One Act Play Festival to take place next year

MARSHALL — Marshall Public Schools Activities Director Bruce Remme recently announced that the Big South Conference will be adding a One Act Play Festival this year.

One Act Play teams from the 13-member schools will be invited to one of two festival sites approximately a week prior to the section competition.

“It’s something new that our conference is looking to do,” Remme said. “Most of the time, One Act Play, they’re really limited to performing at the section meet. It’s the only time they get a public performance or feedback. So one of the things we talked about as a conference is to see if there’s another chance for that to happen.”

Play directors from participating schools got together this past spring to discuss options.

“We asked them for some feedback,” Remme said. “We said we were looking for an opportunity for our kids. They helped guide us to the idea of a One Act Play Festival.”

Remme said the preliminary plan is to follow a structure similar to the fall Choral Fest hosted by the Big South Conference.

“We’re patterning it after the Choral Fest, which we do every fall,” he said. “Our conference brings in clinicians and we have a mass choir at the end. It’s on the same date every year — the first Monday in November.”

Big South Conference schools will perform their One Act Plays at one of two sites — those sites would rotate each year.

“One site will have six schools perform,” Remme said. “The One Act Play directors though that it would be a good idea to bring six schools together in one location. It’ll serve as a great opportunity to have other directors and kids kind of critique each other before going to the section meet. That pre-section feedback in a workshop-type format will be really beneficial.”

The festival is expected to be like a dress rehearsal for the competing One Act Play members.

“The kids will have the directors from the other schools take a look at their performance and offer suggestions,” Remme said. “There’s the public aspect to it, too. If there’s people who want to come and watch those performances, they can. It’s a great way for kids to get in front of an audience.”

While the plan is to hold the first-ever Big South Conference Festival in January, the actual date has not been confirmed yet. Scheduling has been the biggest challenge so far.

“The toughest part is trying to secure the date — what date works best,” Remme said. “School schedules are so busy. We also have to make sure the two facilities don’t have a conflict on that date. We’re planning for January, shortly before the section meets, which are usually the last week of January. Our conference schools compete in three different sections, so we still have to coordinate the calendar.”

Remme said with so many other activities taking place throughout the winter, One Act Play oftentimes gets lost in the shuffle.

“We do the fall musical and a spring play, but One Act is a quick, short season,” he said. “But it gives our kids a competitive opportunity in theater.”

One Act Play members from Marshall will compete in Section 2AA. Dan Smith is the play director.

“When we compete for One Act Play, we’re with the big schools,” Remme said. “We go up against schools like Chaska, Chanhassen, Dassel-Cokato and other schools on the outer metro rim.”

Marshall actually hosted the Section 2AA meet last year. The section host sites rotate, just like they will for the Big South Conference Festival.

“We’re trying to get the directors back together this fall to finalize what the format will look like,” Remme said. “I’m sure it will evolve over time. We look forward to participating in the first Big South Conference One Act festival this January.”