St. Paul students performs ‘How the West Was Dun’
Once a year, St. Paul Lutheran School students get to dress up and take to the stage to showcase their talents. Last month, the students performed “How the West Was Dun” before an audience.
“We picked the play because it had interesting characters, was a Western and was a lot of fun,” said seventh-grader Riley Cate, who played “Schizophrenic Kid.”
The 2000 western comedy by Christopher Gieschen is a melodrama that spoofs many Hollywood westerns and adds modern touches. It was set in the 1800s in “Low Humidity Chasm” and was produced by special arrangement with Pioneer Drama Services, Inc in Englewood, Colo.
The production gave the students another outlet for creativity, they said.
“It’s fun to pretend that you are someone else,” said eighth-grader Isabella Montgomery, who played Belle Starr and who also is involved with the Community Playhouse Theater group.
“It’s something we look forward to, and I love that we get to try acting,” said seventh-grader Bryn Swiston, who played Sarsaparilla Sal. “I’m looking forward to next year’s play and already researching what other plays are out there to choose from.”
The play features slick and wealthy Richard Coldheart who must marry Polly Wanda Cracker to control the Cracker property. However, it’s Polly’s homely sister, Prunella, who wants to marry him.
Meanwhile, the hero, Sheriff Wayne John, has his hands full surviving the antics of well-meaning but not too bright Deputy Doowrong. When a bundle of villains, including Snydley Dastardley, Kid Kid and Calamity Jan, attempt to take over Low Humidity Chasm, things really go askew.
For some students, the play also helped them grow personally.
“Being in the play helped me with stage fright and made me more confident talking in front of people,” said eighth-grader Grace Williams, who played Snydley Dastardly. “It was a great experience to be on stage and feel what it is like to be an actor.”
Townspeople: Sheriff Wayne John, Owen Jordan; Deputy Dudley, Jonah Gray; Widow Cracker, Laura Hetherman; Polly Wanda Cracker, Jocelyn Yang; Prunella Cracker, Michaela Draheim; Cowboy Bob Skratchit, Aaron Kohlmeier; Bo Best, Jacob Timmerman; Sarsaparilla Sal, Bryn Swiston; Rich Coldheart, Ethan Mehlberg.
Villains: Snydley Dastardley, Grace Williams; Belle Starr, Isabella Montgomery, Schizophrenic Kid, Riley Cate; Calamity Jan, Marina Hernandez; Kid Kid, Parker Soik; Black Bart, Sydney Lilienthal; Blacker Bart, Elijah Bartel.
Others: Reverend Right, Marshall Sallet; The Lone Stranger, Marshall Sallett; Band of Indianians, Jasmyne Longo and Madeleine Schneider.