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Park actors compete in 'Flaming Idiots'

"Flaming Idiots" actors with the sign for Phil's Restaurant are ready for section final competition. In the back row (from left) are Megan Lynch, Dorsey Sprouls, Ed Conlin, Sam Salwasser and Michael Soto. In the middle with the stuffed body is Thomas Lankow. In the front row (from left) are Yam Lakhran, Jack McMahon and Erica Ashleson. (Bulletin photo by Judy Spooner)

Sam Salwasser, who plays Eugene in "Flaming Idiots," said rehearsing for one-act play competition is unlike his experience in Park High School plays and musicals.

With a short time period and the pressure to keep the production under 30 minutes, the heat is on, he said. Actors have only two weeks to memorize their lines.

"The experience is nothing like you can get anywhere else," he said. "It's as close as you can get to professional acting."

Park will take "Flaming Idiots," a farce, into section finals on Wednesday, Feb. 3, after winning in sub-sections last week.

Park will perform along with Eagan High School at Park to see which school will win the 1A region title.

One-act competition is governed by the Minnesota State High School League.

Dorsey Sprouls, who plays Louie, said one-act is a lot more intense than other plays. You work hard, he said, and improve as an actor.

One-act brings Steve Estenson and Denise Atkinson back to Park to direct the production. Both retired from teaching and theater productions last year. Atkinson is teaching part-time.

Both have a good record in one-act, placing in sections and regions in all years of competition except two since 1990.

Katie Schwen and Navita Lakhram are student directors.

The play, by Tom Rooney, and adapted for one-act, is about two regular guys going into the restaurant business. Without any experience, neither realizes they have been financed by a shady mob character.

When the restaurant is failing, the two dream up a scheme to get some attention, but nothing goes as planned and a dead body ends up being taken in and out of a walk-in freezer while the plot collapses around Phil, Carl, a cook, busboy and waiter.

Judy Spooner
Judy Spooner is the longest-serving staff writer at the South Washington County Bulletin. Spooner, who covers education and features in addition to writing a weekly column, has been with the newspaper for over 30 years.
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