JORDAN GERARD/SGH
This year’s One Act Dessert Theatre is “Arabian Nights” and takes place at the Fest Building on Friday, Jan. 26, at 7 p.m. Enjoy a variety of homemade desserts while watching Spring Grove High School’s Drama Department explore Middle Eastern stories and culture. Pictured in front is (left to right) Emily Guberud, Aston Towne, Rhiannon Skauge, Katie Lamm, Vivian Kampschroer and Tiffany Michels. Second row (left to right) is Gavin Thorson, Brody Christiansen, Ty Cleven, Wyatt Spier and Lance Hegge. Back row standing is Chris Lamm and Claire Bratland.
JORDAN GERARD/SGH This year’s One Act Dessert Theatre is “Arabian Nights” and takes place at the Fest Building on Friday, Jan. 26, at 7 p.m. Enjoy a variety of homemade desserts while watching Spring Grove High School’s Drama Department explore Middle Eastern stories and culture. Pictured in front is (left to right) Emily Guberud, Aston Towne, Rhiannon Skauge, Katie Lamm, Vivian Kampschroer and Tiffany Michels. Second row (left to right) is Gavin Thorson, Brody Christiansen, Ty Cleven, Wyatt Spier and Lance Hegge. Back row standing is Chris Lamm and Claire Bratland.
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From the compilation that brought “Aladdin” and “Ali Baba and the 40 Thieves” comes many tales in the form of a one act play performed by Spring Grove students.

The Spring Grove High School Drama Department will present “Arabian Nights” One Act Dessert Theatre on Friday, Jan. 26, at the Fest Building. Dessert starts at 6:30 p.m. and the show begins at 7 p.m.

Admission is a free will donation and dessert costs range from $3 to $6. All kinds of desserts baked by the drama club members and their parents will be available for purchase, including pies (apple, pumpkin and lemon meringue), a variety of cakes, brownies and bars. Coffee and milk will also be available.

Proceeds from this event will benefit a trip to the Minnesota State Thespian Conference in February and a trip to Chicago to see the famous musical, “Hamilton.”

If attendees ate too much for supper and have no room for dessert, they can still attend the performance.

The show encompasses tales about Middle Eastern culture and is part of a larger production by Mary Zimmerman.

In the first few minutes of the play, the audience watches as a king learns his wife has cheated on him with a slave and thus, he no longer trusts women.

To prove his point, he marries a woman every day and then kills her the next morning. Soon, the kingdom begins to run short of women, and the king asks for daughters to be brought to him.

One of the daughters agrees to marry the king, but a plan has been put in place to keep her alive. She tells the king a story, but does not finish telling it so the king will keep her alive to hear the end of the story.

Director and drama teacher Megan Miller said the production has been a learning opportunity for the cast members.

“It brings you into modern Baghdad (Iraq), and it reminds us of the value and richness of all cultures,” she said. “We’ve had some discussions about culture. There were some questions raised about a line in the play, but we talked about what it means.”

Though it might seem the play would have a connection to the modern world, the stories in the play are set long ago before the connotations and stereotypes of today.

“The stories are central to Muslim culture,” Miller said. “Stories don’t have morals and lessons that are always 100 percent obvious. It doesn’t happen in the same way we’re used to in western culture.”

Along with learning about the culture, the production is also a new challenge for cast members, as everyone is always on stage during the performance and there’s a range of emotions to display.

Cast members also take on multiple character roles, as there are more roles than cast members in the production.

“I am really proud of the cast,” Miller added. “They’re providing all the sound on stage using percussion instruments. They have to be in character all the time.”

The drama department is also on the search for Oriental or Persian rugs that can be used during the performance next Friday and also for the competition in Rushford on Saturday, Jan. 27.

Cast members spend a lot of time on their knees during the performance, so rugs will be beneficial to them.

Contact Megan Miller at the school by Thursday, Jan. 25 if you have a rug to contribute. Rugs will be returned when the play’s run is finished.

That amount of time is determined by the sub-section and subsequent contests for the One Act.

The public is welcome to attend the contest on Saturday, Jan. 27 at Rushford-Peterson High School. Spring Grove has an afternoon performance scheduled.

If they win the sub-section contest, they will move onto the section contest on Feb. 3 at Saint Marys University in Winona. The state tournament is Feb. 8 and 9 at St. Catherine’s University.