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Judy Spooner viewpoint: One-act cast adds trophy to Park High School display case

It's an impressive record and when the competition got tougher in a new section, the Park High School Drama Department actors stepped it up to give a starred performance this year.

Park won the Section 3AA One-Act Play competition against Eagan two weeks ago, earning them a spot in the eight-section state tournament.

But unlike other state tournaments in sports, there is no first or second place. The best performances get "starred" and Park was one of four schools who were awarded that honor on Thursday, Feb. 7.

The play is an adaptation of Jean Anouih's "Antigone," and one of the oldest Greek plays. I studied it when I was in college in 1972 so I'm very familiar with the play.

I usually take pictures of the play after the cast gets costumes. While I'm taking pictures, I get my own personal performance. This year, it sent shivers up my spine and I knew it was headed for state.

The process is best described by Taylor Diedrich, who played one of the messengers. The competition in subsection and section competition is intense, she said. But when you get to state, everyone is very helpful and nice.

Lexi Kleinschmidt played Antigone, the niece of King Creon, portrayed by Justin Hiemstra. Both were wonderful but everyone else was, too. That's what it takes to get to state.

It was an amazing experience, Lexi said. Going to state was a dream come true and it's an honor to earn a starred performance. It was a very strenuous experience, but fun, and humbling, she said.

The memory will stick for the rest of her life, she said, something echoed by all the participants.

"We really are Minnesota nice," Haley Klapak said of the great people she met at state. Many of the eight plays at state were either based on true stories or hard topics such as cancer and AIDS, and Haley said she was very moved by the performances.

Kadie Moberg told me that the cast became a family during the process, something the other actors also talked about. She also thanked directors Steve Estenson and Denise Atkinson, who are referred to by the actors as "A and E." They are wonderful directors and amazing people, she said.

This is the 19th year for Estenson and Arkinson to cast and direct a play for One-Act, which is run by the Minnesota State High School League.

Winning plays must be compact and precise. Every line and every movement are important and the play's message has to be one that students can learn from.

A and E's record is amazing. In nine appearances, their plays "starred" in eight of them. This year makes it nine.

I hope they'll commit to making it at least an even 20 years by coming back next year.

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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