Art Beat: Sturgis High School drama students prepare for State One Acts

After the final bell rings, drama students all across South Dakota head to their auditoriums and take the stage, putting the final touches on their play in preparation for this year's State One Acts Competition.

In this week's Art Beat we caught up with Sturgis High School students who are rehearsing and getting ready to perform for their community before facing the judges next week.

The minute they take the stage the clock starts, at the State One Acts Play competition each school gets just 45 minutes, to set up, perform and strike the set.

In the audience, along with the judges, there will be drama students from across the state, and it's those fellow students who make this experience worth all the hard work.

Tyler Murphy, Director, Nora's Lost, says, "Theatre kids are theatre kids so they have, there's a tremendous amount of personality and so because of that you get an entire auditorium full of these kids and it's great because you have kids who just want to have fun. They're not worried about who you are, they aren't worried about any social context or anything like that, they're not really judgmental because they're kids who, they perform on stage, they kind of perform in their lives."

Tayhgen McGreth, Nora, says " I like the adrenaline rush it gives you. There's a lot more people and the crowd gives you more feedback so you can play off them more ."

Sturgis High School will be performing Nora's Lost, the story of an old woman who suffers from dementia. Nora wonders into the woods and experiences memories from her life ... portrayed by actors behind a screen.

The emotional and challenging story has these students thinking about their own families.

Tayhgen says "It has opened up my eyes to the diseases. My Grandmother had dementia, but having to play it and portray these diseases in the show is a lot more difficult."

The director, along with his students hope the community and the judges are moved by their production and gain an understanding of the very real subject.

Tyler says "Our goal with this show is to really get people to think about how they handle people with dementia or how they handle elderly people and so it is our hope is that we really tug on the heart strings of our audience and we know if we're succeeding if there's not a single dry eye out there."

This year's student director, senior Abbie Barker put acting aside for this show and took on the role of assistant director, a position she's learning from.Abbie Barker, Assistant Director, says "It's a lot more stressful for me because instead of having the power to learn your lines, you have to rely on your actors to learn their lines and so it can be a little frustrating, but it's alright. "

Sturgis is scheduled to perform next Friday afternoon and then the entire cast immediately goes into a room and is critiqued by the judges a process their director believes is a valuable life experience.

Tyler says "The life skill is you did something wrong, this is how we think you could have done it better and it's ok for people to tell you that. You know if you go into the work force, you're going to have all sorts of criticism and whether it's coming from your boss or the industry or whatever, whenever you encounter any criticism it doesn't define you as a person and I want my students to understand that that's ok and you can build from that and that's the life skill that I hope they grab from this show or from this experience really. "

This teacher, now, also a One Acts director, says his students poured their hearts out with this show and he says when the school bell rings he looks forward to his additional job.

Tyler says "I work with a really great and talented group of kids.

I appreciate having that ability as a teacher, to work with students and then to extend it beyond the day with my theatre kids.

I have no fear in what the future looks like because of them, so ."

Along with Sturgis, several other local high schools will be competing in the State One Act Competition, slated for February 1st through the 3rd at Brandon Valley High School.