Kaisa Drew and Samuel Wolfsberg perform in their one-act play, “House Manager,” which
garnered second place in the State One Act Production Competition. Photo Courtesy LAPS
Three members of the Los Alamos High School Olions garnered second place in the Sparta division of the 2021 New Mexico Activities Association State High School One-Act Production Competition. Senior Kaisa Drew and Junior Samuel Wolfsberg performed “House Manager” by Greg Vovos. In this comedy about theatre and life, a house manager has trouble closing up the theatre for the day when a persistent audience member refuses to leave. Senior Kari Mason was the director.
This year’s competition was held virtually in late January. Jason Rutledge is the sponsor of the school’s Thespian Club. “I am so proud of how these students have worked so hard to keep theater in their lives in such a challenging time,” said Rutledge. “I thought the selection of ‘House Manager’ was a great choice due to the limitations we were having in the Fall. Finding a work written for the Zoom medium was amazing. I am so proud of the cast and their director, Kari, for making bold choices and putting forward quality characters.”
“I played Amelia in the show, a mysterious woman who refuses to leave the theatre. When Eugene (Wolfsberg), the house manager, asks her to leave, they get to talking and it is revealed that Amelia is Eugene’s dead mother,” explained Drew. “Amelia has come to Eugene in a time of uncertainty for him while his son is in the hospital and convinces Eugene to once again believe in the good in the world, something he hadn’t done since his mother passed.”
“It certainly had me tearing up a bit the first time we read through, which was actually just a week before we were set to record the show,” she continued. “We were initially going to do the play ‘Bloody Mary’ by the same author, but our director, Kari, decided that play wouldn’t transfer as well into the online format. Making the switch on short notice was difficult but definitely the right choice. I am very proud of the work we produced.”
“As Kaisa has mentioned, the original plan was to put on ‘Bloody Mary’,” noted Mason. “It was a show that was chosen the previous year and never performed due to COVID. Unfortunately, it did not translate well to a virtual zoom performance. After realizing this, I contacted the writer to see if he had any shows that would fit our format better since I loved the style of our previous show. Mr. Vovos was glad to help and directed me to some of his other one-acts. After reading through a couple of his shows, I knew that ‘House Manager’ was the right choice. The roles fit Kaisa and Sam well and I liked the themes that ‘House Manager’ had to offer. The connection between the characters in the show is genuine and heartwarming.
“Directing ‘House Manager’ was definitely an adventure,” Mason added. “We had very limited time, and this was really our first time trying to put on a show through Zoom. We had to get creative with filming locations and getting across the same kind of feeling we would have felt in person in a virtual setting. Although it was hard, we worked diligently and pulled it off. Kaisa and Sam did a wonderful job and I am proud of what we accomplished together.”
The LAHS Olions are preparing for their next performance [title of show] in March, a musical that follows two young men named Jeff and Hunter, who make the decision to write an original musical and submit it to a theater festival. The catch is that the festival is in three weeks. They gather their actress friends Susan and Heidi and they hire a pianist named Larry to put the show together. With their team assembled, they work together to create a musical about creativity, imagination and growing together as friends.
“I feel the cast I have for this musical is absolutely wonderful,” noted Rutledge. “When we sat down last semester in our student board meeting to make a final decision on what we would do in the Spring, we knew we wanted something with a small cast so we could stage it in smart, safe ways to allow for social distancing without detracting from the narrative of the work. When [title of show] was put forth, I feel we all knew we had a winner. The show is smart and funny; it’s a simple story about relationships and how even through trying times and circumstances, community and family will overcome adversity.”
Performances will be 7 pm on March 11-13 and 18-20. Tickets may be purchased for $10 for regular tickets and $5 for students at: https://www.onthestage.com/show/los-alamos-high-school/title-of-show-40816/
Cast members include:
Jeff: Elijah Hanks
Hunter: Samuel Wolfsberg
Heidi: Kari Mason
Susan: Elise Ovaska
Understudy (Heidi): Samantha Brown
Understudy (Susan): Emily Scott
Pianist/Understudy (Jeff and Hunter): Alexander Waters
This show does contain flashing lights.
Photo caption: Kaisa Drew and Samuel Wolfsberg perform their one act, “House Manager,” which garnered 2nd place in the State One Act Competition.