MENNO ONE-ACT GOING TO STATE
JEREMY WALTNER – PUBLISHER
The “Pandemic” lives on.
Less than a week after giving the home performance of their original one-act play recalling the early months of the cornavirus pandemic, Menno students advanced to the State One-Act Festival by placing second in the Region 1B competition last week Wednesday, Jan. 27. The 35-minute play will be presented by a cast of 17 and a crew of three as part of the state competition in Brookings Saturday, Feb. 6.
“Pandemic” — written last year by students Kyle Kyriss, Kaelea McCoy and Laura Fischer and Play Productions teacher Betsy Knodel — will be one of 16 Class B performances at state and is set to be staged at 11:45 a.m. There will be no live audience, but the two-day festival will be streamed by South Dakota Public Broadcasting.
The play is directed by Knodel and Martin Sieverding.
In an article posted on the Menno Public School website last week, Knodel reflected on the region competition and the opportunity to compete at state.
Many of the cast enjoyed the experience as they reflected on the day, she wrote.
“I started to feel emotional thinking about not being able to comfort someone while dying,” said Julia Buechler. “Since I have a part that talks about a person who couldn’t be with their relative during COVID-19 when they died.”
For newcomer, Chandler Dant, the day became philosophical.
“When it comes to performing arts or anything in life, what you reap is what you sow along with your attitude that waters the seed.” The attitude of the cast and crew is positive as they prepare for the next performance at state.
While there were a few technical difficulties at region, the team pulled together and gave the best performance they could to an empty theater.
“It wasn’t our best performance that night,” Hayden McNinch commented, “but we made it through and made it to state.”
During critique, the students were given feedback from the three judges Dennis Chandler, Matt Nesmith and Julie Schutte. Students were also able to answer questions from the judges and explain the play and their characters.
“It is my favorite part of the day,” said Knodel. “The judges get to explain what they liked or didn’t like and how they would change it. However, it is the interaction with the cast and crew that is most beneficial.”
Looking forward to state, Layne Schmidt said, “It was amazing. I was able to be a part of a cast that made it to state. I’m excited to see what a state festival is like.”
Outstanding performance medals were given to Kyle Kyriss, Carly Herrboldt, Brady Fergen and Kaelea McCoy.
“It was definitely unexpected but it’s great knowing that all of our hard work paid off,” replied Kaelea when thinking about receiving an outstanding performance medal.
Four more students received one vote for outstanding performance: Salome Carr, Caden Fischer, Bridget Vaith and Chandler Dant.