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Paynesville Press - January 26, 2005

PAHS one-act play to hold festival on Thursday

By Michael Jacobson

PAHS's one-act play will give a free public performance and will compete in subsections this week.

Nine PAHS students are participating in one-act play this year, and they have been practicing "The Happy Journey" by Thornton Wilder since January.

The PAHS acting troupe will stage "The Happy Journey" at a festival on Thursday evening in the school auditorium at 7 p.m. The one-act play from New London-Spicer High School is also scheduled to perform at this free event. A freewill donation for tsunami relief will be taken.

On Saturday, PAHS will compete in subsections at Sauk Centre. This competition starts at 9 a.m. with Paynesville scheduled for 10:50 a.m.

This is the third year that a revived one-act play has been organized at PAHS. Two years ago, PAHS took second at subsections and advanced to the section meet. Last year, PAHS hosted the subsection competition and tied for fourth out of eight teams. Prior to that, competitive one-act play had not been staged at PAHS since the 1980s.

play This year, "The Happy Journey" is a play within a play. More accurately, the play is about a play rehearsal with six parts, including the narrator/stage manager.

Ma Kirby (Emily Mehr) visits with her daughter Beulah (Lindsey Pelton) during a closing scene of "The Happy Journey".

The plot of the play is a driving trip in New Jersey, sometime in the 1940s, with the Kirby family. The simple set includes four folding chairs to represent the car and a cot to represent a house.

One-act plays are judged solely on acting ability, not the sets or costumes, said director Joan Nevitt. "The Happy Journey," she added, has the flavor of "Our Town," a more famous play by Wilder.

It was actually written as a one-act play by Wilder, which is somewhat unusual, continued Nevitt. Full-length plays were always more popular than one-act plays, but one-act plays did have a niche to fill time to allow actors to get from one theater to another in New York City, according to Nevitt.

"The Happy Journey" lasts about 25 minutes, well under the 35-minute time limit for one-act play competition.

The play has six speaking parts - Stage Manager (junior Lauren Vaske); Ma Kirby (junior Emily Mehr); Pa Kirby (junior Shawn Reinke); Caroline Kirby (junior Caitlyn Lien); Arthur Kirby (senior Troy Gerding); and Beulah (Lindsey Pelton) - and three crew members sophomore Erica Geurts (sound and lighting and student director), senior Stacy Lahr (props), and junior Katie Schlick (props).

"This is a very seasoned group of kids," said Nevitt. "They're doing a great job."

Thursday, Jan. 27
On Thursday, Jan. 27, PAHS will host a one-act play festival at 7 p.m. in the high school auditorium. Nine PAHS students will perform 'The Happy Journey' by Thornton Wilder and the one-act play from New London-Spicer High School will also perform. Admission is free, but a freewill donation for tsunami relief will be taken.

Saturday, Jan. 29
On Saturday, Jan. 29, PAHS will compete in subsection one-act play at Sauk Centre. Albany, Holdingford, Paynesville, and Sauk Centre are scheduled to compete in this subsection, which starts at 9 a.m. PAHS's play is scheduled to be staged at 10:50 a.m.

Cast of Characters
The Happy Journey
Stage Manager: Lauren Vaske
Ma Kirby: Emily Mehr
Pa Kirby: Shawn Reinke
Caroline: Caitlyn Lien
Arthur: Troy Gerding
Beulah: Lindsey Pelton
Director: Joan Nevitt
Lights and Sound/Student Director: Erica Geurts
Props: Stacy Lahr and Katie Schlick

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