Philip High School one-act play a real farce

“I am not a klepto!” ... Businesswoman Loni Nelson makes undercover cop John Hanes and patrol woman Shelby Bergeson run for cover even though Nelson is handcuffed to a park bench. Three loonies have escaped from the mental ward and they could be anyone, even the police or the paramedic or the male model or ....

The Philip High School one-act play "Loonies and Snatchers" will be performed for the Philip-area community on Sunday, January 13th, at 3:00 p.m. in the Fine Arts Building.

The farce begins with an undercover policeman posing as an old woman in order to catch a purse snatcher. He quickly nabs, not one, but two, suspects and handcuffs them to a park bench. Adding to the situation, three patients have escaped from the mental ward of the local hospital. Then the impersonated old lady disobeys orders and arrives at her favorite park bench to read. A hospital guard and a paramedic add to the confusion. Karate, purse swinging, shoe throwing, umbrella dueling and bench lifting all soon ensue. Who is mental, if not everyone?

Michelle Van Tassel, as a park custodian, introduces the setting and concludes the action. John Hanes, high heels and all, is the undercover cop. Colby Smith and her "friend" are joggers running from a vicious dog. Loni Nelson is a businesswoman who gets stuck with a tied-up male model, Cecil Heeb. Old lady Brandy Bartels first dies, then faints and then swings a mean purse. Jesse Manke argues the relativity of purse snatching, while Dallas Lamm tries to keep his dog on a leash. Policewoman Shelby Bergeson, hospital guard Jennifer Stangle and paramedic Abby Carley try to impose some kind of sanity to the bedlam, but end up only elevating the craziness. Stage assistant Colton Nickelson and understudy Zane Pekron assist director Laura O'Connor in organizing the wackiness.

After the community performance, the Philip High School cast and crew will compete against five other schools on Wednesday, January 16th, in Pierre. Those schools are Wall, Kadoka, Sully Buttes, White River and Plankinton. Two of the six schools will earn the right to go on to the state competition.

The state one-act play competition will be January 31st through February 2nd in Aberdeen. This year, the "B" schools will perform comedies, while the "A" schools will perform serious plays.

Each play must be no longer than 45 minutes in length, which includes the stage set-up and stage-strike time. The Philip one-act has just two park benches and a metal garbage can for its set. Everything else is part of the costuming or is a prop carried on stage by the characters.