NRHEG students prepare to perform ‘Caught in the Act’

Published 5:55 pm Tuesday, April 11, 2023

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Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” featured performers who pretended to be in their own play. The same plot element was featured in “Hamlet.”

“Caught in the Act” by Pat Cook has its own play-within-a-play idea, a concept students at NRHEG will feature when they perform the show at 7 p.m. Friday at NRHEG High School.

“It’s a comedy, it’s very fast-paced, very funny,” said Colin Zidlicky, fifth- to 12th-grade band director and director of the show, describing the play as a blend of a murder mystery and farce.

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Zidlicky decided on this particular show after student auditions and before a script was selected. After knowing who would be in it, he started going through publishers and scripts to find the show he felt best fit the strengths of the cast.

And while “Caught in the Act” isn’t as well-known as other plays, he thought it was ideal in highlighting his students’ particular strengths in comedy.

“Caught in the Act” also had specific timing elements, something he wanted students to improve on, along with specific wordplay.

An added bonus is the fact the show will likely be something new for the audience.

Shelby Johnston, a senior at NRHEG, plays Gracie, the director of the play within “Caught in the Act.”

“She is very loud, very bossy,” Johnston said, adding her character knew what she wanted and was not afraid to say what she wanted.

Johnston has been involved in theater since seventh grade, and this will be her 15th show.

“My passion for theater is just beyond anything I’ve ever experienced,” she said. “Theater is my main thing that I love to do. I love being able to express myself.”

To that effect, she plans to minor in theater in college.

She also enjoys helping other students with their lines and serving as a role model, something that surprised her.

“I haven’t actually been here the longest,” she said. “There are a lot of people that have been here longer than me.”

Freshman Zoe Wilson plays Darla.

“Darla is the new girl in town,” Wilson said. “She’s very innocent and doesn’t really know what’s going on even though she kind of does.”

This will be Wilson’s first experience since elementary school, though she plans to continue doing plays and musicals in the future.

“I had some friends in [the show], and my parents wanted me to do an extracurricular, and I thought this would be better than sports,” she said.

Sophomore Olivia Wencl plays Mr. Habershaw, the theater’s owner and a person Wencl described as “a creepy old man.”

This is her second year in theater, after Deb Bentley — director of the one-act shows — convinced her to join the drama club.

She noted it was challenging only receiving the script a few weeks ago, and said the most challenging part about pretending to be a man was deciding how to style her hair.

Auditions were held roughly two months ago, and students have had scripts for 1 1/2 months. There are 23 students participating, with each of them being on stage.

“I’m very proud of my students for putting this together so quickly,” Zidlicky said.

This will be his first time directing at NRHEG, though he has four years of experience directing plays and musicals from his time in Iowa.

“It’s been fun to work with some new students that I haven’t gotten to this year,” he said. “Just learning their personalities has been fun.”

There will be a student preview of the show Friday. Tickets are available at the door, with gym doors opening at 6:15 p.m. The cost is $5 for students and $7 for general admission.

Zidlicky wants the audience to leave the show feeling like they saw a good, well-rehearsed performance.

“Come and enjoy the show,” he said.

Myron: Anton Domeier
Lucy: Eden Eads
Gracie: Shelby Johnston
Cali: Melina Bell
Chuck: Jayden Tonkin
Helen: Mutiara Zahara
Marjorie: Tatum Smith Vulcan
Sylvia: Megan Miller
Jan: Jorids Kruger-Diaz
Freddie: Joseph Rosenquist
Ace: Pierce Anderson
Dena: Addison Loken
Page: Olivia Kofstad
Madge: Josie Strom
Darla: Zoe Wilson
Movers (stage directors): Georgia Zimprich, Madisyn Langfitt, Winter Pedreson
Sgt. Hawke: Grace Starman
Mr. Habershaw: Olivia Wencl
Mr. Lattimer: Sam Christensen

Jaylee Christopher

Director: Colin Zidlicky
Assistant: Solveig Sundblad