Zimmerman one-act was hit at home; competition next
Zimmerman’s one-act play competition entry “Fourteen Lines” made a good connection with the local audience on Tuesday evening. The play directed by Jon Palshewski will enter sub-section competition on Saturday at Cambridge-Isanti, where Elk River is also competing.
In a story, penned by Samuel French, of small group of unruly, outcast teens who are forced to memorize 14 lines of Shakespeare for a test, or they’ll be flunked, the audience laughed heartily at many scenes while also being drawn in emotionally to root for the more troubled kids when their turn came to get up and recite.
There were very distinct characters drawn, such as Alexa Muyaert’s prissy, exacting teacher keeping the most wise-guy of students in line; the uproarious cut-up played by Joey Briggs, always going his own way and hilariously breaking into horseplay wrestling matches with Nolan Cameron while the others try to study; the conflicted leader of the outsiders, Carly, played Marissa Luing, breaking up fights within the group, trying to build up her insecure friend Chris’s confidence, while dealing with her own trauma of having a baby and giving it up; and Parker Sturlaugson as the stuttering, fearful Chris who badly needs to pass this test.
The recitals, one after another, were distinct and quite compelling, such as one girl stumbling painfully through her lines but soldiering on, a homecoming-queen type nailing hers buoyantly, one boy unexpectedly rapid-firing his lines in a few seconds which had the crowd roaring, and finally Chris and Carly each finding their own ways to conquer their demons.
Other cast members are Madi Muckenhirn, Wayne Kinney, Lee Muellenbach, Deanna Schultz, Michael Shaver, Cassie Bouchjer, Hannah Husted, Heathern Nagengast and Trent Mitchell.
"This challenging acting piece--praised in competition for "treating student characters with respect and affection and lack of stereotyping"-- features the character of Carly, a teen-aged girl whose desires to achieve goals for herself constantly battle her impulse to help others. Carly and her friends are all in danger of failing Senior English--and not graduating--if they don't do well on the final exam. And the exam is a killer. Ms. Drew, their teacher, has decided that the final grade exam grade will be based on one task alone: the memorization and recitation of a Shakespearean sonnet. The pressures of the assignment cause a range of character reactions, from Phil's "I've got it knocked" nonchalance to Chris's virtually paralyzing anxiety. In the midst of it all, Carly desperately tries to keep everyone else on track without losing sight of her own goal. While liberally spiced with many comic moments, Fourteen Lines manages to smuggle in Shakespeare and challenge both actors and audience alike with the crucial question, "What does love require?"."
From the author of the popular one act play Making Nice, Samuel French
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