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Did Karen Andre commit a murder or not? This is the question which will be answered at the junior class play November 16 and 17.
The subject of this play is a murder trial in which Karen Andre, played by Ardelle Hollister, is on trial for the murder of her boss, Mr. Bjorn Falkner.
Twelve important members of the cast remain to be chosen, but they need no rehearsing and will not be selected until the night of the performance. They are the jury, who will listen to the evidence and render the verdict that will decide which of the two endings written for the play will be used, guilty or not guilty.
Between the acts the jurors will be led off the stage to discuss among themselves the evidence given. Each act represents one day of the trial. Just before the ending of the third act the jury retires for the last time to render a verdict. A majority vote is taken as decisive for this trial.
A change in the cast has been made. Wendell Toedter will play the role of Judge Heath.
Almost as important as the cast itself is the production staff which Mr. Dwain Johnson, director of the play, states is unusual in that it is made up of all girls who, he claims, are doing a beautiful job.
Students chosen for the different jobs are: Carol Chapin, stage manager; setting, Shirley Judd (chairman), Darlene Johnson, Gloria Edin, Virginia Hess, Dorothy Jackson, and Deloris Olson; properties, Mary Williams and Jean Peterson; lights, Wendy Stone; makeup, Kathy Simon, Darlene Jelinek, Karen Klose, Darla Thorn, Darlene Fellman, and Betty Schmidt.THE CARDINAL CHRONICLE, Staples, Minnesota, 1955
Audience to Take Part in Junior Play Court Trial
Members of the audience attending the Junior Class Play, "The Night of January 16," will actually take part in a trial. The entire play takes place in a courtroom. 12 jurors for the trial will be chosen from the audience by the Clerk of Court, played by William Peterson. The members. of the audience who wish to be on the jury may register in the auditorium lobby on their arrival. Their names will be drawn from a box before the play begins. The juniors will present their play on November 17. Rehearsals began October 3 and will be held weekday evenings. 40 juniors attended tryouts for the play on Monday evening, September 26. Sharon Liane will serve as student director.
Members of the cast include: Prison Matron, Beatrice Haugen; Bailiff, Clayton Grondahl; Judge Heath, Donald Wilhelmson; District Attorney Flint, Nick Schaefer; his secretary, Vaunda Grove; Defense Attorney Stevens, Richard. Sperley; his secretary, Nyla Johnson; Clerk of Court, William Peter-son; Karen Andre, Ardelle Hollister; Dr. Kirkland, Jerry Tepley. Mrs. John Hutchins, Jean Johnson; Homer Van Fleet, Allen Haugen; Elmer Sweeney, John Wicht; Nancy Lee Faulkner, Joy Tepley; Magda Svenson, Ann Engen; John Graham Whitfield, Richard Bryce: Jane Chandler, Loretta Gritz; Sigurd Jungquist, Jim Carlson; Larry Regan, Lloyd Nelson; Roberta Van Rensselaer, Deanna Peterson; stenographer, Dorothy Monk. The play had a long run in New York and has toured the United States. Among the celebrities who have served as jurors are Jack Dempsey, James Roosevelt, Babe Ruth and Helen Keller.THE CARDINAL CHRONICLE, Staples, Minnesota, 1955
70 Students Enter Staples Speech Contest in March
The district speech contest will be held here in Staples this year. The judges will be from the University of Minnesota. Staples speech coaches are Mr. Dwain Johnson, Miss Birgit Anderson and Mr. David Wood. Under their direction about 70 students who will: participate in the contest are preparing their selections. The contest is on March 19 but students who still would wish to enter may go to Mr. Johnson and sign up. Encouragement was given as to the success of this year by Mr. Johnson.
Johnson Chooses One-Act Comedy
"The Antic Spring" will be presented by the Staples' one-act play cast on March 22 in the one-act play contest at Little Falls. The play, chosen by the director, Mr. Dwain Johnson, is a comedy containing six characters, three girls and three boys. Tryouts will be held very soon and all students in the senior high may and are urged to, attend. According to Mr. Johnson, to obtain the best cast Staples can possibly have, at least 100 students should try out, so students are asked to co-operate. Staples wants nothing less than a superior rating this year, says Mr. Johnson.
Cast for Senior Class Play Is Chosen; Contest Play Changed
Mr. Dwain Johnson has announced the selection of eleven seniors for the cast of their class play, "Arsenic and Old Lace."
