Region IV One-Act Play contest held at the Pepsi-Cola Theatre in Mitchell. The region also includes Colome, Corsica-Stickney, Ethan, Freeman Academy and Tripp-Delmont school districts. Ethan was named alternate for the state competition - meaning they would replace either school should they not be able to attend.

Both schools prepared for months for the competition. And for Armour, it was a sweet victory after having a “rough season.”

According to Armour’s One-Act Play coach Sam Ziegler, there was a lot of sickness going around, causing students to miss practices. But Ziegler said they persevered.

With 14 students, including cast and crew, Armour’s play was titled “Selfie.” It revolved around the issues teenagers face by trying to hide behind selfies and making life look better than it actually is, Ziegler said. Throughout the play, the students come to the realization that pictures are better taken with other people than on their own.

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Ziegler said this play is a little different than her students are used to, and before the state competition takes place on Feb. 2-4 at the Johnson Fine Arts Center in Aberdeen, they have some work to do.

“We are going to take critiques that judges gave us and throw those in,” Ziegler said. “The kids already have some ideas and are usually really hands-on.”

Mount Vernon’s play, titled “368 Friends,” revolved around the life of a shy, quiet girl named Laura, who did not have a social life. But online, she had 368 friends. Laura, portrayed by Whitney Kauk, continued to tell herself that these online friends was all she needed.

She begins posting about depression, and many go unanswered. She then announces to her 368 friends that she plans to kill herself and waits to see if any of them will try to stop her.

There were three judges at the region One-Act Play competition this year, according Gwen Ortman, the chairperson for Region IV. They included Dan Miller, Madison Miller and Ian Hyde, all with connections to the Dakota Wesleyan University theater department.

Ortman said each group must put on its performance within 45 minutes, this includes setting up and tearing down any props used. But for the judges, the critiques were solely based on the acting, and not the staging, costumes or props used.

With the state competition only a week away, Ziegler said she and her students will be working hard to better themselves, but in the end, that’s not what is most important, she said.  

“Just learning and watching them grow because really what it comes down to it, is ultimately they have fun and that’s all that matters,” Ziegler said.  

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Related Topics: THEATER
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