The cast of Dassel-Cokato High School’s One-Act play Flowers for Algernon placed second at subsections
Jan. 30 and will advance to section finals at Delano High School Saturday, Feb. 6. There will be free public performance 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 4 at the Dassel-Cokato Performing Arts Center.
The cast of the Dassel-Cokato One-Act play “Flowers for Algernon” centers on Charlie Gordon, a mentally challenged 32-year-old man, who is chosen by a team of scientists to undergo an experimental surgery designed to boost his intelligence. Charlie is played by Dassel-Cokato Senior Isaac Olson, who is no stranger to this type of character having performed a similar character with Buddy Layman, in the crowd-pleasing community theatre play “The Diviners” when he was just a freshman.
Alice Kinnian, played by Natalie Dahlin, is Charlie’s teacher at a state institution for the mentally challenged and recommends Charlie for the experiment because of his eagerness to learn.
The directors of the experiment, Dr. Strauss, played by Ethan Langemo, and Professor Nemur, played by Henry Von Ohlen, asks Charlie to keep a journal. The entire narrative of Flowers for Algernon is composed of the “progress reports” that Charlie writes, explained the one-act play’s director James Frickstad.
This is Frickstad’s first time directing a one-act play. He chose this production because he saw it performed once before. Though, in his opinion he found it to be substandard, he could see the potential in it.
Instead, he put his own creative twist to it by making it more abstract by adding maze walls and even a test mouse (not a live one).
“It’s never been put on this way,” he said.
He also had to cut quite a bit in order for it to be within the one-act timeframe of 35 minutes or less. One of the cuts had to be a part of the ending, which included the flowers in the play’s namesake.
For Olson, playing Charlie has been very interesting, but difficult at the same time. “It’s difficult to show the progression of the character as far as his mental stability,” Olson said, noting that he is portraying it with both his voice and body movements.
Throughout the rehearsal process, Frickstad has been impressed with his students and how well they take direction. “I can say with100-percent confidence we have quite the mature and professional group of kids here,” he said. “I’m excited to see what they can do at competition.”