(St. Paul, MN) A panel of judges, after watching, listening, and then individually critiquing eight Class AA dramatic productions, rated three of them “starred performances” on Friday, February 8, during the 2019 State One Act Play Festival sponsored by the Minnesota State High School League. The two-day festival was conducted at O’Shaughnessy Auditorium on the St. Catherine University campus in St. Paul.
The top eight Class AA productions from across the state took the stage throughout the day. The three schools whose performances were cited for “starred performances” were (in order of performance): Alexandria Area for Antigone and Ismene, Eagan for She Kills Monsters and Minnetonka for Pygmalion. The other participating were schools were Cambridge-Isanti, Academy of Holy Angels of Richfield, Hill-Murray of Maplewood, St. Michael-Albertville, and Apple Valley.
Representing Section 8, Alexandria Area’s “starred performance” of Antigone and Ismene by Dorian Taft was directed by Jessica Chipman. Alexandria Area High School, which was making its 11th appearance, earned its fourth “starred” rating. Based on Sophocles' Antigone, Antigone and Ismene follows the relationship between two sisters, exploring what love-in-action looks like when honor and family are at stake. Cast members were Sydney Christenson, Isabella Greathouse, Aubrey Kosters, Nick Nelson, Regan Peterson, Noah Capouch, Joslyn Swenson, Colin Barten, Adam Klepetka, and Sidney Trousil. Support was provided Georgia Snider, Jacob Tiegen, Ryla Johnson, Caitlin Erickson, Aubrey Minnerath, Grace Schmidt, Kendra Scott, Matt Adolphsen, Olivia Rice, and Conner Arndt. Alexandria Area earned its previous “starred” ratings in 1951, 2017, and 2018.
Representing Section 3, Eagan’s “starred performance” of She Kills Monsters by Qui Nguyen was directed by Nancy Owzarek and Jackson Cobb. She Kills Monsters is the story of Agnes Evans following the death of her younger teenage sister, Tilly. When Agnes finds Tilly's Dungeons & Dragons notebook, she stumbles into a journey of self-discovery and action-packed adventure in the imaginary world that was Tilly's refuge. Cast members were Isabelle Hopewell, Neha Nayak, Mara Currens, Graham Scott, Kai Wilson, Audrey Schwartz, Matt Anderson, Joey Galles, Evelyn Gore, Tessa Krogh, Fiona Gray, Lilly Alan, and Steve Xiaaj. Support personnel were Mary Dratz, Ava Lundquist, Jorge Mogollon, Tori Westenberg, Ella Janky, and Addie Stern. Eagan was making its 21st appearance and earned its 19th “starred” rating. The Wildcats earned previous “starred” ratings in 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2000, 2001, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2014.
Representing Section 2, Minnetonka’s “starred performance” of Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw was directed by Lauren Bartelt and Nathan Humanson. The school was making its 14th appearance and earned its 13th “starred” rating. Pygmalion is the story of two linguists, Professor Henry Higgins and Colonel Pickering, who make a bet to see if Professor Higgins can transform the life of flower girl Eliza Doolittle by helping her learn to speak proper English rather than her cockney dialect. Higgins believes he can transform Eliza into a duchess at ease in polite society. The one thing he overlooks is that his ‘creation’ has a mind of her own. Cast members were Maryn Reader, Gabby Jore, Nate Turcotte, Riley Means, Luke Henson, Shannon Chambers, Mike Kingstone, Laird Busselberg, Emma Tripp, Vera Shipley, Hannah Seeman, and Joe Harris. Support personnel were Nora Meeker, Dominic Bradburn, Jason Davenport, Jenna DeJong, Michele Helmer, Lucie Peltier, Ella Stefan, and Emily Schilke. Minnetonka earned its other previous “starred” ratings in 1969, 2003, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2016, 2017, and 2018.
The Minnesota State High School League State One Act Play Festival does not involve direct competition. Judges rate the plays according to specific criteria, including pace, blocking, costuming, and projection of the play’s meaning. Each production is limited to 10 minutes of stage preparation and 35 minutes of actual performance.
The judges consult after each production and then openly critique each in front of the cast, crew, and audience. “Starred performance” ratings are determined by private balloting of the judges. One school from each of eight sections in each class gets to perform at the state level. Three hundred and two programs participated in One Act Play this season, 206 in Class A and 96 in Class AA
Each cast and crew member involved with these three “starred performance” productions was also presented a Spotlight on the Arts Award of Excellence recognition pin. This is a fine arts recognition award created by Wells Fargo, the League’s premier sponsor, in cooperation with the League. The casts and crews were also awarded a handsome acrylic trophy incorporating the Spotlight on the Arts logo.