CHISHOLM — A team of thespians from Chisholm High School won a first place award at the Minnesota State High School League’s Section 7A competition last Saturday at Hibbing Community College. The young actors and actresses are now looking forward to competing at the State One Act Festival on Thursday at St. Catherine’s University in St. Paul.
The CHS team won the award for performing “The Balkan Women,” a powerful play by Jules Tasca about the journey of Muslim women in a Serbian detainee camp during the 1990’s Bosnian conflict.
“We are all very excited,” said CHS drama director Megan Zubich on Monday.
A one-act team from CHS hasn’t competed in the state competition since 1983, Zubich said. The upcoming performance is the first time in 36 years and the fifth time overall that the team set out to compete on the statewide stage.
There are 16 students listed on the case and crew, and an additional five who are in charge of lights, sound, and set changes.
Seniors involved in the production are actors Cade Klimek and Aubrey Zgonc, and crew members Jaxen Current and Ben Unhjem.
“I think the biggest takeaway is how much we owe to Ms. Zubich, she really helped us put on a great production,” said Klimek, who portrays the character of Colonel Herack. Getting to the state competition has been a long-time goal for him and his fellow actors. Klimek added: “It’s something special to achieve it. It’s just really a cool honor.”
To prepare for the production, Zubich said she received input from Stoja Zjalic, a CHS graduate, who fled the Yugoslav Wars in the 1990s. Zjalic ended up thanking her countless times for “educating our youth on a past a lot of people had to live through,” said Zubic, who believes the play’s political messages should be heard today.
“The play sends the messages that governments divided by conflicting beliefs surrounding race, religion, and gender lead to serious consequences,” Zubich said.
The drama director also shared the exceptional circumstances that led to CHS taking first place at the MSHL competition: it’s generally the team with the lowest combined rankings from the three judges that advance to state; however, any team that receives a first place ranking from the majority of judges automatically advances.
In this instance, the CHS team was fortunate to receive a first place ranking from the majority of judges, thus defeating Eveleth-Gilbert, the team with the lowest combined ranking.
A send-off for the state-bound team is scheduled for 1:05 p.m. Wednesday in the CHS Auditorium. The event is free of charge and open to the public.
The CHS one act team is set to be the first performance of the One Act Festival at 9:15 a.m. Thursday. Tickets for the festival will be sold at the O’Shaughnessy Ticket office on the campus of St. Catherine University in St. Paul. A complete list of play times and ticket information is available on the MHSL website at www.mshsl.org.
Sendoff for CHS One Act team
When: 1:05 p.m. Wednesday, Feb.6
Where: Chisholm High School Auditorium
Cost: Admission is free