Art program performed at Oak Park

Imagine martial arts for actors and you might start to form a picture of what area teens have been doing for six weeks at the North Dakota Governor’s School performing arts program.

“It’s a very rigorous program,” said Minot High School-Magic City Campus student Travis Barnes, one of several area teens who performed in a traveling production at Minot’s Oak Park on Wednesday night.

Barnes went on to explain that the performing arts program teaches the Suzuki method of acting, among other techniques. This popular acting method teaches young actors to become aware of their bodies and uses exercises that are inspired by Greek theater and martial arts.

The plays they are performing, such as an adaptation of “Big Love” by playwright Charles L. Mee, ask challenging questions.

The traveling troupe has so far performed in Wishek, Bismarck and Lisbon as well as in Minot and will go on to perform tonight at 6 p.m. in Williston’s Harmon Park. The final performance will be in Fargo.

In addition to Barnes, the other Minot students are Katya Verbitsky, who will be a junior this fall at Magic City Campus, and Monica Anderson, who will be a senior at Bishop Ryan Catholic School in Minot. Other area students are Linda Dietz, Williston; Kelsey Guttormson, Tioga, and Mason Wede, Carrington.

Anderson, who competes in speech tournaments and participates in summer theater and community theater productions, said she has learned things during the governor’s school theater arts program that she would never have been exposed to in Minot. She said it has been like learning in a college theater arts program.

Barnes, who wants to be an actor, also said he’s learned a great deal. Verbitsky is active in school theater productions and can do over eight different accents, according to the program for the play.

This is the first year that the North Dakota Governor’s School program has collaborated with Theatre B in Fargo and also the first year that the Governor’s School program has gone on tour with Theatre B.

North Dakota Governor’s Schools is a six-week residential program for scholastically motivated North Dakota high school sophomores and juniors. Students live, work and have fun on the North Dakota State University campus. Other programs focus on science and mathematics.