The stage crew for “Nora’s Lost” are, from left, Maddie Smith, Kasey Back, Bailey Soma and Elizabeth Jones. Not shown are Alex Love and Julia Haugerud.
CHARLIE WARNER/NEWS LEADER The stage crew for “Nora’s Lost” are, from left, Maddie Smith, Kasey Back, Bailey Soma and Elizabeth Jones. Not shown are Alex Love and Julia Haugerud.
“This year’s play takes on a very different tone than last year’s performance. The name of the play is ‘Nora’s Lost,’ written by Alan Haehnel. It focuses in on the debilitating disease that has touched so many families, Alzheimer’s,” explained Fillmore Central High School director Jackie Whitacre.

The play centers on Nora Blodget, who is stricken with Alzheimer’s disease. She follows the vision of her husband into the woods on a cold night. Nora’s life flashes before her, revealing her former life as a teacher, wife and mother. Will Nora’s daughter find her in time?

That, in a nutshell is the synopsis of this year’s one-act play presentation by the Fillmore Central Drama Department.

Auditions for this year’s play were held before Thanksgiving and rehearsals have been held ever since the cast was selected soon after.

Whitacre’s students have been spending copious amounts of time learning their lines and staging during the Christmas holiday break.

They will be attending a workshop on Jan 14, hosted by the Rushford-Peterson Drama Department.

The Three Rivers Conference meet will be held Jan 21, at Wabasha-Kellogg High School. On Jan 26, a public performance will be held at 7 p.m. in Harmony at the Fillmore Central auditorium.

The all-important sub-section competition will be held Jan. 28, at Caledonia.

Last year, Fillmore Central advanced to the state competition and returned home with the highest honor a drama club can receive in the one-act competition. When asked if last year’s star performance will be putting any pressure on this year’s group of thespians, Whitacre replied, “I am very proud of our accomplishments last year and being champions is a great feeling.

“But this is a new year,” Whitacre continued. “The most pressure we put on ourselves is to get out of the subs (sub-section competition). Going to section is a serious accomplishment that we have to tackle first. We don’t like to talk about or plan for anything after that.”

The sub-section that Fillmore Central competes in is one of the most talented in the state, she added. Just to get out of the sub-sections is a major accomplishment. Fillmore Central, Rushford-Peterson, Wabasha-Kellogg and Caledonia all have very strong programs and have done very well at the section and state competition in recent years.

The recent success of Fillmore Central’s one-act play program has spawned considerable enthusiasm in the local program.

“There were over 30 students at auditions and over 10 applications for the crew,” Whitacre noted. “There can only be 20 people on the team so too many is a great problem to have. We have added five new members this year, four of them acted in last year’s spring play. The 15 returning letter winners are great role models, especially Kelsey Christoph and Kiera Olson, our two seniors.”

When asked what she attributes the continued success of the Fillmore Central one-act play program, Whitacre replied, “The school atmosphere has always included the arts. There are few students that don’t participate in at least one art while at FC. The coaching staff for both girls and boys basketball are also helpful and share space and the kids’ time so they can be in more than one extra curricular.”

The cast of “Nora’s Lost” includes Nora – Rianna Ryan; Young Nora – Kelsey Christoph; Martha – Annalise Shupe; Young Martha – Kiera Olson; Gene – Alex Mathison; Mark – Logan Dyreson; Robin – Taylor Willford; and Death – Katie Prinsen.

Dawson Schmidt, Collen Dahle, Brock Walsh, Brendon Back, Madalyn Kinneberg and Kira Nelson are in the ensemble.

Crew members are Alex Love as the student director; Liz Jones on lights; Maddie Smith on sound; Kasey Back on set; Julia Haugerud on costumes; and Bailey Soma on makeup.