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In first stage show in two years, Perham students perform two one-act plays

After construction and pandemic-related delays, Perham students returned to the theater with two one-act plays, "A Deep, Poetic Journey Into Something" and "Mmmbeth."

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Lady Mmmbeth, played by Andrea Guajardo, is put under a spell by three witches, played by Elsa Brandvold, Miranda Poser and Faith Kalina.
Elizabeth Vierkant / Perham Focus

PERHAM — The Perham community hadn't seen students on stage for a theater performance since 2019 because of construction and the COVID-19 pandemic, but all that changed on Thursday, March 24. Starting that evening and continuing through the rest of the weekend, Perham High School students performed two one-act plays in the school's studio.

"They (the students) were very excited; it's been a process," said Director Maggie Ragan, who selected shows in January and started rehearsals with the students in early February. "The energy in the room was so fun on Thursday night… The kids gave it their all each night. I couldn't have asked for a better night of shows."

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Jane, played by Hana Leonhard, smiles as her Dad's Shadow, played by Roman Guajardo, fades into the background.
Elizabeth Vierkant / Perham Focus
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Mrs. Hate, played by Alix Garza, speaks with Jane's parents, played by Kjirsten Anderson and Haven Roth, at a conference. Jane, played by Hana Leonhard, sits off to the side.
Elizabeth Vierkant / Perham Focus

The first play performed was "A Deep, Poetic Journey Into Something," a drama about a teenage girl finding herself and growing up as she struggles through personal and internal conflicts.

This teenage girl, Jane, was portrayed by student Hana Leonhard, who had the challenge of capturing the character's complex emotions. Jane's internal struggles are brought to life as the audience sees "shadows" (actors dressed in black) behind Jane, showing viewers what she wants to do but is too afraid to, such as lashing out or hugging her father.

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Mrs. Hate's Shadow, played by Andrea Guajardo, is choked by Jane's Shadow, played by Faith Kalina, in a moment of rage.
Elizabeth Vierkant / Perham Focus.
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Dan, played by Aiden Price, and John, played by Beau Johnson, listen to music together.
Elizabeth Vierkant / Perham Focus

After Jane's father, played locally by Haven Roth, dies, she hits rock bottom. The audience watches as those around her, such as her mother and friends, help prop her back up. In the end, Jane sees her shadow embrace her crush John, played by Beau Johnson, so Jane does the same. The shadows wrap her in ribbons, showing the audience that Jane is learning to show the world who she is and who she wants to be.

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The performance earned a standing ovation. Other actors included Frost, Kjirsten Anderson, Helen Briard, Aiden Price, Alix Garza, Faith Kalina, Madeleine Lamb, Roman Guajardo, Joshua Kalina and Andrea Guajardo.

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Daphne, Doris and Twit — played by Elsa Brandvold, Miranda Poser and Faith Kalina — scheme together on stage.
Elizabeth Vierkant / Perham Focus
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Mmmbeth, played by Beau Johnson, holds a tennis racket to the throat of Banquo, played by Roman Guajardo.
Elizabeth Vierkant / Perham Focus

After a 15-minute intermission, students returned to the stage for their second one-act play, "Mmmbeth," a parody of the classic Shakespeare play, "Macbeth," that's set in modern times. The story follows Mmmbeth, played by Beau Johnson, and Lady Mmmbeth, played by Andrea Guajardo, as they descend into comical madness.

Encouraged by three scheming witches, played by Elsa Brandvold, Miranda Poser and Faith Kalina, the Mmmbeths decide to take the throne, murdering everyone along the way.

Humorous bits such as YouTube murderers and pyramid schemes earned loud laughs from the audience, and in the end the show got another standing ovation. Other cast members included Frost, Roman Guajardo, Aiden Price, Madeleine Lamb, Helen Briard, Joshua Kalina, Haven Roth and Alix Garza.

Maggie Ragan directed both plays, and the backstage crew consisted of Lighting Manager Alana Brandvold, Sound Manager Shippee, and Stage Manager Lola Strong.

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Murderer One, played by Frost, points a quill toward the eye of Murderer Two, played by Joshua Kalina.
Elizabeth Vierkant / Perham Focus
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A doctor, played by Haven Roth, examines the sanity of Lady Mmmbeth, played by Andrea Guajardo, as she stares in horror at her hands covered in jelly.
Elizabeth Vierkant / Perham Focus

"It (performing after two years) was really exciting," Ragan said. "The energy in the room was so fun on Thursday night… It was an amazing journey to see these kids grow as actors and individuals, coming out of their shells. That was so satisfying to me."

According to Ragan, this time of the year is particularly busy for students in the arts. They're busy in speech, music and more, but they still took time out of their evenings from 6:30–8:30 p.m. for rehearsals.

"A huge thanks to the parents who continue to support their kids in theater and arts but also kids who have a passion for backstage work," Ragan said. "The arts are so crucial to creating a rich community and culture in our town, and so to continue finding support for these arts programs — it's so important. These kids worked so hard, and they bring so much joy and growth in it."

Elizabeth (she/her), 23, graduated with a degree in Journalism and Communications from the University of Wisconsin–Stout in 2020. Elizabeth has always had a passion for telling stories about people and specializes in community features, which she uses for her Perham-centered content.
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