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Middle schoolers prepare for play production

Students at New Richmond Middle School are busy putting the finishing touches on "Don't Touch That Dial," this year's drama club production.

The show, performed by sixth, seventh and eighth grade students, is a comedy about two kids who get transported into the TV and have to find their way out.

The play is the second production for Director Amanda Soczka; Lisa Schmidt is also helping.

"I got involved with drama club for the first time last year and directed the musical Rumpelstiltskin," she said. "The three years prior a teacher from the high school came to the middle school and directed three different musicals."

This year, Soczka wanted to try something different and decided against a musical -- something that was welcomed by some of the drama club participants.

Eighth-graders Rachel Greaner and Megan Wefel joined drama club last year as part of the crew. Now, they're part of the cast, each playing two parts in the play -- a very different experience compared to last year.

As part of the crew, Greaner worked on the set and Wefel as a costumer.

"Costumes were fun, but a lot of the people just wanted to try the costumes on," she said. "What I really would like to be is stage manager."

The stage manager works with the director and is responsible for recording the director's decisions and notes for the actors, keeping track of logistical and scheduling details and communicating what goes on in rehearsals to the rest of the team. This allow the director to focus on directing.

"I just think that would be so fun," Wefel said. "I'll probably try to be that in high school, but I doubt they'll let a freshman be stage manager."

Greaner and Wefel decided to join drama club after participating in forensics.

"We did play acting in forensics and we really got into it," Greaner said.

The difference between forensics and drama club is the size of the cast, costumes and props, she said.

Both girls are looking forward to joining the high school drama club next year, they said.

"It was pretty fun to work on different sets and backgrounds," Greaner said. "But I think I'm going to try out for the cast again."

Forensics has helped prepare the girls for the upcoming weekend, they said.

Wefel said she's most nervous about performing in the costumes.

"It's going to be harder to move around," she said.

The middle school drama club performances are performed mainly for middle school students and fifth-graders, Soczka said. A free 2 p.m. matinee performance on Saturday is open to the public. All performances are at New Richmond High School's Little Theater.

Jackie Grumish
Jackie Grumish has been a reporter with the New Richmond News since 2008. She holds degrees in journalism and fine art from Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Ill. Before coming to New Richmond, Jackie worked as the city government reporter at a daily newspaper in Aberdeen, S.D. 
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