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All hands on deck as Cedar Catholic prepares for One Act competition

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HARTINGTON — The Cedar Catholic one-act play is a come one, come all production.

There’s the veterans like Jeremiah Polak - a senior who has participated in one-act all four years of his high school career. But there’s a large number of freshman and newcomers this year that have never been involved before. Crew members from past years have switched to join the cast and vice versa.

“It’s a really cool thing to see since a lot of very different people come together to form the cast and crew yet every year we always come out as one unified team,” said Senior Elena Paltz.

That’s something that drives One-Act Coach Audrey Freeman year after year.

“I work with a variety of kids. Kids who don’t want any lines and kids who want to be the star of the show. They come from all different social groups. You see what it’s like to put it together from beginning to end and the success that they feel - that’s very rewarding,” she said.

This year’s production of the Greek myth “Persephone” will feature 40 actors and 20 crew and tells the story of Hades, god of Death, who kidnaps Persephone, goddess of life and spring, and brings her into the underworld.

“It’s a lot of kids but it’s a great group of kids and I can’t complain,” Freeman said.

Polak and Paltz both play dead people in the play, or as Freeman affectionately calls them “The Talking Dead.”

“I mainly sleep during the whole thing because as a dead person we like to sleep for the rest of our eternal lives,” Polak said.

Senior Olivia Hamilton plays Demeter, the god of Earth.

“Demeter is a very aggressive character and has to have everything her way,” she said.

Senior Cadyn Uttecht plays the narrator and said the audience should enjoy the comedy bits of the play.

“I also find it really cool how many people we have on stage at a time this year,” Uttecht said.

Freeman doesn’t want to give too much away because the audience should experience the play for themselves. The public performance - Snacks and a Show - will be at 7 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 14, at the school.

“I have some crew who really have taken over some set building on their own,” she said. “And the casting is on point. There’s a beautiful ensemble effect that plays to the strength of students.”

It’s exciting to host a larger audience this year as limits were placed on performances last year due to COVID-19. In fact, the entire senior class was quarantined for district oneact competition last year and Freeman had to rely on other students to fill in on stage at the last minute.

“The show must go on,” she said, adding that last year’s scrambled team placed fifth at districts.

Paltz said she hopes all of the hard work shows through at the public performance, and both the conference and district competitions this year.

“While the practices get long and tiring, it is always worth it in the end when we finally perform in front of an audience or at a competition,” Paltz said. “Something that the audience doesn’t always get to see is how the oneact team builds off each other and bonds during practices. I think the audience will really enjoy some of our main characters’ performances. We’ve got one talented leads this year. A lot of the parts come very naturally to them and sometimes it’s hard to tell which bits are them acting and which are them just being themselves.”

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