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FHS students explore the meaning of art in 35 minutes or less

Cast members of the FHS One Act play include Kody Lemcke, Kay Feldt, Emma Marthaler, Zelda Wear, Mitch Delaney and Oscar Velaquez. Not pictured are Stephanie Barnes and Anna Marie Rutz.

When six one-act play casts came to Farmington last weekend, it wasn't for a competition. It was all about practice.

Farmington High School hosted the Missota Conference One Act Festival this past Saturday. Held in the auditorium at Boeckman Middle School, the festival featured one act plays by Farmington, Chaska, New Prague, Shakopee, Academy of Holy Angels and Chanhassen.

It was a preparatory kind of weekend, FHS one act advisor Sarah Stout said. Farmington heads to the Section 1AA competition this weekend at Eastview High School in Apple Valley. Last weekend's festival gave students a chance to perform in front of other schools, like they will at Eastview, but they were not judged.

One act performances cover a range of genres, Stout said. Some are dramatic, some are comical. Some are original works and some are scripts written by classic playwrights. The only similarity is that the performances have to wrap up - including set and costume changes - in 35 minutes.

This year, Farmington is doing "Art: What is the Meaning of That?!?"

"It's a series of vignettes that are trying to define what art is to people. Some of them are funny, some of those are more serious," Stout said. "It's an ensemble cast which means we have a group of kids and they all play about eight different roles. Each scene is a different setting, a different character and a different facet of the arts.... The whole point of the play is that art can mean whatever you want it to mean and art is different for everybody."

Preparing Farmington's script, Stout asked each cast member to think about what art was to him or her. She tweaked the script to incorporate those ideals and make the performance reflect the students' opinions.

The group started rehearsing shortly after Thanksgiving, Stout said. Last weekend's festival was the run-though, but Friday, the FHS cast and crew takes the show on to Eastview for the real competition.

"Theater is to give a slice of life," Stout said. "The beauty of the one-act script is that it is short enough that it can be a competition, but it has to be well written and well performed because you only have 35 minutes to tell a story. It gives room to the director and actors to kind of explore and change things to make it their own."

Michelle Leonard

Michelle Leonard joined the Woodbury Bulletin staff in November, 2014, after 14 years covering news for the Bulletin's sister publication, the Farmington Rosemount Independent Town Pages.  Michelle earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communications: News-Editorial from Mankato State University in 1991. She is an active member of the American Legion Auxiliary Clifford Larson Unit 189 of Farmington, and served as the 2014-15 Third District President to the American Legion Auxiliary Department of Minnesota. Michelle is also the volunteer coordinator for the Minnesota Newspaper Museum which is open annually during the Minnesota State Fair. She has earned Minnesota Newspaper Association awards in Investigative Reporting, Local News Coverage, Feature Photography and Column Writing. 

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