Don't miss 'Stop Sending in the Clowns,' Nov. 19, 20 and 21
The Wadena-Deer Creek Drama Department will present “Stop Sending in the Clowns” on Nov. 19, 20 and 21 on the stage of the historic Wadena Memorial Auditorium.
WDC theater director Jay Patterson explains the play is centered around the Burnum and Bailout Traveling Circus -- and the clowning around never stops under the wacky Big Top!
“The character Burnum is played by Stephen Spilman. Bailout is played by Michael Schmidt. They are quite the pair. Even though there is a circus genre throughout, the play is actually written as a ‘Who Dunn It?’ motif. There is a smuggling ring that is using the circus as a cover. They are smuggling rare artifacts, and it is the audience who must determine the criminals who are responsible,” says Patterson.
He continues, “Sheriff Doggleberry played by Devyn Norenberg is the principal detective who is trying to solve this mystery, and poor Beulah Von Schmellie played so adeptly by Liz Peterson is right in the middle of it all. Other characters who are making their debut include Logan Skillings as Haywood Seed, and Hannah Wedde as Tina, the prestidigitator, which is short for magician. And the discussion would not be complete unless the clowns were mentioned. Please, whatever you do though, do not say the word ‘clowns’ while the performance is happening. Strange things might happen on set,” remarks Patterson.
Patterson chose this play, which was written by playwright Pat Cook, because it is a comedy and everybody loves a good laugh. Patterson explains that it’s a wholesome play that allows students to discover who they are without too much stress.
“Students have a chance to once again enlarge their comfort zone and develop that all important confidence in front of an audience. Such a tool in a student’s toolbox is priceless. It will pay dividends throughout their lives,” says Patterson
As usual, students are having a wonderful time with the play; however, Patterson admits that learning lines can be tricky.
“Students must not only know their own lines, but more importantly, they must know the cue lines delivered by someone else. It can be a challenge,” says Patterson. “What has been fun is watching the clowns as they do what clowns do. I am afraid that parents will not recognize their children because of the unique costuming being used and the clown makeup that will be worn.”
So what can the audience expect when they sit down to watch this play? Patterson believes this farcical mystery will be intriguing.
“Because it is a mystery, the audience should be involved in trying to figure out who is smuggling the Ming urns into the country. The plot becomes so complicated that not even Columbo could make sense out of it all,” quips Patterson, adding, “And watch out for cockroaches. They can be nasty.”
Right now, the student cast is practicing twice a day, except for Wednesdays. Patterson says while it’s hard on students, it’s necessary if the cast is going to put on a play that flows and entertains.
Patterson has directed plays since the late 1970s and continues to immerse himself in theater each school year here at WDC. He is in his 23rd year of serving as WDC’s theater director.
Thirty-three students in grades 7-12 are involved in the all-school production, from acting to technical support. Students include: Esther Berger, Gabriel Berger, Maggie Carlson, Raine Curtis, Taylor Dirks, Coraline Donnay, Elliot Doyle, Hope Dumpprope, Rocky Fratzke, Katelyn Gardner, Molly Gilje, Lola Gilroy, Mari Grendahl, Mitchel Haman, Ben Keppers, Ashley Kern, Emma Mehl, Nancy Medina, Grace Mertens, Devyn Norenberg, Maddie Olson, Liz Peterson, Tianna Saltzman, Michael Schmidt, Logan Skillings, Stephen Spilman, Camille Taggart, Logan Taggart, Jeff Umland, Hannah Wedde, Soren Wedde, Jasmyn Wood and Alizzabeth Yungbauer.
The public is encouraged to see these young, talented thespians perform at Wadena Memorial Auditorium on Nov. 19, 20 and 21. Performance times are 7:30 p.m. This year, tickets will be sold at the door only -- $5 for adults and $3 for students.
“We hope all who attend will safely survive the chaos that ensues at Memorial Auditorium,” says Patterson with a smile.