Members of the Mabel-Canton one-act play are ready to perform “The Hitch-Hiker,” a radio play, for their upcoming contest and public performance. From left are cast members Laura Vettleson Trutza, Veronika Huhunska, Veda Gerleman, Deanna Phillips and Andrea Soloneau.
COURTESY OF SARA KROSHUS
Members of the Mabel-Canton one-act play are ready to perform “The Hitch-Hiker,” a radio play, for their upcoming contest and public performance. From left are cast members Laura Vettleson Trutza, Veronika Huhunska, Veda Gerleman, Deanna Phillips and Andrea Soloneau. COURTESY OF SARA KROSHUS

Mabel-Canton drama students will be presenting a public performance of their one-act play, “The Hitch-Hiker,” on Sunday, Jan. 28, at 7 p.m. in the high school gym.

The students will also compete at the sub-section tournament on Saturday, Jan. 27, at Rushford-Peterson. Admission to the sub-section tournament is free.

The play is a radio play written by Lucille Fletcher and Mabel-Canton’s production is directed by Sara Kroshus.

A brief synopsis of the play, explains the story concerns Ronald Adams, a man driving cross-country from Chinatown to Chingar. On the morning he leaves, in the rain, Adams sees a man on the Brooklyn Bridge. He seems to be waiting for a lift. Adams sees the man again an hour later, hitchhiking at the Pulaski Skyway. At several points along his journey, Adams repeatedly sees the same hitch-hiker, despite the fact that, logically, there is no possible way the mysterious man could always somehow get ahead of him.

Adams is increasingly terrified by the unexplained appearances of the hitch-hiker. His narration conveys his determination to intentionally run the mysterious man down the next time he sees him. This ruins Adams's chance for companionship with another hitch-hiker, a girl who needs a lift to Amarillo. She lightly flirts with him but is soon spooked by his obsession with the mysterious man he sees at the side of the road. After Adams sees the hitch-hiker yet again, he almost crashes into a barbed-wire fence. The girl extricates herself from his car and flees, insisting that she was unable to see the man Adams fears.

Finally, Adams feels he is going mad and reaches out for help. He finds a payphone at a gas station in the middle of the New Mexico desert. He calls his mother in Brooklyn, feeling that he can pull himself together if he can hear a familiar voice. The long-distance operator puts his call through, but Adams is confused when a woman he doesn't know answers the telephone. She states that Mrs. Adams is in the hospital due to a nervous breakdown, brought on by the death of her oldest son, Ronald, six days before.

Adams learns that he has died in a car accident on the Brooklyn Bridge, where he first spotted the hitch-hiker. Adams realizes he was not a malevolent figure, but rather a friendly angel of death sent to guide Adams to the other side.

As the radio play ends, Adams expresses both his determination to find the hitch-hiker again and his concern that he has been unable to do so, ever since his call home.