Middle schoolers planning play audience won’t forget

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Ruby Koeller (left) takes on the lead role of the princess in the MFL MarMac Middle School play “Princess Who?” which will be performed in the high school auditorium, in Monona, on Friday and Saturday, March 22 and 23. Showings will be held at 7 p.m. each night. Here, the princess seeks help from Snow White (Hailee Corlett) in order to recover her memory. (Photos by Audrey Posten)

Hansel (Abe Hanson) and Gretel (Hannah Bogdonovich) are among the fairy tale characters the princess encounters during “Princess Who?”

Jonah Wille (left) and Holden Mathis portray two of the seven dwarves in this fun fairy tale adventure.

By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times

Although the story line is based around amnesia, audiences will find it hard to forget this year’s MFL MarMac Middle School play. Students will present the fun-filled mystery “Princess Who?” this Friday and Saturday, March 22 and 23, with 7 p.m. showings each night in the high school auditorium in Monona. 

Written by Brian D. Taylor, “Princess Who?” is about a princess who loses her memory, explained seventh grader Ruby Koeller, who plays the lead role. 

After waking up alone, in a forest, “she goes through different fairy tales to find it again,” Koeller said. 

With each scene, the princess encounters a new group of well-known fairy tale characters, such as Goldilocks and the Three Bears, Hansel and Gretel, Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, and Rumpelstiltskin. 

“The fairy tale characters try to help [the princess remember],” said the play’s assistant director, Ralph Hill. 

The incorporation of these beloved individuals, whom the students and audience members are already familiar with, is part of what attracted Hill and director Michelle Hontz to “Princess Who?” 

Plus, Hill noted, “it’s a fun show,” and it works well for the number of students—around 20—who make up the cast. 

The seventh and eighth graders began rehearsals for “Princess Who?” in January. Hill admitted the large amount of missed school days, as well as students’ involvement in other extra-curricular activities, made it difficult to string together practice time. The cast and crew has worked hard to make up for that, though. 

“Now, it’s finally coming along,” he said. 

Koeller is no stranger to the stage. She’s participated in the high school musical, as well as productions by the Elkader Opera House Players. Her brother, Max, who’s an MFL MarMac junior and avid performer, also inspired her. 

“Max has had some big roles,” she said. “Now, I’m excited to have that opportunity.” 

All the students have really embraced their roles, said eighth grader Jonah Wille, who portrays Hippie, a newly-imagined version of one of the seven dwarves. 

“The students really become their characters,” he shared. “I like being able to be someone different, to express a different side of myself.” 

Koeller said the audience won’t find it difficult to get wrapped up in the story. 

“It will be intriguing,” she assured. 

Tickets for “Princess Who?” will be available at the door the night of each performance. 

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