Curtain set to open on RVHS performance, shows are Nov. 12-14

Troy Krause
The cast and crew of the Redwood Valley High School theatre department open up this year's play Nov. 12 in the PAC.

The curtain opens on the 2020 fall play at Redwood Valley High School at 7 p.m. Nov. 12 in the Estebo Performing Arts Center.

Unfortunately, because of COVID-19 restrictions, only a few people will actually be in the audience to see it.

While members of the cast and crew may be a bit disappointed they will not be performing for a full house during any of the upcoming performances, they are also likely just happy they were able to have a performance at all.

The local theatre department is presenting a play entitled The Internet is Distract--OH LOOK A KITTEN! by Ian McWethy.

According to an online synopsis of the show, “Micah only has 20 minutes to finish her paper on The Great Gatsby. She just needs to check a few facts on the Internet first. Unfortunately, the Web is a nefariously wacky place where boxing cats, Facebook lurkers, and pig-throwing games threaten to take over Micah’s schoolwork, or worse. Will she finish her paper and escape with her life before the school bell rings? A high-octane comedy that explores the rabbit hole of distraction we all go down every time we go online.”

According to Whitney Hegg, play director, the performance dates are Nov. 12, 13 and 14 at 7 p.m. To follow guidelines, each participant will be able to invite two individuals to each performance.

The cast and crew includes: Payden Beran, Emma Bucholz, Verity Friese, Audrey Munshower, Lexy Nelson, Kaylee Kay Nelson, Tate Old Rock, Sophia Panitzke, Justus Probst, Ivis Robertson, Kaylee Robinson, Kody Robinson, Zoey Salvador, Rachel Anderson, Emily Benson, Chalese Rohne and Jenith Beske.

“We are required to follow some MSHSL guidelines for our rehearsals. We continue to practice as much social distancing on stage as possible and never remove our masks,” explained Hegg.

After some discussion, Hegg indicated she and Andy Ourada, Redwood Valley activities and community education director, decided that a play would be appropriate for this season as they continue to follow safety guidelines.

“Though the script is a humorous satire of what any Internet user may encounter in the world of search engines, social media and Web sites, I found its message to be incredibly relevant. It’s important that we strike a balance between the world ‘in there’ and the world ‘out here,’” Hegg added.

According to Hegg, this year Audrey Munshower and Lexy Nelson expressed a desire to take on the role of co-student directors; with the help of Payden Beran and Chalese Rohne, they have developed the overall vision for the show.

Munshower has been involved in the theatre in schools since the eighth grade when she joined the fall play and in ninth grade she joined the One-Act play competition.

“Both of my sisters did theatre, and I always loved going to see their shows. So I’ve wanted to be in theatre since I was in elementary school,” Munshower explained. “I stay involved in theatre because I think it’s a great way to make new friends, and it has made me very comfortable with public speaking."

Munshower has been in You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Bye Bye Birdie, The Little Prince and The Internet is Distracting - Oh Look A Kitten!. Her favorite was Bye Bye Birdie. Her favorite roles are when she played Mae Peterson in Bye Bye Birdie and as The Snake in The Little Prince.

“That one was fun because it was my first time playing a villain, and I felt like it really broadened my horizons,” Munshower added.

Last year, during the One-Act, Munshower was an assistant director and really enjoyed helping envision the play.

According to Munshower, “I wanted to be a student director because there are more responsibilities and I get to see exactly what I planned on stage.”

Senior Lexy Nelson has been in theater since eighth grade.

“I chose to do theatre because I was enjoying speech so much that I was excited about doing a play, too. My best friend was really excited about the play, so that drove my excitement and interest further. I have continued to do it because of the pure love and enjoyment I get from acting on stage and all of the memories I have gotten to make,” Nelson explained.

Nelson has taken on roles as an ensemble member in You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown, Puck in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Ursula Merkle in Bye Bye Birdie, Fox in The Little Prince and now she gets to finish off with Micah Burke in The Internet is Distract--OH LOOK A KITTEN!. Puck was by far the most fun character for her.

Nelson took the role as a student director because she wanted the chance to give some of her ideas and incorporate them into the show.

“I have been doing theatre for so many years that getting to add some of my own ideas seemed like a task I was ready to take,” she added.

According to Ourada, a live stream of each performance will be available for $9.95. The show will only be available live; it will not be available on demand.

For more information or to find the link, visit www.redwoodareaschools.com.