PCHS Advances To Section Finals With “The Arkansaw Bear”

Monday, January 31st, 2011 at 8:54 am

Pine City High School is advancing to its fourth consecutive Section Finals in the MSHSL One-Act Play competition with the children’s play, “The Arkansaw Bear.”

Saturday’s Sub-Section contest, hosted by Pine City, featured plays from six area schools. Taking first place and also advancing to sections was Rush City with a cutting of the absurdist play “Waiting for Godot.” Other schools participating in the festival were Milaca (3rd place), Mora (4th), Zimmerman (5th), and Braham (6th).

The Pine City students have been rehearsing for about seven weeks and also participated in festivals in Sauk Rapids and Cambridge to help prepare them for Sub-Sections. The play is a touching story written as a means to help kids cope with the death of loved ones.

The judges at Saturday’s competition praised the local students’ skills. One judge commented that there was “lots of energy exhibited by all on stage” and that the character of Tish (played by senior Emma Briski) was “delightful.” Another judge praised the production’s use of live music over a recorded soundtrack and said that the show was “well rounded,” with the actors working well together.

Jazz Dyskman, who plays the role of Star Bright is really enjoy the camaraderie of the cast, saying the show has been extremely rewarding, with cast members coming together “like a family.” Director Brad Mariska echoes these sentiments, noting, “I’m very proud of the kids’ hard work and willingness to stretch themselves as actors and work together towards a common goal.”

That goal, says senior Josh Palmer, is making it to the State Festival. Palmer has been a part of all four of Pine City’s section-qualifying one-acts in 2008, 2009, 2010, and now, 2011. “I’ve learned more from my role as a mime than I have ever done with any other single role. So I think if things keep going as they are, we could make it to state.” Pine City has never qualified for the State One-Act Festival.

Briski perhaps has the best perspective, saying, “I’m really excited to have another opportunity to perform the show. This has been a great experience and I don’t want it to be over yet.”

On Saturday, Pine City performs at 10:55 a.m. at Harding High School in St. Paul. Rush City will perform at 2:40 p.m.

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