ARTS Blaine HS Clue.png

Blaine High School theater students are putting on a production of the classic murder mystery comedy “Clue” in a three-night event Feb. 26-28. The shows will be aired virtually each night as viewers laugh along while the cast tries to determine who committed the crime, where and with what.

The students of the Blaine High School Theater Department, in a video chat, with virtual detective work and comedic visuals.

The classic tale of “Clue” comes back to life with a new twist in a digital production put on by Blaine High School theater Feb. 26-28. The board game turned 1985 hit film features a band of characters trapped in a tale that blends murder mystery and roaring comedy, with Blaine students set to offer up their take for audiences to enjoy online.

“The students seem to be having a ton of fun,” Blaine theater director Andrew Rakerd said. “They’re really diving into playing a zany cast of characters and have been working super hard. They’ve also been really patient and flexible as we work together to experiment and explore how we can use the technology to our advantage.” 

The show offers a mystery element, one which often leads to laughs. Comedy that audience members will be able to enjoy, and that the cast has embraced as well.

“I really think they appreciate the social interaction,” Rakerd said. “A lot of these students have been friends for years, and they’re sharing a lot of laughs together. When someone gets ‘murdered’ in the play, I have to keep reminding students, ‘Hey! You’re not allowed to giggle during this death scene! You have to pretend it’s very serious!’ It’s a lot of fun!”

The comedic nature of the show and the classic mystery storyline made for an obvious selection that has offered a chance for students to interact, albeit from afar.

“It’s hilarious, it’s got some great characters, and it’s got the mystery element as well,” Rakerd said. “We caught word that Broadway Licensing was producing a stay-at-home version, and since we’re trying to find ways to make theater happen safely in the pandemic, this was a no-brainer.”

“The shows went better than expected for sure!” Blaine cast member Abby Ball said. “I wasn’t quite set on the whole virtual show and didn’t know how a virtual production would work — we didn’t get the bond between the cast as much as we normally do; however, I still had a blast putting them on. I can’t wait to see how ‘Clue’ turns out after the recording and editing. I think these shows displayed the importance of cast bonding. There is a different chemistry between people that you can’t get online. However, I think that these shows were important lessons on never giving up and the age-old slogan ‘The show must go on.’ I didn’t have much hope for my theater season after last March, but now I am glad I took the leap because, despite the hardships, I learned valuable lessons and had a really good time!”

While virtual theater isn’t the preferred setting for putting on a show, it has provided unique opportunities, such as different visuals and even the opportunity to be an audience member of one’s own performance.

“I know I had the most fun with the virtual backgrounds,” Ball said. “When we rehearsed, the cast would switch up the backgrounds periodically throughout. We have had Claire’s, Fleet Farm, Target, Best Buy and a whole bunch of other fun backgrounds that we bonded over as a cast. I’m excited to see the show in general. It’s not often that a member of the cast gets to see the show — having a virtual production you get the best of both worlds, not only being an integral part of being in the show, but also enjoying the final production as an audience member. I look forward to seeing the production’s final product and just sharing this experience with my fellow cast members.” 

“We’re presenting this show as a visual radio drama,” Rakerd said. “You’ll be able to see the actors and characters, but since it’s over a Zoom Meet, the visuals of it won’t be totally realistic. But, it’s been really fun trying to get creative about how we present it to the audience. To represent some of the more physical bits, we are using a narrator and sound effects. We’re even using virtual backgrounds to help tell the story. Meckenna Holman, our tech director, got permission to take photos of Winona’s historic Alexander Mansion, so you’ll see photos of the mansion’s interior making up a lot of the set locations in our play.”

“Clue” will be the second performance for the Blaine High School theater department this school year, after a virtual one act in the fall.

“I think the show in the fall went as well as it could have,” Blaine cast member Ethan Virkus said. “It was odd to navigate acting when the chance of technology problems is higher.

“I have learned that virtual shows really rely on facial expressions and upper body movements. So it’s really fun to try out new actions and see what looks best on camera. I think the use of green screens is really fun! You can make the set so much better than it can be in person, because you can use photos instead of building. It’s a good change from our fall show which just used our bedrooms as a set.”

“Both have been digital so far,” Rakerd said. “It’s not quite as much fun without performing in front of a live audience, but it’s been great fun going through this new creative project with the students. I hope they’ve been able to see it as a unique learning opportunity to explore different ways that theater can be represented. Also, currently our hope is that we’ll be able to have the students get together in person for our spring musical in April and May — fingers crossed. That would definitely be a great conclusion to a challenging year!”