They are Sharon Scharf as Abbie Brewster; Rosalie Olander as Martha Brewster; Philip Harter as Harter as Teddy Brewster; Darrel Cline as Mortimer Brewster; Janice Trana as Elaine Harper; Gerald Adamek as the Rev. Dr. Harper.
Boyd Grove as Officer Brophy; Paul Hartman as Officer Klein; Keith Smith as Mr. Gibbs; Roger Frederick as Jonathan Brewster; Robert Wicht as Dr. Einstein; Roland Wettstein as Officer O'Hara; James Krantz as Lieutenant Rooney and Gerald Brostrom as Mr. Witherspoon.
In addition a large production staff will be necessary to provide for make-up, costuming, staging and publicity.
"Arsenic and Old Lace" was a smash hit for several seasons in New York and has been very popular on tours throughout the country. The story is mainly concerned with two charming and innocent ladies who populate their cellar with the corpses of socially and religiously "acceptable" roomers. The antics of their brother, who thinks he is Teddy Roosevelt, and a friend who resembles Boris Karloff, add humor and interest to the plot.
Actual production is scheduled to begin this week with the performances to be given early in April.
CONTEST PLAY | "The Man in the Bowler Hat" the speech contest one-act play is to be presented March 3, instead of `Antic Spring" as previously announced. The cast for this play is as follows: John, James Rahn; Mary, Kathy Simon or Sylvia Carry; Hero; Nicholas Shafer; Heroine, Deanna Brollard, Janice Bienusa or Betty Schmidt; Chief Villain, Roland Wettstein and Bad Man, undecided.
Roland Wettstein Takes Male Lead In Senior Play; Speech Contest Held
A few changes have been made in the senior class play. Roland Wettstein will now take the leading male role of Mortimer Brewster, Gerald Adamek will take the part of Officer O'Hara, James Kur-pins as Doctor Harper and Mary Smith is the new student director.
The production staff has also been chosen. They are as follows: stage manger, Kenneth Koppes; stage crew, Roger Haugen, David Baker, Gerald Engdahl and Jerry Bybee; carpenters, James Rahn, Jerome Bryce and Harlen Johnson; stage setting, Jack Hirschey and Rita Jenkins.
Students chosen for make up are: Nona Dosh, Earlene Waldahl, Virginia Junker, Deanna Brollard, Jacqueline Waln, Bonnie Leslie and Judith Holderbach; painters Paul Hartman, Robert Peterson, Judith Jerde and LaVonne Carlson; correspondence, Mary Mulloy. On the committee for tickets and programs are: Margery Edin, Vera Greenwald and Donna Walker; costumes, Delores Macho, Patricia McGillivray, Carol Morris and Ramona Bremer: publicity, Iris Zerfoss and Carol Kennedy ; and lights, Mary Anderson. The cast for the speech contest play has been chosen. Members of the cast are, John, James Rahn, Mary, Kathy Simon, hero, Nicholas Schaffer, heroine, Janice Bienusa, villain, Roland Wettstein, Bad Man, James Carlson.
Ten Contestants Represent Staples In Region Six Speech Contest
Of the ten contestants Staples High had competing in the Region 6 Contest held in Fergus Falls on April 9, six received superior ratings. This number has never been excelled by any speech group Staples has ever had. For the first time since 1933, when Jeanette Phillips won for the high school a state championship with "Lay Macbeth" in dramatic reading, Staples again has a contestant who won in her division at the Regional Contest. Mary Anderson will journey to the state contest which will be held at Ham-line University in St. Paul on April 20. The ratings a contestant can receive are in their rank of importance, Superior, Excellent, Very Good, Good, and Fair. Those persons who received superiors are: Janice Bienusa, serious interpretive reading; Deanna Brollard, extemporaneous speaking; Darlene Jelinek, prepared oratory; Wayne Judd; prepared oratory (also alternate superior to the state contest) and James Kurpius, original oratory.
Two persons received Excellent ratings. They are: Sharon Blahosky, serious interpretive reading and Rita Jenkins, extemporaneous manuscript reading. The other two persons received Very Good ratings. They are: Agatha Lorentz, humorous reading and Kathleen Simon, extemporaneous manuscript reading.
