By Jennifer Von Ohlen
DASSEL, COKATO, MN Having completed subsections Saturday, Dassel-Cokato High School one act is now preparing for its community performance Thursday, Feb. 2 at 7 p.m. in the Performing Arts Center.
“Emily” was written and directed by DC director James Moen, and mostly takes place in the mind of Richard, a husband grieving the recent loss of his new bride, Emily, who died in an automobile accident.
Throughout the show, Richard’s thoughts go back and forth between moments prior to and following the accident. In several scenes, he even interacts with a hallucination of his deceased wife.
“He knows she’s not actually there, that he’s making it up in his mind,” stated Moen. “But he still kinda entertains those delusions because he misses her.”
With a cast of five, Moen said one of the biggest challenges students face is delving into their characters and bringing out the individual personalities.
Junior Ethan Langemo, who plays Richard, agreed with Moen, saying, “I think the toughest thing for this show is really making each of the five characters very, very distinct and really grinding down on their behaviors, mannerisms, attitudes, stuff like that. That’s been a really big challenge for me that I haven’t faced before.”
Junior Sam Olson, who plays Richard’s friend, David, also stated that his character behaves quite differently from how Olson would normally act, making it “really weird” to perform.
“I definitely think that you have to be more involved with your character,” added junior Natalie Dahlin, who plays Emily. “More than anything, because of how emotional it gets.”
Though the story heavily deals with the pain of losing a loved one, the message is that through grief and loss there is always hope.
Through the show’s abstract storytelling, Moen hopes audience members will connect with its message of finding hope in the midst of grief and loss.
Senior Marit Thostenson, who plays David’s wife Linda, would like viewers to recognize “there is a human connection that we have with one another that we have to be aware of before we lose someone we love. That’s something we always take for granted.”
In addition to experiencing a personal connection, Moen hopes the time and effort students have put into the production will also be appreciated.
“The students are all very young and inexperienced, but they work very hard. I’ve been really proud of the work they’ve done,” he stated.
While Moen believes the cast has the potential to put on a strong performance, he said it is up to them to execute that possibility.
“I believe we’re giving them all the tools for a really great show,” he explained. “It will be up to them to bring the energy and the focus, and I think they can do that.”
Even though winning first place at sections Saturday, Feb. 4, would be “great,” Moen’s goal is to see the program progress as it competes against larger schools with bigger theater programs.
“As long as we place better than we did last year, that is what I’m hoping for,” he said.