One-Act Festival to open at RC Central High School
RAPID CITY, S.D. – For the first time this year, the state’s largest theatre event will be held West River at Rapid City Central High School.
Over a thousand high school students will perform at the One-Act Play Festival, including young thespians from Central and Stevens. In a fast-paced environment like a one-act play, communication is key and mistakes can be critical. Once inside and backstage, students will have 45 minutes for their performances which include setting it up, the actual play and then taking it down.
Any schools that exceed the time limit will be automatically disqualified.
Both Central and Stevens have their own entries in the festival, with each premiering on their home turf starting Monday.
Rapid City Central, the host school, has adapted an autobiography by Air Force veteran and former congressional candidate MJ Hegar for the stage. “Shoot Like a Girl” tells the story of her Air Force career along with the trials and discrimination she faced as a woman serving abroad.
“I think a lot of people understand, even if they’ve never been in the military or never been discriminated against, particularly, can understand MJ’s plights,” student and Assistant Director of the show, Blake Bush said. “and can understand the message of the show without having to necessarily experience it themselves.
The cast and crew have been in talks with Hegar for their adaptation, which also features original content made by the cast.
“What they do is, the actors, because it is an original play they have to write their own script. They bounce ideas off and they make their own music,” student and Stage Manager Monica explained. “And so, it’s really hard work. And it’s heavy, so they have their conversations about it and what needs to be in there and what doesn’t need to be in there.”
Stevens took a trip down a dark and twisted rabbit hole with their production, “Jabberwock Asylum.” It’s an original piece inspired by Lewis Carroll’s book “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.” The story takes place in a Victorian asylum where an adult Alice has been committed for still talking about Wonderland and is constantly haunted by her memories through the Cheshire Cat.
“A lot of it is tying into the fact that you don’t really, from an audience perspective, know if Alice really is crazy or if she did really experience it. And so you kind of go along the journey with her,” Drama Director for Stevens High School Stephen Farruggia explained. “But for me and the adaptation, for the story of “Jabberwock Asylum,” it was taken from the premise of it is Wonderland, it’s just on the other side of a looking glass.”
The play features a cast of characters inspired by figures from Carroll’s works and history with their unpredictability on full display in the show.
“While Alice In Wonderland is a very fantastical story, there is some sort of uneasy undertones under it. Because these people in the story seem fun and fantastical, but there’s no telling what they’ll do,” student and actor Tae Swanson said. “And I feel like this is sort of the opposite side of the coin. They will do those things.”
Over 40 schools will be presenting their shows to a panel of judges at the school. Shows are viable for winning awards based on acting, staging, ensembles and more which is something Central alumnus and Artistic Director Justin Speck would never have imagined come to the campus, but is ready for.
“Now, with our new performing arts building that was built a decade ago, we have figured out a way to make the festival work on this side of the state and we can’t wait to roll out the red carpet for the other 44 schools,” Speck said.
For a full lineup of the 45 schools performing, click here.