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Tradition of talent

State-winning Nikiski team stages another performance

Posted: Thursday, March 31, 2005

 

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  Members of the Nikiski High School drama, debate and forensics team rehearse "Presidential Blues Off," a spoof of the 2004 presidential election written by Garrison Keillor of "A Prairie Home Companion" radio show. From left are coach Joe Rizzo, Paul Morin, J.R. Cox, Tyler Payment, Josh Ball and Sharon Miller. The piece is part of the team's "Encore, Encore" performance this weekend. Photo by Jenny Neyman

Members of the Nikiski High School drama, debate and forensics team rehearse "Presidential Blues Off," a spoof of the 2004 presidential election written by Garrison Keillor of "A Prairie Home Companion" radio show. From left are coach Joe Rizzo, Paul Morin, J.R. Cox, Tyler Payment, Josh Ball and Sharon Miller. The piece is part of the team's "Encore, Encore" performance this weekend.

Photo by Jenny Neyman

As the saying goes, breaking up is hard to do, and so is getting together, in some cases. But when watching these scenarios play out on stage, the couple's misery becomes the audience's entertainment.

These topics and others will be lampooned in performances by the Nikiski High School drama, debate and forensics team in an "Encore, Encore" production Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. at Nikiski Middle-Senior High School. Tickets are $5 at the door.

"Encore, Encore" is becoming a tradition for the team. It's a fund-raiser to help pay for travel expenses to meets and an opportunity for the team to show off its talent. Unlike basketball or similar activities, there are no DDF meets at the school or even on the Kenai Peninsula, so these performances are the only chance the community has to see what the team does, short of driving to Anchorage.

"It's a way for the kids to show the community some of the really neat stuff they do up at the competitions," said coach Joe Rizzo.

 

Josh Ball and Tatiana Butler perform "Just One Of Those Things," by Garrison Keillor, a piece about the sparks of love igniting in unlikely couples.

Photo by Jenny Neyman

The Nikiski team has claimed state medals in several events in the past few years, and this year promises to be no different, Rizzo said.

"A lot of the pieces that we're doing have a really good chance of getting state medals," he said.

The team has prepared mainly humorous pieces for this show, and they're different than the ones presented in the last "Encore, Encore" show in December. This time there's a comedic reader's theater exploring the heartbreak of ending relationships and a piece by Garrison Keillor of "A Prairie Home Companion" radio show exhibiting some of the equally awkward moments that happen in budding relationships.

Another piece by Keillor lampoons the players in the 2004 presidential election, setting their campaign platforms to music in a "Presidential Blues Off."

A world apart, soundwise, from the musical piece are a few mimes the students have prepared, including one where two brothers' "Star Wars"-watching marathon degenerates into a light saber battle.

"This show actually is funnier and is more visual in nature," Rizzo said. "There's more duet acting pieces, rather than just interpretive pieces."

 

Paul Morin pretends to be a "star Wars" fighter pilot while J.R. Cox is his transportation in a mime the two are doing for the "Encore, Encore" performance this weekend.

Photo by Jenny Neyman

The show does have its serious moments, too, including a chilling reader's theater excerpt from "The Stepford Wives."

With the state DDF meet set for April 14-16, "Encore, Encore" gives team members a chance to practice their pieces before an audience and, likewise, incentive to polish them before the last minute.

Another event on the team's agenda before the state competition is working with the new DDF team in Homer. Nikiski team members will be in Homer on April 7 and 8 to work with the Homer High School team, perform in an "Encore, Encore" fund-raiser for Homer's team and do a mock debate about whether Homer should secede from the borough.



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