Nikiski thespians offer play on words

Posted: Wednesday, November 08, 2000

Last year, the drama, debate and forensics club at Nikiski Middle-Senior High School brought home three medals from state competition. This year, they are going to strut their stuff for a hometown audience.

Friday and Saturday, the club will present "Encore, Encore," an evening of comedy, reader's theater and pizza, at the high school auditorium.

"It is a great opportunity for the community to see the type of things the kids do at these competitions," said coach Joe Rizzo.

"It's a reader's theater format, so it's not like a regular play."

An ensemble cast of students will present skits by a variety of playwrights, especially focusing on the works of humorist Garrison Keillor.

Twenty students in grades nine through 12 are involved. The actors will use props, sound effects and costumes but will have scripts on stage as well. They have been working on the production since the beginning of the school year.

Rizzo is proud of his club and says it is chocked full of talent and energy.

"It is the only DDF program in the school district," he said.

The club formed three years ago, and its young team is growing in size and ability. This year it has 23 members, which is large for a school the size of Nikiski. Several of this year's juniors have been in the group since the beginning, Rizzo said.

Because the group has no competition on the peninsula, they travel about once a month to the Anchorage area for meets. This past weekend they attended the year's first meet, held at Chugiak. Against eight other schools, including some of Anchorage's largest, the team brought back four first places, including team awards in readers' theater and debate.

Their chief sponsor is Tesoro, which donates gas for their extensive travel.

"If it hadn't been for Tesoro, we would have had a tough time starting," Rizzo said.

The club has had great community support, he said, but not everyone knows what they really do. So he and the students arranged "Encore, Encore" to serve as a fun evening for ages 12 and up to see what the group does, get some classy entertainment and enjoy a pizza dinner in the bargain.

Show time is 7 p.m. The performance lasts about an hour and a half.

Admission is $4 at the door; members of the Parent Teacher Student Association get in for half price.

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