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Elmwood-Murdock produces one-act play for local audiences

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MURDOCK – Hundreds of people watched Elmwood-Murdock students take the stage Saturday during a pair of one-act play performances.

The Knights delivered their production of “The Birch Moon” twice in the high school gym. Elmwood-Murdock students performed in front of more than 100 people at a 3:30 p.m. matinee show. More than 250 people then came to the high school for a dinner theater performance Saturday night.

Director Keri Hogue provided a thank-you note to community members in the playbill. She said it was an honor to get to work with a large number of students. Twenty-three high schoolers appear on stage in “The Birch Moon.” Many others in grades 7-12 handle duties such as lights, sound, hair, makeup, photography and stage crew work.

“Thank you for taking the time to be here today and listen to our story,” Hogue said. “I am so proud of the progress our students have made since August when we held auditions! This is my sixth year of coaching/directing the one-act program, and it has been a privilege to work with these students!

“My goal is to create a community where students appreciate theater, each other and enjoy telling a story.”

Hogue co-wrote “The Birch Moon” with Marcus Manley and Mark Hogue Jr. She said it was a team effort to create ideas for the script, costumes, stage design and sound/lighting effects.

“I am also very thankful for Mark and Marcus who worked so hard on writing this story and helped it come to life on stage,” Hogue said. “I literally couldn’t do any of this without them! It is a blessing with how well we work together, and it always has the common goal of putting these kids in areas where they can all shine as an individual and as a team.”

Bri Ross, Sara Kicak, Madie Justesen, Rylie Gordon, Ava Hohman, Haylee Josoff, Lily Pope, Macy Howard, Hanna Josoff, Mia Rikli, Averi Hogue, Wyatt Baker, Grace Jacobsen, Will Platt, Hayden Bauder, Nolan Stroy, Angela Brockhoff, Morgan Gray, Marion Day, Brooklyn Dowding, Annie Backemeyer, Elly West and Marissa Oehlerking appear on stage in the play.

Many students wore elaborate costumes that transformed them into their characters. Hogue said Tami Pleiss was responsible for creating all of the clothes and outfits for the Knights.

“There isn’t enough paper to write down everything Tami does for our program!” Hogue said. “She sewed, altered, created, built and worked her magic on every piece of costume you see today. Her time and talent alone is invaluable and she donates those skills to our program.”

Students on the lights crew include Harrison Koehn, Leo Rikli, Brody Marsh, Christian Brettman, Ella Stroy and Will Fox. Blake Lavington and Ellie Meyer are members of the sound crew, and Averi Hogue, Morgan Gray, Payton Haase, Aryana Wall, Ellie Meyer, Eva Stansell, Eva Knippelmeyer, Mya Breedlove, Angela Brockhoff and Bri Ross help with hair and makeup.

Nolan Platt, Ryerson Kastens, Christian Brettman, Grayson Schroll, Katie Morris, Caitlyn Hosier and Ziva Arent are students on the backstage crew. Eva Knippelmeyer and Mya Breedlove help with photography for the play.

Emmalyn Snyder, Lila Coleman, Carter Dankleff, Brian May, Cami Dieter, Jonah Rikli, Liana Rikli, Levi Rikli, Lucy Backemeyer, Cora Livermore, Tyson Ross and Molly Gray are members of the workday/rehearsal crew.

Elmwood-Murdock won the East Central Nebraska Conference championship on Nov. 15 during the league contest at Palmyra. Wyatt Baker earned the Best Actor Award and Haylee Josoff earned the Best Supporting Actress Award.

Elmwood-Murdock will perform in the District C2-1 Contest at Nebraska City Lourdes on Wednesday, Nov. 30. The Knights are scheduled to perform at 2:45 p.m. East Butler, Elmwood-Murdock, Johnson-Brock, Nebraska City Lourdes, Omaha Brownell-Talbot, Omaha Christian Academy, Shelby-Rising City and Weeping Water will compete at districts.

The district champion will advance to the Class C-2 State Play Production Championships. State action will take place on Thursday, Dec. 8, at the Johnny Carson Theater in Norfolk. Class C-2 schools will present one-act plays from 8:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. The District C2-1 champion is scheduled to perform at 9:15 a.m. that day.

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