Company strives for authenticity with play

Set, costumes crew work to convey sensitive subject through performance

Maggie Klaers and Sofia Seewald

With little Auditorium availability in December, theater director Jodi Hatzenbeller said Winter One Act crew members have been busy preparing for the performances and competition of “The Amish Project.”

“The crew has been hard at work over break primarily because we couldn’t access the Auditorium space during December because there were so many concerts going on,” Hatzenbeller said.

“So they’ve been working to build the platforms and the wall pieces that create the schoolhouse within the story,” Hatzenbeller said.

According to costumes crew member junior Morgan Graves, the costumes crew is trying to ensure all characters have a good quality costume.

“We are busy working on assembling five Amish dresses, and we are pulling a bunch of costumes from our racks for all the other characters in the show,” Graves said.

Hatzenbeller said finding factually accurate Amish costumes has been difficult and the costumes crew has resorted to making the costumes itself.

“It has been a challenge for the costumes crew because we’re trying to make Amish costumes as authentically as possible, which means we’re sewing things from scratch in many cases,” Hatzenbeller said.

According to Graves, the Amish dresses have been adapted from a store-bought pattern that resembles the traditional and modest style of Amish clothing.

“We purchased a fabric pattern from the store that was the most easily adaptable pattern to the Amish style,” Graves said. “They don’t have any hardware on their clothing. There’s no zippers or buttons, and they’re also very conservative so we picked a pattern that very easily fit that criteria.”

Senior set crew member Lindsey Epstein said it was difficult for the crew to create a new type of set platform that works with the actors.

“For this show, we have interlocking platforms, which is something we haven’t done before, so we had to make all of the platforms from scratch,” Epstein said.

According to Hatzenbeller, the requirements for the competition add on to the checklist of things the crew needs to accomplish.

A portion of the current Winter One Act show will compete at Edina High School Jan. 22 in the local One Act subsection competition.

“The time constraint for this show is definitely a huge impact on what we get done and how we get it done,” Hatzenbeller said. “Also because it’s a competition show, we have to make (the set) portable and it all has to fit into a 10 foot by 10 foot space.”

Epstein said it was challenging to design the set to correctly depict the appearance of old Amish buildings.

“Something really difficult was just the initial building of the platforms and planning out how they were going to look and how the entire set was going to look,” Lindsey said. “We tried to imitate the older style Amish buildings by using old weathered boards and stuff like that.”

Hatzenbeller said the theater program’s goal is to portray “The Amish Project” storyline in the best way possible.

“This one has been challenging, because we have to find ways to make connections and find sort of the humanity of a piece like this,” Hatzenbeller said.

“The Amish Project” will be performed Jan. 18, 19 and 20 in the Auditorium, then performed Jan. 22 at Edina High School for the one-act subsection competition.