One Act

One Act
Posted on 12/07/2020
The Appleton North High School One-Act cast and crew will present a “send-off to State”
virtual performance of the classic play “Saint Joan” by Nobel Prize-winning playwright
George Bernard Shaw on Tuesday, December 8. The recorded performance will be streamed
at 7 p.m. from a link provided at www.appletonnorththeatre.org.

The 33 members of North’s cast and crew recently qualified for the 2020 Wisconsin High
School State Theatre Festival Final competition, which will be held online this year due to
the pandemic. Over 1000 high school students and directors representing 50+ schools across Wisconsin will participate in this year’s virtual festival, which requires each school to
present a fully-staged play of no longer than 40 minutes. Participating schools submitted
recordings of their performances for evaluation at both district and sectional meets in order
to qualify for state. Each qualifying school then prepares a final recording for evaluation by a
panel of four adjudicators during the Dec. 10-12 festival. The adjudicators decide on the
quality of each school’s production and what honors, if any, should be awarded. The
December 8 “Send-Off to State” performance is a showing of the recording that will be
evaluated at the state festival.

This is the twenty-second consecutive year North has qualified for the Wisconsin High
School Theatre Festival state finals. North High School one-act productions have also
received the top award of “Critics Choice” every year for the past twenty-one consecutive
years, the only high school in the 100+ year history of the festival to achieve such a
distinction.

Set in 15th-century France, “Saint Joan” tells the story of a peasant girl who claimed to hear
the voices of saints directing her to drive out the English. Joan’s stunning battlefield
victories, charisma, and her rejection of gender stereotypes begin to threaten the male dominated political and religious powers. She was ultimately betrayed, tried for heresy, and
burned at the stake. In the epilogue, set in 1920, ghosts from Joan’s past return to honor her canonization only to reject her once again.

George Bernard Shaw wrote “Saint Joan” to commemorate her canonization in 1920. This year marks the 100th anniversary of her sainthood. The play led to the playwright being awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.

North’s 40-minute cutting focuses on the medieval Joan’s surprisingly modern, visionary
views of gender fluidity and the absolute right of individual expression.

Due to the Appleton Area School District’s current fully virtual status, this year’s one-act was
prepared and presented on Zoom. Appleton North Theatre Director Ron Parker said, “There
were quite a few challenges creating this year’s one-act by using a video conferencing
format. Students were isolated in their own homes, and we had to work within the confines
of Zoom boxes on screen, which limited movement and didn’t allow for our normal
elaborate scenery and set up. Problems with wi-fi connectivity also had to be dealt with, but
the students rose to every challenge that presented itself, and together created a very
powerful and engaging piece of virtual theatre.”

The recorded performance will only be accessible for viewing on December 8 at 7 p.m. Visit
the Appleton North Theatre website for the link at www.appletonnorththeatre.org. The link
will become active at 6:30 p.m., with a countdown to the 7 p.m. show time. There is no
charge for viewing.