One-act play coming together for Chatfield High School students

GRETCHEN MENSINK LOVEJOY/CHATFIELD NEWS Chatfield students are ready for the one-act play, “Tracks.” In front, from left, are Skyla Brewer, Mary Burshem, Lelani Clifford and Elizabeth Schieffelbein. In back, are Josh Hrstka, Rodrigo Gamarra, Jeffrey Brewer, Noah Lacey, Michael Hrstka, Elijah Lawson, Nick Long and Seth Boettcher.
Gretchen Mensink Lovejoy

“We have some very talented kids involved with one-act, and they’ve been wanting to perform a drama for a while, so I figured it was time to let them showcase their dramatic skills with the play ‘Tracks’ by Pete Tarsi,” related Chatfield High School one-act play director Rachel Schieffelbein, anticipating the onstage dramatic competition performances that her students will bring this winter.

She chose “Tracks” for the challenges it poses the actors, actresses and audience since it has a “wonderful script, one that really makes them think,” she said.

“It asks some serious questions, ones without clear answers. It’s well written and makes people think,” she explained. “The students are playing more complex characters than we have had the last couple years. They’ve had to put more thought into who these people really are and what their motivations and fears are. It’s challenged them, but they’ve risen to it.”

One-act play competition offers drama students the opportunity to showcase their talents before judges at various tournaments, and Schieffelbein is proud to welcome a dedicated cast to the stage, no matter what stage it is. There are 10 students in the show and two more backstage: Noah Lacey, Michael Hrstka, Seth Boettcher, Elijah Lawson, Jeffrey Brewer, Mary Burshem, Skyla Brewer, Elizabeth Schieffelbein, Nick Long and Lelani Clifford, with stage crew Josh Hrstka and Rodrigo Gamarra.

“The set is very simple, but the costumes and makeup will be used to age them up because most are playing characters with quite a few years on them,” she said.

The students in grades seven through 11 have been rehearsing for over a month with show competition dates soon approaching. They will perform at conference on Jan. 18 and subsection on Jan. 25. There will also be a public performance on Sunday, Jan. 19, at 2 p.m. at Potter Auditorium.

The traveling show affords the students a chance to hear critiques from theater directors who may suggest a different approach to a character, or who may applaud the perspective that the students’ performances give the audience. Schieffelbein observed that among the challenges that the students encounter is the fact that they will not always be presenting their play on the Potter Auditorium stage in Chatfield.

“Potter is a second home for most of us, so there’s definitely a comfort level we have here that we don’t have elsewhere,” she said. “And then there’s hauling a set, figuring out lights and sound in a different theater. It can be challenging, but it’s good for them. It’s a learning experience.”

She’s confident they will be up for the challenge. “It’s a talented group, and I’m glad I’ll have them all for another year,” she said.