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LHS Drama students prepare for One Act competition - Public performance set for Jan. 15; Regions scheduled for Jan. 23

Students at Lennox High School are gearing up for the One Act Play competition.

Director, Christi Sayler, said the chosen play for this year “Pandora’s Backpack” by Laura Bryant, is a tale that unfolds around a mysterious backpack left on a park bench in an era of heightened suspicion. According to the author, “the intent is to illuminate how one misplaced object can bring out the best—and the worst—in us.”

“I chose this piece for a couple of reasons.  First, I was looking for a show that was more of an ensemble effort rather than a show with one or two main characters,” said Sayler. “I also wanted to find a show where we could highlight all the different strengths of the kids in the drama program. I feel like this show meets both those criteria.”

This year’s cast includes a mixture of seasoned actors and newcomers that include the following students: Maggie who is being played by Miriam Welch; Beth by Lilly Sanchez; Pete by Madix Havard; Eddie by Isaiah Sayler; Casey by Lizzy Rieck; Chris by Maddigan Van Sickle; Mitch by Zander Hazuka; Ryan by Noah Sayler; Liz by Kathryn Loewe; Annie by Ariana Poppens; Joe by Riley Nelson; Katie by Liz Hanisch; and Woman by Alek Kilene. The understudies and extra stage crew include Sophie Sanchez and Skyler Plucker with Karson Iken also lending a hand on the crew and Emersen Lee serving as the Stage Manager. 

One notable challenge for this production is the blending of those experienced actors with newcomers to the program.  

“I think that is always a challenge as we learn how to work together and trust one another,” said Sayler. “We spend the first 15-20 minutes of every rehearsal doing warm up games and activities to work on building up our community so that when we are on stage the chemistry works to make the show successful.”

When it comes to auditions, Sayler described the process as fairly straightforward, with actors doing cold reads of the script to gauge their ability to quickly embody the characters and infuse emotion into their performances.

“I also listened for annunciation, dictation, and volume,” said Sayler. 

In terms of the rehearsal schedule, Sayler shared, “This show, unlike the previous show, only requires about an hour or rehearsal a day which has been nice and because it is a small cast, we are able to try our best to work around everyone’s conflicts in order maximize our time together.  We have been able to have a lot of rehearsals right after school with just a few in the evenings. I am very happy with how quickly the actors have learned their lines and how they are now working towards finding expression and emotions in their characters.”

The students will continue to rehearse in preparation for Region Competition. 

“Our goal at Regions is to give a good performance; to entertain the crowd or in some cases have the audience leave thinking about what they just saw and how it applies to life,” said Sayler. “If we do that, then the rest is out of our hands.  Our Region is TOUGH.  We have some of the most talented schools in our region.  In the last two years, four different teams have qualified for state out of a region with seven teams.  So the most we can do is just give our best performance.”

Regions will be held in Canton on Jan. 23 at 9 a.m. The State One-Act Play Festival is scheduled for February 1-3, 2023, at Brandon Valley School in Brandon.

The public will have the opportunity to catch a glimpse of the LHS students’ One Act Play performance on Monday, Jan. 15 at 7 p.m. in the LHS Cafetorium. A free-will donation will be taken at the door. 

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