Every year, high school students from across Minnesota compete in the Minnesota State High School One Act Play Festival. This year, William Kelley students presented an original composition by Paul Deaner, “Send”, as their one act.
Often relevant things are written after a writer experiences a difficult, traumatic, or otherwise life-changing event, and that appears to be the case for “Send”. Deaner began considering writing the play in April 2023 – one month after the “Active Shooter in the Building” meme was AirDropped in the William Kelley auditorium, where 500 students, community members, cast, crew, and staff were waiting for the opening of the student daytime production of Lake Superior Community Theatre’s The Diary of Anne Frank. The individual who AirDropped this meme was charged with one count of “Felony Threats of Violence – Reckless Disregard Risk” under Minnesota Statute 609.713. The meme is easily available on the popular meme generator site imgflip.
“Send” is based in part on that active shooter meme, which was shown in the course of the play, and is a collection of short situations – some serious, some cynical – that deal with various dangers posed by cell phone addiction, from internet predators to decreased health to general rudeness towards in-person interactions.
The cast played multiple editorial voices, characters, and situations, and was composed of Ollie Braun, Kartere, Vesper Robinson, Britta Swanson, Madeleine Swanson, Tanja Thomas, and Jack Virginia. Vesper Robinson played Margot Frank in The Diary of Anne Frank, and Jack Virginia played Peter, their experience with the performance that was canceled by the AirDrop meme lending authenticity and emotion to their performance in “Send”.
“Send” was first performed on January 23rd in Silver Bay, before traveling to Two Harbors High School on the 26th for the Minnesota State High School League Subsection 7A One Act Play Festival. Although William Kelley did not advance to section finals, Two Harbors High School did, finishing first in the subsection.
William Kelley has more events pertaining to the arts on their spring and summer schedule, though. March 11th, a music performance will be held at 6 p.m., and on April 15th, the coffeehouse concert will be held at 6 p.m.. May 13th, art, and music will be presented at the spring concert. Coming up in August, Storybook Theatre will return to Silver Bay with “Rapunzel”, a production for ages 7-18. Contact Michelle Ketola (218-220-0495) for more details on this.
Good work, William Kelley students, with “Send”; and thank you to all those behind the scenes who work hard to make theater possible for these students.