Northwestern takes All-State acting honors
The Northwestern High School one-act cast and crew returned to Maple with applause ringing in their ears. Students took All-State for their presentation of "Pride and Prejudice" at the Wisconsin High School Theatre Festival one-act play competiti...
The Northwestern High School one-act cast and crew returned to Maple with applause ringing in their ears.
Students took All-State for their presentation of "Pride and Prejudice" at the Wisconsin High School Theatre Festival one-act play competition Nov. 17 at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. The Jane Austen romance is set in 19th century England, where a mother seeks to find husbands for her five daughters.
"They just keep their poise. They stay focused ... and pulled off a great performance," said director Pat Luostari.
Participants had a large audience of about 400 peers for their performance at the competition. They received a huge round of applause at the end, she said.
Senior Alicia Homan won an individual acting award for her portrayal of Elizabeth Bennet. This is the second year she's received the award.
It's rare for an individual to receive the award two years in a row, Luostari said.
Performing as Bennet was difficult. The character has a lot of different feelings to portray, Homan said.
"I thought it was going to be easy, but it turned out to be not so easy," she said. "She's complex. It was a challenge doing that."
Practices started the first week of school. Students worked four nights a week and gave public performances the week leading up to the state competition, Luostari said.
The public performances gave students a chance to practice before an audience. Before the curtains opened, they already had completed much hard work, she said.
They had to learn to walk, bow, sit and articulate words as people did early in the 19th century. They had to learn about life during the Victorian era by researching the culture of the day in books and magazines and watching period plays and movies.
Set designers had to study the interior design and apparel of the time to build the set and make the costumes correctly. Members of the community also helped gather the period pieces and costumes.
"They had to be fine ladies and gentlemen, which is not always an easy thing for today's kids," Luostari said.
People of that time were more proper in their mannerisms and posture than people are today, Homan said.
"We got used to it, but it took awhile because we're so used to slumping," she said.
The cast and crew advanced through three levels of competition before qualifying for the state festival. In addition to competition, the festival includes workshops and full length performances. Most NHS cast members went to a workshop on safe Shakespearian sword fight, Homan said.
When they returned to Maple, they choreographed one. "It was really fun," she said.
The underclassman want to put on "The Princess Bride" or another production with fencing to make use of the skills they learned. NHS students only had time for one workshop, but it was fun, she said.
"What I really enjoyed about it is we're a family onstage and offstage," she said.
NHS's All-State showing follows a successful presentation last year when the cast and crew took top honors at the festival with a Critic's Choice award.
The cast and crew were excited to repeat their success, Homan said.
"A lot of people in the cast were in the cast last year," she said. "We were just happy to do it again."
Now that state competition is behind them, Northwestern High School drama students are already planning for their next play. "Fiddler on the Roof" is scheduled for the spring musical. Directors are holding auditions for the play before winter break with practices starting in January.
Anna Kurth covers education. Call her at (715) 395-5019 or e-mail email@example.com .