Art Beat: STM students fine tune their One Act Play for competition

Drama students at high schools all around the region are memorizing, blocking, working on their timing and getting ready to hit the stage hoping to earn high honors at this year's region and state competitions.

In this week's Art Beat,students at St. Thomas More teach us the art of the One Act play and just how much goes into making it to the State Stage.

In so many things in life the saying timing is everything really does come into play. When it comes to one act play competitions if the timing is off , the school's show is out.

These are the last few days for the students at St. Thomas More to make sure their show is ready for the judges.

Susan Oleson, Director of the STM One Act says "In the One Act competition we have 45 minutes and it's 45 minutes from the minute you set foot on stage until the entire stage is cleared, so in our 45 minutes we will put up our set, we will perform our show and we will pull our set. If you go over the 45 minutes your school is disqualified."

The state competition starts February 2nd in Aberdeen. In order to get to state, class A and B schools must first go through a regional competition.

In our region seven class A schools will compete in Belle Fourche next week, this year the category is comedy and the top two go on to state. St. Thomas More hopes they will make the trip to Aberdeen.

Whether on stage or behind the scenes, teamwork is essential.

Susan Oleson says "It shows the cast and the crew that you have to work together because our actors will have to help clear the set. It's not just the crew you don't get to have the set done and come on and perform. You actually are responsible for making sure that we make that time and that we put the whole show together. So we really function as a team."

In addition to what happens during the performance their teamwork extends to rehearsals and backstage set work as well.
Abby Julian, Junior says "That another think I love about One Acts is because the cast and crew work so closely together and like this past Monday, MLK Day, some of the actors came and we helped the crew paint the set and nail in some of the nails in doors and it's super fun because you get to see that as well and experience that."

Their play *Up the Rent* is about Irish potato farmers who are in danger of losing their homes. It's a comedy, so again, timing matters.

Whether these students make it to state or not they say being involved in drama and the One Act play process is rewarding.
They meet students from other schools, watch their plays and may even get a chance to visit with drama college professors.

The skills they learn will benefit them long after high school.

Dillon Johnson, Senior, says "It's taught me teamwork, it's taught me how to manage my time. It's taught me how to be organized, how to work with others. To make sure that everything gets done."

St. Thomas More will present Up the Rent to the public Monday at 7 pm in the middle school gym. The region competition takes place Wednesday in Belle Fourche.

Class Double A schools aren't required to go to a regional competition.
They join class A and B schools who qualify for state in Aberdeen starting on February 2nd.