Mandan News

Drama club took to the stage

The cast of "Willabella Witch's Last Spell" get ready for their dress rehearsal on April 21. (photo by Dustin White)

The cast of “Willabella Witch’s Last Spell” get ready for their dress rehearsal on April 21. (photo by Dustin White)

By Dustin White
Mandan News, editor

Opening night can be nerve wracking even to season veterans. For actors who haven’t performed in front of an audience before, the anxiety can be overwhelming. A group of Mandan Middle School student’s had their chance to overcome this on Saturday, April 26.

Over the last few months, the newly formed drama club at the Mandan Middle School have been preparing for their debut show. Without being able to rely on the experience and resources of previous classes, these students have had a lot to accomplish in a short time.

While the main task has been learning their parts, the stage has also been busy with set and custom design, makeup, as well as the various aspects of theater that make such a show possible.
Now, all of that hard work is about to payoff. With dress rehearsals having taken place early during the week, the drama club is ready to display the show they have been working diligently on.

“Its a big night. You going to do what you’ve been doing for months, but in front of people,“ Griffen Spady, who plays the prince, said.

A major aspect of this play was choosing the right work. Being middle school students, Ashley Schrenk, director for the drama club, decided it was best to stay away from pieces with too much drama.

“These students have to deal with enough drama during school,” Schrenk said. “So we decided on something that would be fun for all involved.”

After careful consideration, Schrenk, along with Brenda Holland, the student advisor for the drama club, decided on a one-act play titled “Willabella Witch’s Last Spell.” In this play, Willabella, a witch who is celebrating her 400th birthday, decides that it is time to retire. However, much to her chagrin, a group of fairy tale characters descend upon her home and begin getting Willabella mixed up into their problems.

A key reason for choosing this particular play was that it is suitable for both adults, as well as children.

“With the success of the Harry Potter series, and other fantasy works, it seemed like this play would be suitable,” Schrenk said.

While there are still some details to work out, such as dialing in the lighting, the group is ready for their first night.

“I read that in most plays, something goes wrong. So I am a little nervous, but we are ready to deal with anything that may happen,” Alexis Prestriedge, who plays the crow, said.

Even though nerves will be a factor when the curtain opens, the actors are excited to display their final product.

“You always have to a little nervous for these type of things. We are going do awesome though, as we have all worked really hard,“ Brenna Meuchel, who is playing Willabella witch, said.

April 26 was also be a big day for the program as a whole. It has the potential to show others that the work that has been invested into this club is well worth the effort. Regardless of the turnout though, the drama club has given something much more to its members. It has given many a place in which they fit.

“I think it has been going great. The middle school was really missing a drama club. I wanted a club that students could be who they are, and have a lot of fun,” Brenda Holland said. “I think they will be ready. They have had a great time, and have put a lot of time and energy into it.”

Holland and Schrenk plan on continuing this in following years, and are looking at options for next fall.