All the above mentioned persons received superior ratings at the District Contest held in Staples on Monday, March 20. The contest-ants Staples had received the following ratings: Roger Jenkins received alternate the superior in humorous reading. Excellent ratings were given to Nancy Hanson, Humorous reading; Deloris Olson, extemporaneous manuscript reading; Sharon Scharf, extemporaneous manuscript reading; Carole Ritter, serious interpretive reading; Carol Chapin, pantomime; Richard Bryce, extemporaneous speaking; Keith Smith, extemporaneous speaking.
When asked how she felt about her success at the Regional Con-test, Mary replied, "It was the thrill of my life." Upon questioning further she answered that of-ten times you might dream of going to Girls' State or being Valedictorian of your class but to win a regional contest was beyond even her fondest expectations.
Smith, Brollard, Kurpius Earn Speech and Dramatics Awards
Three Staples High School students are qualified to receive Thespian pins. They are Keith Smith, Deanna Brollard and James Kurpius.
"After the speech contests are over," comments Mr. Johnson, "there will be a few new members added to the organization."
In order to be eligible for the organization, students must receive 10 or more points. The number of points given to students who participate in a class play are as follows; 2 to 10 points for each part according to the type of part the person plays; 5 points for the student manager and assistant di-rector and two points for the make-up committee.
Points given for contest plays are: 5 points for a speaking part and 3 points for a member of the stage crew. In a one-act play 3 points are given to a major part, 2 points for a minor part and 1 point for the stage crew.
Students participating in speech activities receive the following points: 1 for the local contest, 3 if the student goes to the district, 5 for the regional, 7 for receiving a superior at the regional, 8 for the state contest, 9 if the student receives superior at the state and 10 if he wins.
Anderson Wins Superior at State Speech Festival
"In Mary's case, the victory re-solved a year's hard work on her part!" remarked Mr. Dwain John-son when asked his opinion on Mary Anderson's winning of a superior rating in the discussion di-vision at the state speech contest.
Mary was the second student in the history of Staples High School to win a superior rating in the state festival, held at Hamline University in St. Paul Friday, April 20.
Mary said, "Its just like a wonderful dream-- too good to be true!"
She was the only representative from District 24 in any of the divisions. Four rated superior in the discussion division while about 1,000 students in Minnesota High Schools competed in the group be-fore eliminations in district and regional contests.
Mr. David Wood, who worked with Mary in preparing for the con-test commented, "I think that her success was due to her own perseverance more than anything else."
Play Receives Superior Rating At Little Falls
"The Man in the Bowler Hat," Staples' contest play, received a superior rating in the judging at Little Falls last Saturday. The play was named as an alternate winner of the contest. Members of the cast were James Rahn, Kathleen Simon, Janice Bienusa, Nicholas Schafer, Roland Wettstein; James Carlson and Dav-id LaVine. Judged by Dr. Arthur Ballet of the University of Minnesota, the play received such criticisms as good sense of characterization, good reaction to what was said and what was happening, and imaginative and understanding direction.
Dwain Johnson, director of the play, commended his cast for their performances. "Under adverse rehearsal conditions they did as well or better than could be expected," he said.
The following ratings were received by other schools participating in the contest: Little Falls, superior; Aitkin and Sebeka, excellent; and Brainerd, very good. 22 students won ratings of superior at the local speech contest held here February 20 and will participate in the district contest here on March 10. Winners were: Discussion--Mary Andersen Cad Ann Engen; prepared oratory-- Darlene Jelinek, Wayne Judd, Elaine Gorder and Loretta Bryce; serious interpretative reading-- Janice Bienusa, Carol Ritter and Sharon Blahosky; Extemporaneous manuscript reading-- Sharon Scharf, Kathleen Simon, Deloris Olson and Rita Jenkins; humorous interpretative reading-- Nancy Hanson, Roger Jenkins and Agatha Lorentz; pantomime-- Carol Chapin; and original oratory-- Dorothy Jackson and James Kurpius.THE CARDINAL CHRONICLE, Staples, Minnesota, 1956
Senior Girls Change Into Old Maids For Class Play
"How will I ever learn these lines ?" Roland Wettstein has sure got enough of them. Roily has a leading roll along with the two old maids, Rosalie Olander and Sharon Scharf.Every spare minute the play cast has is spent looking at little white cueline cards and trying to guess what's on the other side. After mastering their lines the trick is to use them. The play "Arsenic and Old Lace" is really a dilly from the standpoint of providing drama, action and hu-mor. Can you imagine two quiet, religious old maids killing old bachelors who applied for rooms ? The bomb shell of the play is in the form of one Teddy, an insane character under the custody of Sharon Scharf and Rosalie Olander. Teddy is played by Philip Harter. Teddy has spent much of his life digging the Panama Canal. THE CARDINAL CHRONICLE, Staples, Minnesota, 1955
Brewster Sisters Dispense Cheer, Good Will-- and Arsenic
The first performance of "Arsenic and Old Lace," the celebrated comedy about murder and the nice old Brewster sisters, will be presented by the senior class on Thursday, May 3.
