The Hemingford High School One-Act Team hosted an invite on Friday, Nov. 20 in the Hemingford School Gym. Crawford, Hay Springs, and Morrill were scheduled to compete in the competition; however, Morrill had to cancel due to COVID.
The Hemingford team was up first with their play titled ‘A Voice in the Dark: A Salem Story’, written by Elizabeth Downing. Hay Springs took to the stage and performed a play titled ‘The Next Big Thing’. Crawford closed out the day with their performance of a play titled The Cry of the Peacock.
“Both Morrill and Sioux County normally compete in this conference as well. Sioux County let us know a couple of weeks ago they would not be attending. Morrill emailed us this morning to tell us they would not be in attendance,” said One-Act Co-Director Michelle Kluver.
Following each of the plays the cast and crew all took to the stage to hear comments and thoughts from each of the three judges one by one. The judges for the competition were Jeanne Gentry from Hyannis, Sue Herdt from Gering, and R.J. Savely from Lodgepole.
COVID precautions were put into place. Teams were kept separate and masks were in use when that was not possible. Hemingford even wore masks during their performance that matched their costumes. This did not go unnoticed by the judges. Also following each performance Hemingford cleaned and sanitized the stage and wrestling room where the teams prepared.
“I was very pleased with our performance,” said Kluver. “The students have done a great job of listening to the critiques Tabi and I have for them and making the necessary changes. We have made masks mandatory at rehearsals and the students performed with them today as well. It was odd only performing for the judges instead of an entire audience. Usually all of the schools who are competing watch the entire competition.”
Co-Director Tabi Prochaska added, “I am very proud of the performance they had today. They have worked hard and it showed.”
“The judges' comments were very helpful and we will try to incorporate some of their ideas before we head to our next competition,” noted Kluver.
After the judges deliberated the results from the competition were in. The Hemingford One-Act Team placed 1st, Crawford 2nd, and Hay Springs 3rd.
Outstanding Acting Awards were given to Hemingford’s Emma Gomez for Best Actress and Hay Springs’ Jett Rasmussen for Best Actor.
Honorable Mentions were given to Kylie Mendiola, Alex Neefe, Danea Hanson, Rylie Wright, and Xander Robb from Hemingford: Hanna Wasserburger, Kylah Vogel, Kamden Victory, Cambrea Vogel (2020 Box Butte County Fair Queen) from Crawford: and Rylie Wolken, Sam Hindman, Kaden Langford, and Sadie Hanks from Hay Springs.
The Hemingford One-Act Team has been practicing this play since October 19th.
“The play is based on the Salem Witch Trials that took place in Salem, Massachusetts during the 1600´s,” said Kluver. “A teenage girl, Abigail Hobbs, who is portrayed by Danea Hanson, discovers that Thomas Putnam (portrayed by Alex Neefe), is trying to purchase various homesteads in the village and that he threatens the people who do not sell to him by accusing them of witchcraft. Abigail has to decide if she will remain silent as her mother (portrayed by Katelyn Varner) asks her to do or make the truth known and risk her family's fate.”
The costumes and set for the play are spectacular and perfect for the time period that the play is set in. The dresses, collars, and aprons for the six women in the village with speaking roles were all made by Kluver, Prochaska and Tabi’s mom, Irene Prochaska.
“Other women´s clothing for our ensemble was borrowed from Potter-Dix, who had done a play about the Salem Witch Trials a couple years ago,” said Kluver.
Irene Prochazka also made the masks for the majority of the cast members. Most of the ladies masks were made from the same fabric as their dresses were so they matched exactly.
“We spent a few Saturdays, Sundays, and a couple of week nights sewing. We set up our ‘costume shop’ in the high school library,” chuckled Kluver.
As for the set, that was Tabi’s idea.
“Her dad (Steve Prochazka) obtained the pallets for us and put them together,” Kluver noted. “He then constructed other set pieces to match the pallets.”
Judges noted that they liked that the pallets were natural wood and not painted to go with the time period.
Hemingford belongs to two conferences, Panhandle Conference and Western Trails Conference. The team traveled to Bridgeport on Tuesday, Nov. 24th to compete in the Western Trails Conference Play Production Competition.
Hemingford will be hosting the C2-6 District Play Production Competition on December 1. There were seven schools in the district, but three schools informed them that they will not be attending. Hemingford will be competing against Amherst, Maxwell, and Sutherland.