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The show must go on: Tri-County Fall Play participants preparing for November 19, 20, 22 performances

Tri-County Fall Play participants pose as a group following a morning practice on October 19. Directed by Laurie Lofstrom, 17 students are rehearsing for and will be performing in this year’s fall play, titled “Next Victim, Please”, while abiding by a COVID safety plan; performances are scheduled for November 19, 20, and 22. Those pictured include (L-R): Lilly Duray, Anton Budziszewski, Jaxon Klegstad, Trey Taylor, and Tori Peterson; Middle: Cenzio Werman, Paulina Berggren, Carter Thompson, Lydia Hanson, and Rachel Levenhagen; Front: Leah Levenhagen, Ari Kuznia, Ella Kasprowicz, and Emily Barth. Not pictured: Damon Slaathaug, Ella Otterstetter, and Kaitlin Anderson. (photo by Ryan Bergeron)

The Murdock family gathers at their family estate to hear the will of their still living father Colonel Murdock. During this time, the family members gradually get killed off until only two remain. They are plotting to get rid of one another in order to get the money. Where could this story be playing out?

Right on the Tri-County School stage this fall.

After getting the go ahead from the school, 17 seventh to twelfth grade Tri-County students, led by the Fall Play Director, Laurie Lofstrom, are presenting this story through the play “Next Victim, Please”. Senior fall play students and their director discussed their reaction to getting to have a fall play during this time of COVID, the adjustments and guidelines being followed to allow for the show to go on this year, their preparation for the play, and their general interest in being part of theatre.

When they heard they would get to perform a fall play this year, Lofstrom and her play students had mixed thoughts and emotions.

Senior Tori Peterson is doing the lights and sound in this year’s fall production. She has participated in the one act play since seventh grade and has been part of the fall play for two years. She talked about her reaction upon hearing the fall play would take place.

“I was surprised,” Peterson said. “I was glad that we get to do it.”

Some students, such as seniors Trey Taylor, playing the character “Lawrence”, and Cenzio Werman, working as part of the stage crew, wondered how a fall play was going to work. Having participated in theatre for five years, Taylor thought they would have to do a number of shows to allow everyone to watch, referring to spacing guidelines.

“It’s a little confusing on how it’s going to work,” Werman said, participating in his first year of theatre, “but I’m excited for it.”

Both excited and nervous about this opportunity, Lofstrom discussed the efforts behind the scenes to make this work. She presented a safety plan to both Tri-County Superintendent Ryan Baron and the school’s nurse. This plan was presented to the Tri-County School Board.

“When we got the okay, we were very excited,” Lofstrom said.

Tryouts took place the second week of school and practices, Lofstrom estimated, began during one of the last couple weeks in September.

As part of its safety plan, during their practices, participants wear masks and maintain a distance from each other, the latter being somewhat difficult to do, Lofstrom explained, when students are learning their parts and actions. The students’ temperatures are taken when they arrive at the school for their 6:45 am practices. If anyone is not feeling well, they do not come.

This group is preparing for the play’s performances later next month. At these performances, the theatre department will be putting in place some COVID-related audience guidelines, rules related to capacity and spacing. Up to 50 people may attend each performance and each individual must be six feet apart.

The cast and crew will have its opening performance on November 19 for the school, performing it more than once that day in order to abide by these spacing and capacity guidelines. On Friday, November 20, they will hold an evening performance and on Sunday, November 22 will host an afternoon performance. Times have yet to be determined.

To see the complete story, read the October 22 issue of the North Star News.

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