The Waseca Theater Department is preparing to take part in one of its most exciting challenges of the year: the one-act competition.
On Saturday, Jan. 21 and Sunday, Jan. 22, the Waseca Theater Department put on a free showing at the high school of “How to Succeed in High School Without Really Trying,” a one-act show that they’ll be bringing to the regional competition beginning Jan. 28. The competition is always one of the highlights of the year for the students who get to go, and the cast is looking forward to competing.
“I’ve been doing theater since my freshman year, and one-act is probably one of my favorite times in theater, because we get to compete with this one,” senior Sophie Farris, who plays one of the four agents in the show, said.
The show centers around four agents trying to prepare a group of eighth grade students for high school by putting on a number of humorous skits and scenarios, before warning about the downfalls of each suggestion. In total, the play only lasts about 20 minutes, making the rehearsal process a little different for the actors.
“I definitely go at it differently, but in some ways I enjoy it more. A longer show can stress me out, but with this show there’s a lot of thinking about the little details,” Senior Lindsey Kopetzki said. “I enjoy working on a shorter show with a smaller cast, where you can make better connections.”
While the shortened nature of one act plays can be a selling point for some, it can also bring a different sort of stress than a full-length show might not have.
“When I do something like a musical, there’s time to go into the green room and change and breathe a little. With this there’s a lot of quick changes and it’s really fast paced,” Senior Thyme Lang said.
Lang is one of the ensemble members in the show, who are all tasked with the goal of changing quickly between these skits and showing the new scenario to the audience.
Even with these unique stressors, it seemed everyone was ready the week before competition; especially director Anna Pollock, who was able to have a little bit of fun with the students during their rehearsal process.
“My favorite part is laughing with the students. They make every practice worthwhile. It’s so fun to watch them go from the rehearsal stage to performance ready. There’s a hesitancy that disappears and that’s where the theater magic happens,” Pollock said.
“I’m looking forward to being a part of this play, and the competitions,” Senior Ava Norland said. Norland plays one of the ensemble members, and this production is her first. “It’s been great. It’s so much fun learning everything, and the people are amazing.”
And while everyone was having fun, the students who have been to one act competition before were preparing for a redemption performance this year.
“Competition is a blast for the students, since they get to see other schools’ productions. However, we got third place last year (out of six), and unfortunately they only the top two acts move on to Sections. We’re hoping this year we can break the third place curse,” Pollock said. Part of that third place, Farris said, was due to nerves because of an unfortunate mistake that allowed Medford to advance to sectionals.
“It was a little hectic last year and we made a few mistakes. … For one, we didn’t realize the judges weren’t in the room when we started, so we had to restart which was a little nerve wracking,” Farris said. “This year we’re going to take Medford down.”
The nerves that might have been present the year before, for the most part, were gone from the students, who were looking forward to competing and connecting with the other students. However, their sights were still clear.
“I’m excited to see the other shows and the other actors. Last year, we all went out into the hallway and just sat down and ate lunch together. It was so much fun,” Kopetzki said. “I’m excited to make those connections.”
“But we’re also taking Medford down this year,” Farris said.