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Saturday, February 6, 2010

State One-Act Play Festival: Love from Stage and Seats

Brandon Valley High School presents 'Almost, Maine' by John Cariani at the South Dakota State One-Act Play Festival, Feb. 5, 2010Our hosts, the Brandon Valley HS Theatre Company, look for love under the Northern lights in Almost, Maine by John Cariani.
Photo Credit: SDPB
I'm in Brandon this weekend, judging the State High School One-Act Play Festival. Aside from at home with my loves, there's no place I'd rather be this weekend.

I've judged twelve Class AA shows so far, four to go today. I've also managed to catch some Class B comedy, including a peppy performance from the Montrose cast and a quirky, crisp, absurdist show from Philip. I'd catch Anne Elisa Hanson Brown's first Madison one-act this noon, but we Class AA judges give critiques while Class A shows happen (alas!).

I've participated in ten State One-Act Festivals: three as an actor under James "Doc" Miller, one as his tech assistant, and five as director at Montrose. My first turn at the State One-Act judges' table is a thrill, a joy, and an honor.

I'm spending the weekend with hundreds of kids performing 45 shows in arguably South Dakota's finest performing arts facility. Some shows are the best theater you will ever see in South Dakota. Some shows are just a bunch of jittery kids doing the best they can with what they have and trying not to fall off the edge of the stage. Some are both. All are treasures.

The State One-Act Festival surrounds us with gifts and giving. The gifts are not just inside the students, the talents and the skills hard-won through practice, practice, practice. The gifts are the shows, the love the performers give to their audience. The gifts are the attention, the witness the kids give as an audience to their peers on the stage. The gift is their desire to come to Brandon this snowy weekend for no nobler purpose (and maybe there is no nobler purpose) than to create art.

Theater is love. Come see some today.

1 comment:

  1. in the last one you did, you judged my youngest daughter - saw your name on the program

    --Lee Schoenbeck


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