Buffalo High School’s One Act Play, Watermelon Hill, earned the highest honor possible, a Starred Performance at the State Festival, on February 7th at Saint Catherine’s University. The award is the first Starred Performance for Buffalo in four years.
The moment was a dream come true for Senior Amanda Krinke, who had been denied trips to State the past two years.
“None of us expected to win,” Krinke said. “We did not expect to go forward. And so being able to my senior year has been just an incredible experience. And it was everything that I thought it would be and more. We ended up having a really good time. We stayed overnight in a hotel, we got to experience various different levels of theater, we saw some really good shows, we saw some really bad shows, and it was fun to be able to use the analytical part of our brains when being at One Act versus feeling anxious. We were able to enjoy ourselves more and focus on enjoying other shows and it overall was just a really great time.”
While everyone gets to see and enjoy the actors’ performances, an equally important performance is being put on backstage by the technicians. This job includes lighting, sound, set changes, the building of the set, and more. A technician’s job, already full of stress, has even more riding on it considering the time limits of the One Act competition.
“So you have everything in a square,” said Freshman Adam Gusel. “And then immediately before your show, you’re able to move everything up just before the starting line. And then they start your time and you move everything out onto stage and you have 10 minutes to get everything set up and then just kind of go for it.”
The path to state began with taking a full-length play, and cutting it down to fit a time limit.
“So in Watermelon Hill, for instance, that’s like a two hour play that we cut down to 35 minutes. So you just kind of start with things that don’t need to be there,” said Gusel. “When [Watermelon Hill] started out, there were like, four scenes that were all about White Castle. And so we started by just cutting out big chunks like that. And then by the end, you’re just like, ‘Okay, we can remove this word from this line.’ Just shorten it down by a couple seconds. So it really starts in big chunks and moves down into little pieces.”
All of these students’ hard work paid off in their performances. In the end, they were able to create an incredible production that helped them to win the Sub-Sectional and Sectional competition, sending them to State.
And while Buffalo One Act was able to have a very successful season, Krinke said what really mattered was the culmination of everyone’s hard work and talents into a wonderful show.
“We did that,” said Krinke. “We created a moving emotional piece of art that affected people on a personal level. And that’s the kind of gift that you don’t get every day.”