CHS Drama spring play runs Friday through Sunday at 7:30 p.m. each evening.
Recently, I had the opportunity to attend a dress rehearsal for the upcoming Crookston High School Drama Department's production of "Our Town," a play written by Thornton Wilder that depicts life in small-town America during the early years of the 20th Century.
The play has some aspects one would not normally expect to see. A stage manager, played by Keaton Limper, narrates the story, addressing both the live audience and characters who live in the fictional town of Grover's Corners, New Hampshire. Also, the play is performed using minimal props. Meals are prepared, books are carried and milk bottles are delivered using pantomime actions. Kudos to the student actors for learning to interact with non-existant objects.
In Act One, called "Daily Life", the audiences learns about the goings on in the town and are introduced to pillars of the community as well as ordinary folk who make the town what it is. As Limper's character says, "In our town, we like to know the facts about everybody." Sound familiar?
Act Two, named "Love and Marriage", brings about life changes for key characters Emily Webb, played by Kari Gillette, and George Gibbs, played by Justin Burgoz. Emily and George complete high school and prepare to marry, quickly learning that adult life may be more challenging than they thought. Look for a case of cold feet from both the bride and groom.
The final act of the play, called "Death and Eternity" takes the audience to a place of somber reflection as it is pointed out that a number of townspeople have passed away in the nine year timeframe since the end of act two. A visit to the town cemetery provides a look into the lives lost and what eternity has brought to those who have passed on. The theme of this act, and perhaps the entire play, is that life should be valued, "every, every minute."
I was impressed with the difficult topics the CHS Drama students covered with ease and found myself wondering how they could possibly understand, at their tender age, what challenges the future will hold for them, let alone convincingly act out emotions and scenarios they have yet to experience. Beyond the talent of the actors, credit must be given to directors Beth Carlson and Joyce Johnson for walking cast members through the unexpected trials of life experienced by the characters in the play.
I recommend attending a performance of "Our Town" this weekend at the Crookston High School auditorium not only to support the arts in our community, but for a truly entertaining experience. Shows are Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 7:30 p.m., with tickets available from cast members, at Montague's Flower Shop, or at the door.
Cast and crew members include: Rosa Argueta, Justin Burgoz, Daphne Butler, Lucas Butler, Beth Carlson, Madison Crane, Mallory Cuno, Emma Dufault, Dyllun Frazee, Jonny Frazee, Mariah Frisk, Kari Gillette, Torrie Greer, Toni Grove, Mercades Haglund, Naomi Henry, Joyce Johnson, Mickayla Johnson, Cody Klamm, McKaylee Klamm, Keaton Limper, Zach Lutz, Bethany Newquist, Alina Noyes, Cyrina Ostgaard, Gabi Ostgaard, Allison Reinhart, Heidi Shol, Averi B. Thompson and Brianna Visness.