The title refers to the activities and the attire of the Brewster sisters, Abby and Martha, two of the most charming and lovable old ladies who ever filled a cellar full of corpses. From the beginning the play has been a tremendous success in its three-and-a-half year run on Broadway. A critic for Time Magazine called it "A violently funny and batty murder play."
The two batty but lovable sisters, dispensers of cheer and good will to all -- to say nothing of elderberry wine spiked with arsenic-- will be played by Sharon Scharf as Abby, and Rosalie Olander as Martha.
Their oldest nephew, Jonathan, whose pride suffers a severe blow when he discovers that his record of twelve murders has been matched by the twelve graves in the cellar, will be played by Roger Frederick.
It is nephew Jonathan's striking resemblance to movie-villain Boris Karloff that eventually causes him to give himself away, thus losing his title of America's most prolific murderer to his two aunts.
In the role of Doctor Einstein, plastic surgeon for the underworld, whose weakness for whisky and motion pictures has resulted in Jonathan's unfortunate face, will he seen Robert Wicht.
Mortimer, the drama critic who discovers the sisters' deathly hobby, will be played by Roland Wettstein and the part of Elaine, Mortimer's fiancee from next door, will be acted by Sylvia Carry.
Mortimer's brother, Teddy, whose belief that he is really Theodore Roosevelt has caused him to dig the Panama Canal in the cellar of the old house in Brooklyn, will be played by Philip Harter.
Others in the cast are Boyd Grove, Keith Smith, James Krantz, James Kurpius, Gerald Adamek, Gerald Brostrom and Paul Hartman.STAPLES WORLD, Staples, Minnesota, 1956
Cast Commended for Performances in Seniors' "Arsenic and Old Lace"
While the cast of "Arsenic and Old Lace" seems to have had a disastrous influence on the lives of some 25 or 26 people, they treated the audience to a fine dish of comedy and an occasional sip of elder-berry wine.
The choice of the play was a good one since it made use of a wide range of acting talent without being extremely demanding and at the same time seemed to accord with the general level of audience tastes.
Despite the large cast the acting was on the whole very competent. It was so competent that after two hours of watching the slightly in-sane wandering across the stage I began to have serious doubts about the senior class in general.
The performance of Robert Wicht as Doctor Einstein was exceptionally captivating for a high school stage. He managed to depict with relatively few lines and complete character which he maintained throughout the play. The thing that made his performance polished was that he seemed to be enjoying himself which is an essential element of good comedy.
Others in the cast who stood out for superior performances was Sharon Scharf as the spinster with a flair for homicide and Gerald Brostrom as a very fitting representative of Happy Dale Sanitarium. Also particularly worthy of note were Rosalie Olander, who kindly helped old men on their way to eternity, Philip Harter, who as Teddy was caretaker of the hobby room, and Roland Wettstein, who seemed determined to spoil the fun and put an end to his aunties' planting.
Jim Lee as Mr. Spinalzo from Panama had a rather confining part for most of the play, but rose to the occasion at the curtain call.
Mr. Johnson's adept directing was evident in the handling of all the roles and in other less apparent though equally important respects. The variations in lighting helped keep the set interesting, and the oddities from the senior class didn't run away with the play but were subordinated to it so that in-stead of a zoo there was a play.
The entire cast should be complimented on their professional handling of the demands of comedy. Poise and maintenance of character were exhibited throughout which is no easy feat with a howling audience. They gave the audience a chance to laugh and were able to handle the results without losing their composure.
The play was one that shall be remembered in Staples for a long time especially by those with dirt cellars. Crime may not pay, but Thursday night it certainly looked like fun.
There are a few things that could have been done to enhance the general dramatic level of the play. This play was essentially a character play. It was the odd characters that gave it the human. Though most of the actors established a character to some degree it was usually a very one-faceted portrayal that only lasted as long as the actor had lines.David Wood, STAPLES WORLD, Staples, Minnesota, 1956