Fall theatre brings One Act and ‘A Night to Dismember’


Photo by Rachel Sina

Stage manager and senior Maddy Cuff takes notes during a rehearsal for “The White Snake.”

Maddy Schilling, Culture Editor

The leaves outside are changing color, homework assignments are starting to pile on and the essence of pumpkin spice is inescapable. These tell-tale signs of autumn also mean that Halloween is fast approaching and even though Appleton North’s haunted house “A Night to Dismember” is on its way, that isn’t the only thing that weighs on the minds of North drama students. October has come, and one act competition season is upon us.

This dual commitment happens nearly every year, however, as theatre alums know. The fall one act production and “A Night to Dismember” are both defining features of the theatre program, the former running its twentieth year at North and the latter its seventeenth. This year, Lightning theatre will perform its own rendition of Chicago-based playwright Mary Zimmerman’s “The White Snake,” the same production that inspired the spring straight play, only cut down to fit within forty minutes.

For “The White Snake,” precision is key, as even a second over forty minutes of performance could stifle North theatre’s journey from the district to the regional to the state competition level, and a less-than-stellar show might cost the state Critic’s Choice title that the program has held for the past seventeen consecutive years. All this and the construction of an entire house are on the shoulders of the theatre program.

As drama club officer and junior Margaux Pisciotta can attest, the workload is demanding and requires a certain level of time management skill. “Honestly, I’m not totally sure (how I manage), but time management is definitely the key for me,” admitted Pisciotta. “It’s all about making sure you use the time given to you to finish work. Also, I kept my work load manageable for me. Everyone has different work loads that they can handle, and doing too much work for you doesn’t seem to end well, ever.”

This fall, community members can expect a show chock full of Eastern philosophy, powerful yet humorous dialogue and the intricate staging and lightning-speed technical work that has won the respect of programs from across the state of Wisconsin. For a “Night to Dismember,” Pisciotta said, “Expect a really great time filled with all your favorite scary rooms. There will be plenty of zombies, creepy dolls, and clowns.”

With a free, public viewing of the one act in mid-November and the haunted house opening its doors Friday, Oct. 28 with $7 admission, students are encouraged to support their theatre peers by attending these events.