The Black Hills High School Theatre department presents the Spring Arts Festival, an evening that showcases the versatility of students in art’s many forms. The festival features theatre, dance, music, and visual art and will finish its run with two final performances on Thursday, May 11th and Friday, May 12th at 7:00 p.m. in the Performing Arts Center.
Included in the evening are three one-act plays, all of which were written and directed by students from Black Hills. Karlsson, written by senior Yasmine Bellon, explores the 1905 Dissolution of Sweden and Norway in a comedic light. “It took me about a year of research and writing to finally have the finished product,” she explains. Bellon originally had asked to write a show for the theatre department as a freshman and expresses her satisfaction with the final stage of this journey: “I adore what my show has become- I would not change one thing.” The second play, titled I’m Fine and written by senior Nolan Harris and junior Nick Hall, boldly explores the effects that mental illness can have on a high school student. The issues that Harris and Hall raise are pertinent not only to the plot, but to the lives of many students who deal with similar internal conflict and emotional uncertainty off of the stage. Actress Angel Davis acknowledges the importance of this work in beginning a candid conversation on mental illness, recognizing her own connection with its message and stating, “I feel like other people connect with it as well”. The evening concludes with the comedy Operation: Danger, also written by Nolan Harris, which follows the reluctant pairing of two secret agents who must foil the plot of an up-and-coming supervillain. Along with its many jokes and comedic elements, the play makes pointed commentary on political correctness and questions its potential effects on free speech. Senior Brian Grant, who plays lead Dash Danger in the show, emphasizes the differences between acting in plays directed by theatre teacher Dave Heywood and acting in student-directed shows: “Nolan, Yasmine, and Nick all had these visions that they want to be exactly this way. There’s a lot more that goes into the blocking and delivery, but I like that.”
The Spring Arts Festival also gives dancers the opportunity to take the spotlight. Juniors Audrie Hendricks and Kalen Epping perform a tap duet, which they independently choreographed and rehearsed at the request of Mr. Heywood. A high-octane routine, Hendricks and Epping bring an energy to the stage that is infectious and captivating to audience members of all ages and backgrounds. The festival also includes an original contemporary dance choreographed and performed by senior Gabby Connors.
No evening would be complete without the proper soundtrack to accompany it. The show includes performances by Black Hills’s jazz quintet, as well as an original song written by Nick Hall and performed by senior Guita Taheri. Additionally, audience members have the opportunity to walk through a photo gallery of work done by Mrs. Larson’s iDesign students before and after the show, as well as during intermission.
The wide variety of artistic talent at Black Hills High School that the Spring Arts Festival showcases is sure to impress audiences and provide something for all to enjoy during its final weekend of shows. “We’re going to bring a lot of energy and excitement to those two days,” actor Max Parker promises, “especially because it’s the last time a lot of us are going to be in theatre at Black Hills High School.” With only two exciting evenings left, stagehand Abraham Lopez has one piece of advice for the community: “Go see the plays- they’re good.”
Admission to the Spring Arts Festival is $5 for students and $8 for other audience members. Due to mature content presented during the shows, the evening has been rated PG-13.
Dancers Kalen Epping, Gabby Connors, and Audrie Hendricks (left to right) perform choreography of their own creation. (Photo Credit: Angel Davis, Black Hills Wolf Crier.)
By Gabby Connors