Aberdeen Community Theatre's cast of eight is preparing for local performances of Perfectly Normal & Healthy before it takes this one-act comedy on the road to Salina, Kan., and the American Association of Community Theatre's Region V festival (AACTFest).
This biennial festival cycle includes state festivals, 10 regionals and a national festival. Perfectly Normal & Healthy was awarded Best of Festival at the South Dakota state festival and advances to the Region V event in Kansas.
ACT is excited to be representing South Dakota at this festival, said Jim Walker, ACT artistic/managing director. It is important to get the cast in front of an audience before we perform at the next festival level. Help us prepare by attending the show.
Performances are at 8 p.m. Monday through Wednesday at the Capitol Theatre. 415 S. Main St.
Three ACT veteran actors are no strangers to this festival cycle.
Mark Anderson has been involved on stage, backstage or in the audience for every festival for 20 years. Anderson plays Minneville Junior High Superintendent Gerald Mortimer.
In 2007, Anderson played Turkey in ACT's festival production of Honk! This production was awarded Best of Festival at state and Region V and was awarded Best in Festival third place at the national. It then was invited to perform at the World Festival of Children's Performing Arts in Toyama, Japan.
In 2009, Anderson was light board operator for ACT's festival one-hour cutting of How to Talk Minnesotan: the Musical, which was awarded Best of Festival at state and Region V and performed at the national.
He enjoys the festival experiences because they create an opportunity to stimulate growth in the skill levels of all volunteers in a community theater setting. We all want to do our best to represent our communities well. This is my seventh festival show as a participant, going back to 1993. 1 have also attended three other state festivals and one regional.
I thank our community for the strong support it has given ACT in the past and hopefully long into the future. Festivals provide a great forum to see many quality productions in one setting, Anderson said.
Curt Campbell plays Minneville Junior High guidance counselor Garry Herman, a throwback to touchy-feely counselors of the 1980s.
Campbell played Drake in Honk! that moved through the 2007 festival cycle and, ultimately, performed in Toyama, Japan.
He thinks being a part of AACTFest is incredibly exciting. This is the second time I've been fortunate enough to participate in the festival process, and it's the best sort of challenge. It combines the excitement of performing in a competition with the challenge of taking a show literally 'on the road.' It's a thrill to be involved.
Nicole Christiansen plays Melanie Grissom, a teacher at the school and a Minneville Community Theater volunteer. This is the second time Christiansen has been involved with an ACT AACTFest show.
In 2009, she played Darlene Humde in How to Talk Minnesotan: The Musical.
She is proud and excited to represent ACT and Aberdeen at the regional competition. Being involved in the festival cycle allows me to learn more about acting, community theater and theater in general. It is an eye-opening experience to watch other community theaters from the region and nation to see what they have to offer.
Lori Harmel plays Minneville school nurse Lorna Tysdale. On April 2 at DakotaFest '11, Harmel was awarded outstanding performance for her portrayal of Tysdale.
In 1997, she played a thug in ACT's Jesus on the Oil Tank, which performed at the state festival.
This cast and crew has a great time together and we're very proud to represent ACT regionwide, Harmel said. I enjoy meeting volunteers from other theaters and participating in educational workshops. Those experiences allow us to bring new and creative ideas back to ACT.
Brian T. Schultz is the show's director and technical director and designed the show. In 2007, he played Ugly in ACT's award-winning festival production of Honk. In 2009, he was awarded best actor at the national AACTFest for his portrayal of Russ Renner in ACT's How to Talk Minnesotan: The Musical.
The festival process has been endlessly rewarding, Schultz said. There are things that I have learned that I have implemented here. I've come to realize how very fortunate we are to have the caliber of talent and loyalty in our volunteers, as well as the support of the community.
'Perfectly Normal and Healthy' has been a surreal experience, Schultz said. When we first sat down to write this script, we never imagined it would get this far. Because it's an original show, it feels very much like we're a group of mischievous kids putting on a play in our backyard. Please come support these volunteers in their efforts to entertain you.
Marilyn Burckhard holds all the show's technical roles - assistant director. stage manager, costumes, props and light board operator. She has been involved in festival productions behind-the-scenes for the past 12 years. Burckhard was the Honk! assistant director, stage manager and props mistress in 2007.
She loves being involved with AACTFest as it's so rewarding. Everyone works very hard to perform the best show possible. Meeting people from community theaters around the country and being able to watch their shows and attend the festival workshops are not only enjoyable, but a very valuable learning tool for everyone in attendance.
Tickets: $10 for 2011 ACT members and $12 for nonmembers. They are available at ACT's office, 417 S. Main St., from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Wednesday or at the Capitol Theatre, 415 S. Main St., beginning at 7 each evening. All seats are general admission.
If you cannot attend this production but would like to support ACT's efforts to represent Aberdeen in this festival, send a tax-deductible contribution to ACT, PO Box 813, Aberdeen, SD 57402-0813.