By Megan Roth
For the third year in a row Maple Creek Composite School is preparing to host the Regional One Act Festival April 8-9.
MCCS is putting on two shows during the festival, normally the school only submits one to the festival.
The reasoning behind performing more shows is simple, they needed to have a certain number of shows to be able to host the competition.
To be able to host a competition there must be at least five shows performed. Normally Swift Current Composite brings three shows to the competition. This year however, they are only bringing two.
“It was either we do another show or have to go somewhere else to perform and compete,” said co-director Jennifer Eiserman.
All the plays being performed must be a one act, that means they must have a run time of no more than 60 minutes. For every minute over 60 the adjudicators, one for front of the house, or acting, and one for the back stage, will dock a lot of points.
The adjudicators do more than just judge the performance, they also use it as a teaching experience. Following the performances the adjudicators will give tips on how the students can improve their production.
The period of instruction, usually about an hour, will often have the students go over points in the show the adjudicators saw needed improvement and show them another way of approaching scenes.
“We hope the students learn to be committed and dedicated. Learn how to work as a team and become responsible,” said Eiserman.
To help teach these key components to the students both the directors, Corrie Scott and Eiserman, express how important each person is to the play.
Because they are running two productions in competition this year they are teaching the students that the size of their part does not matter, everyone is crucial to the play.
“We have a very large cast and not everyone has a huge part, or even really a speaking part. But everyone has a part to play,” Eiserman said.
Whether or not the student is on stage is not how a person’s importance is decided. Every student has something to be done while the show is going on.
They may have to get the actors ready for the next scene, set the next scene, or gather props and costumes for an upcoming scene.
Backstage is a hive of activity that is pretty constant for the duration of the show.
In the second show they are performing, the cast is smaller but they still have as many students involved as possible. Many of these students are working behind the scenes to make the show possible.
“We expect a high degree of independence from these kids. They are expected to have their lines learned by a certain day. They are in charge of certain aspects of their costumes as well,” said Eiserman.
There have been some difficulties faced getting to this point, and not just getting the students to work back stage.
“Everyone wants to act, they want to be seen on stage,” said Eiserman.
In fact they had more students audition for the plays then they have in recent years, according to Scott.
The biggest problem they have faced so far has been getting all the kids together for rehearsal at the same time.
“Kids are so busy these days that it is hard to get them to all show up at once for a rehearsal,” said Eiserman.
The larger show is a comedy in a similar style to the dinner theatre show they put on in December.
The show, “The Ten Best/Worst Things About High School,” by M.G. Davidson, is told by two narrators, one who loves everything about high school and the other who doesn’t.
The second show, “Mirrors” by John O’Brien, is a drama about Fred who is “tormented by his past and has trouble distinguishing between reality and fantasy.”
“This is about the kids and is meant to showcase their talents, and we have some very talented kids,” said Scott.
Both Eiserman and Scott hope that those who support the high school sports teams will come out to the shows and support those in drama as well.
The one act festival is from April 8-9. Entry to the shows is $5 per day. That means for $10 you can see five quality plays over two days.
Doors open at 6:45 p.m. on April 8 and at 12:45 on April 9.
If you can’t make it to the festival, on April 6 they are holding a public performance of both plays. Entry to this show, a “public dress rehearsal,” is by donation. The shows start at 7 p.m.
To fundraise for the shows the drama club is hosting a chicken wing night the Rockin’ Horse on March 19. Tickets are still available and can be purchased at the door.