Shows are at 7 p.m. Feb 26-28. Tickets are $10. Tickets can be bought and the performances can be viewed live at tinyurl.com/yrh4ryx2. The play does contain some moments of mild violence and terror.

For more information, contact Meckenna Holman at meckenna.holman@ahschools.us or Andrew Rakerd at andrew.rakerd@ahschools.us.

“The students seem to be having a ton of fun,” Blaine theater director Andrew Rakerd said. “They’re really diving into playing a zany cast of characters and have been working super hard. They’ve also been really patient and flexible as we work together to experiment and explore how we can use the technology to our advantage.” The show offers a mystery element, one which often leads to laughs. Comedy that audience members will be able to enjoy, and that the cast has embraced as well.“I really think they appreciate the social interaction,” Rakerd said. “A lot of these students have been friends for years, and they’re sharing a lot of laughs together. When someone gets ‘murdered’ in the play, I have to keep reminding students, ‘Hey! You’re not allowed to giggle during this death scene! You have to pretend it’s very serious!’ It’s a lot of fun!”The comedic nature of the show and the classic mystery storyline made for an obvious selection that has offered a chance for students to interact, albeit from afar.“It’s hilarious, it’s got some great characters, and it’s got the mystery element as well,” Rakerd said. “We caught word that Broadway Licensing was producing a stay-at-home version, and since we’re trying to find ways to make theater happen safely in the pandemic, this was a no-brainer.”“The shows went better than expected for sure!” Blaine cast member Abby Ball said. “I wasn’t quite set on the whole virtual show and didn’t know how a virtual production would work — we didn’t get the bond between the cast as much as we normally do; however, I still had a blast putting them on. I can’t wait to see how ‘Clue’ turns out after the recording and editing. I think these shows displayed the importance of cast bonding. There is a different chemistry between people that you can’t get online. However, I think that these shows were important lessons on never giving up and the age-old slogan ‘The show must go on.’ I didn’t have much hope for my theater season after last March, but now I am glad I took the leap because, despite the hardships, I learned valuable lessons and had a really good time!”While virtual theater isn’t the preferred setting for putting on a show, it has provided unique opportunities, such as different visuals and even the opportunity to be an audience member of one’s own performance.“I know I had the most fun with the virtual backgrounds,” Ball said. “When we rehearsed, the cast would switch up the backgrounds periodically throughout. We have had Claire’s, Fleet Farm, Target, Best Buy and a whole bunch of other fun backgrounds that we bonded over as a cast. I’m excited to see the show in general. It’s not often that a member of the cast gets to see the show — having a virtual production you get the best of both worlds, not only being an integral part of being in the show, but also enjoying the final production as an audience member. I look forward to seeing the production’s final product and just sharing this experience with my fellow cast members.” “We’re presenting this show as a visual radio drama,” Rakerd said. “You’ll be able to see the actors and characters, but since it’s over a Zoom Meet, the visuals of it won’t be totally realistic. But, it’s been really fun trying to get creative about how we present it to the audience. To represent some of the more physical bits, we are using a narrator and sound effects. We’re even using virtual backgrounds to help tell the story. Meckenna Holman, our tech director, got permission to take photos of Winona’s historic Alexander Mansion, so you’ll see photos of the mansion’s interior making up a lot of the set locations in our play.”“Clue” will be the second performance for the Blaine High School theater department this school year, after a virtual one act in the fall.“Both have been digital so far,” Rakerd said. “It’s not quite as much fun without performing in front of a live audience, but it’s been great fun going through this new creative project with the students. I hope they’ve been able to see it as a unique learning opportunity to explore different ways that theater can be represented. Also, currently our hope is that we’ll be able to have the students get together in person for our spring musical in April and May — fingers crossed. That would definitely be a great conclusion to a challenging year!”Shows are at 7 p.m. Feb 26-28. Tickets are $10. Tickets can be bought and the performances can be viewed live at tinyurl.com/yrh4ryx2. The play does contain some moments of mild violence and terror.For more information, contact Meckenna Holman at meckenna.holman@ahschools.us or Andrew Rakerd at andrew.rakerd@ahschools.us.patrick.slack@apgecm.com

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