Written by Hillsboro Free Press Tuesday, 06 March 2012 16:13
Hillsboro High School will present “The Great Cross Country Race” at 7:30 p.m. March 15 and 16 in the high school auditorium.
The play is officially described as “an entertainment for children,” but it has something for everyone, no matter his or her age, according to co-director Bob Woelk.
“This play is a lot of fun because it is somewhat interactive with the audience, and the costuming is quite elaborate,” Woelk said. “It is certainly appropriate for children; there is nothing scary about it. But, there is also kind of a slapstick comedy feel to it that the young at heart will enjoy.”
The plot is based on the traditional tale of the tortoise and the hare. In this case, the slow-thinking and slow-talking Mr. Sloe is played by freshman Graham Pankratz. HHS drama veteran Molly Wiebe, a sophomore, is the self-assured and extremely confident hare, Mr. Fleet.
“We all know what is going to happen here,” Woelk said. “But, seeing how it unfolds is the fun part.”
Other key characters include Mr. Basket, a hyperactive hound played by junior Peyton Loewen, and a number of woodland creatures in all their furry and feathery finery.
In addition, the two main human characters, a pair of children searching for their ornery hound and tortoise, are played by seniors Amy Bartel and Nicholas Ediger, both HHS drama and musical veterans.
“Since the audience members are privy to the conversations of the animals, human speech must be unintelligible,” Woelk said.
German exchange student Laura Angresius took on the role of Mr. Sett, a badger, so it only made sense to have the humans speak her native tongue, Woelk said.
“This really adds to the appeal of the play,” he added. “Laura has done a great job coaching the human characters in the basics of German. I just hope we don’t have too many in the audience who understand what the humans are supposed to be saying. Everyone should be able to tell what the conversation might be by the characters’ actions.”
Dustin Dalke, HHS art instructor, is co-directing the play. He has been in charge of scenery and costumes, a formidable task for this production.
“The set seemed simple at first,” Dalke said. “But, as we began to create all the pieces, it has become more complicated. It has been a lot of fun, and quite a few of my art students have contributed to the effort.”
Gail Kliewer has been sewing the costumes with help from daughter Katie, an HHS senior.
“I am not sure we could have done this without help from the Kliewers,” Dalke said. “These costumes are complicated, but the Kliewer ladies have been up to the task.”
General admission tickets for “The Great Cross Country Race” are available in advance from the high school office. They will also be available at the door. Cost is $5.