Senior showcase


Magnet Staff

One act directors Jackson Newhouse, Lydia Rieck, Kenna DaMitz and Rhiannon Vraspir with some one act cast members

Elyssa Munch, Writer

It’s that time of year again for the one-act festival. The OHS one-act festival has been going on since 2005 and is almost completely student-run. Students that are interested in performing a one-act play, start by researching what show they want to perform and bring their ideas to director Erik Eitrheim for approval. Once approved, student directors hold auditions for their shows, design their own simple sets and convey their vision of the show to their cast. The festival gives students a chance to step outside their comfort zone and try out theater life. Eitrheim said, “It is always interesting to see students take on roles that haven’t been involved in theater and find an environment where they can thrive and blossom.” It also gives theater regulars a chance to do something different like directing and taking on more responsibility. Eitrheim said, “A number of years ago, I was thinking of ways to get more students involved in theater. There was only one way to have more people and that was to have multiple shows going at the same time. I had seen other places that had done similar things and so I combined ideas and came up with this one act festival.” This years one-acts are Godspell Junior, co-directed by senior Kenna DaMitz and junior Kayla Mollenhauer, The Other Room, co-directed by seniors Jackson Newhouse and Lydia Rieck and Nora’s Lost, directed by senior Rhiannon Vraspir.

Godspell Junior is the first musical one act to be done here. It is a story based on the biblical book of Matthew. This one act is a groundbreaking and unique reflection on the life of Jesus, with a message of kindness, tolerance and love. Co-director Kayla Mollenhauer said, “Kenna and I chose this show because of the wonderful message about community.” They have had their share of struggles but have persisted and kept going. Co-director DaMitz said, “Godspell has been one of my favorite musicals for years. Because of the religiousness of the show, Eitrheim has told me that he didn’t think we’d ever be able to do it. Well, after unsuccessfully trying to convince him we could, I decided I’d just do it anyway. I got my best friend and lovely Christian gal Kayla Mollenhauer on board, and the rest is history still being written.” DaMitz has been involved in theater since 7th grade and her theatrical beginnings were purely coincidental starting with staying late to retake a math test. One of her favorite shows to be a part of was the 2018 fall play, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime, but DaMitz typically prefers to be a part of community theater because of the opportunity to meet new people. She plans to keep doing theater and always, in some way or another, have it be a part of her life. DaMitz will be going to Riverland for a little while for her generals and a few theater classes. Commenting on other future plans DaMitz said, “I don’t know, life works itself out.” DaMitz will be missed both on stage and off. Her passion and bright character will dazzle the rest of the world like it has the people of Owatonna.

The Other Room focuses on the life of a 16-year-old autistic boy named Austin. There are actors portraying Austin and those in his life and others portraying different parts of his mind. The show brings into play another viewpoint on the world of autism. Co-director Newhouse said, “Once I read through it I felt very connected to the story and it was very heartwarming and at the same time a little tragic. It’s funny, dramatic, and shows a world that most people don’t understand.” Newhouse has been involved in theater since his freshman year, his favorite show has been the 2017 spring show, Lend Me A Tenor. Newhouse plans to continue doing theater for a career as a light designer. He will be going to Iowa State for his electrical engineering major and theater minor and plans on becoming a professional light designer for theaters around the country and work his way up to working on Broadway. Co-director Lydia Rieck has been participating in theater since the end of her sophomore year and fell in love with it. Her favorite show has been The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime. Rieck said, “My favorite show was Curious Incident, the overall atmosphere was wonderful. Everyone in the cast got along and really bonded, and it was just a great experience overall.” Rieck is not sure if she will continue doing theater in college but hopes to be able to participate in community theater after college. Rieck plans on attending the University of Minnesota in Duluth, majoring in Music Education.

Nora’s Lost is about a woman with Alzheimer’s who wanders into the woods at night following a vision of her husband. She has a flashback of her former life as her family searches for her. Co-director Rhiannon Vraspir said, “I wanted a show that would pull at the heartstrings and that really showed how devastating some mental illnesses can be.” Vraspir has been involved in theater since freshman year. Her favorite show has been Mary Poppins and she plans to go to Augustana university for middle school music and art education. Vraspir hopes to be able to continue doing theater as she heads into the post-high school life.

Eitrheim gives a farewell saying, ”Seniors in theater, keep doing it, you don’t have to give up being in theater, but you don’t have to try and make a living out of it but there are a lot of opportunities for you to do theater out in the world and I hope this talented group of seniors will continue to share their talent with the world because it is a wonderful gift you can give as an actor or someone working behind the scenes to the community by portraying life on stage and help us either escape from our world for a short time or learning more about it.”

The festival will be occurring on May 31 at 7 p.m.