All males complete the cast for ‘Incident at the Vichy’
By Kristen Miller
DASSEL-COKATO, MN This year’s one-act play is a little different than in the past, with all male characters making up the cast.
The one-act, an “Incident at the Vichy,” by Arthur Miller, portrays a group of men being detained by German officials in Vichy, France during World War II.
The detainees struggle to understand why they are being held, and while waiting to learn of the reason, they discuss the perceived motives of the authorities and the possible fate that awaits them, explained Director Robert Kampa.
Among the all-male cast are: Connor Mankenberg, Avery Schmidt, Warren Pringnitz, Isaac Olson, Henry Von Ohlen, Michael Asplin, Cody Harmening, Quinton Barnes, Ryan Peterson, Cody Ewald, and Leif Torgersen.
“I’ve thought about doing this play for awhile, and this year, we had enough male actors interested to cast it,” Kampa said.
During the time of auditions, Kampa had three options to choose from. Since there weren’t any female performers who attended the audition, “Incident at Vichy” was the one.
“It’s a good dramatic piece,” Kampa commented.
“Once again this year, we have a nice balance of experienced actors and newcomers in the one-act cast,” Kampa said. There are five first-time actors, two second-time actors, one in his third show, and three veterans to the drama program.
For junior Ryan Peterson, this is his second one-act performance, having competed last year in “Bus Stop.” Peterson has also been in three fall musicals.
Peterson plays Prince Von Berg in “At the Vichy” and he said his character fits him well.
All of his other characters, like his role as Snoopy in this year’s fall musical “You’re A Good Many Charlie Brown,” have been “out there,” Peterson said.
His character here is quiet, intelligent, and reserved, making it a little easier to play, Peterson commented.
What has been challenging for him and other cast members have been trying to create tension among the group.
Veteran actor Cody Ewald plays Professor Hoffman. “I get to act completely different from myself,” which is what he likes about his character. Considered to be a friendly person, in “Incident at Vichy” he gets to be mean.
Performing in his first play is Michael Asplin. What has been challenging for him is the voice projection, since all of the characters are without microphones.
One-act is a timed performance with 10 minutes for state set-up and performances completed under 35 minutes. Assisting with lighting, sound, and set-up are Kathryn Mankenberg, Morgan Berg, Tyler Meyer, and Ron Hungerford.
DC’s one-act will perform as part of a non-competitive festival Monday, Jan. 21 at Sauk Rapids-Rice High School for further practice. Sub-section competition begins Saturday, Jan. 26 at Delano High School. Two schools will be chosen to move on to section finals Thursday, Jan. 31 at Chanhassen High School.
“I’m quite proud of the work the student actors are doing with respect to their preparation and commitment, and I am confident the students will do their very best in order to place and move on in the competition,” Kampa said.
A free public performance of “Incident at Vichy” will be Tuesday, Jan. 29 at the Dassel-Cokato Performing Arts Center at 7 p.m. Note that the play is not suitable for young children. Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted will also present its one-act at the performance.