Douglas High School brings Orwell classic to life

BOX ELDER, S.D.– For Douglas High School’s Artistic Director Kevin Plooster, adapting George Orwell’s “Animal Farm” has been a beast of a challenge, taking years to prepare. From trying to keep the dialogue and themes of the novel to even expanding on minor characters like Moses the Raven, who takes on an almost prophetic role according to Plooster, he is excited to see the students act it out and bring the pages to life.

The Cast Of Animal Farm“I think it brings the literary merit of what we are reading in classes to the stage,” he explains. “And the relevance to not only society but our curriculum.”

The story focuses on a group of farm animals seeking to free themselves from the drunk and abusive owner of the farm they work on. Fed up with the farmer’s carelessness, they eventually establish a working community of their own.

As the characters develop their new commune, they create their own series of commandments to follow.

“Four legs good, two legs bad,” the students portraying the characters recite.

As the animals prosper in their new environment, two pigs clash in their beliefs.

Napoleon, who seeks to bend the rules in his favor, is played by Senior Brayden Schuelke.

“Napoleon basically twists everything to make it the way he wants it to be versus the way it was originally supposed to be,” Schuelke explains. “And he has people that are able to manipulate the people around him to get what he wants.”

And Snowball, who is focused more on the welfare of everyone on the farm, is played by senior Riley Perry.

“Snowball is not perfect either,” Perry adds. “For example, during the show we take the milk from the cows and the apples and we use it for ourselves, for the pigs. But I try and follow more to the rules and make things more equal for all of the animals compared to Napoleon.”

“I think all of us in society would like to have a government that supports its citizens, wants their freedom and everything,” Plooster said of the show. “But how leaders that are out of control can use propaganda and manipulate so easily. And a lot of the times we tend to think that is old-school and can’t happen today, but yet we see it happening all the time. So, I really wanted to hold true to that.”

Performances begin May 5 and run through Saturday night. Admission is free, but reserved seating is available for 3$, with all proceeds going to the school’s Drama Club.

Reservations can be made by emailing Kevin Plooster at or by calling the school at 605-923-0030.

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