MSHS performed their fall play: “Beowulf (and the Bard)”


Evan Hanchey

At the end of the show, the characters celebrated Beowulf and Gunborg defeating Grendel’s mother.

Ethan Anderson, Senior Reporter

Manitou Springs High School performed their fall play, “Beowulf (and the Bard)”, to the public in the district auditorium on Oct. 21 and 22, 2022.

“Beowulf (and the Bard)” is a play written by Vidas Barzdukas and Christopher R. Barlett. Wendy Harms, the theater teacher and stage director at MSHS, decides which plays will be produced during the theater season.  “There are many factors that go into choosing plays in a season, including who I have in the acting pool this year, plays we’ve done before and the full season as we get things set,” Harms said. “I chose Beowulf and the Bard because I thought it was a very solid script with a good beginning, middle, and end.”

Another thing Harms’ considered is her tech theater class, which helped create sets and costumes.“I thought creating sets was very reasonable for our tech theater class,” Harms said. “Tech theater is building the sets, which are simple and fun, but there’s a lot of painting involved and a gigantic tree we’re making.”

Harms isn’t the only one who taught and directed this play. She often brought in other people to help teach students skills they can use. For “Beowulf (and the Bard)”, this included Sam Bishop and Alex Wimmerly. “I had Alex Wimmerly, who choreographs stage combat, come in to do a workshop with everybody. It was cool to see him because I’ve known him for a long time and seen him grow,” Harms said. “Sam brings in a wicked sensibility about comedy and timing. I’m so lucky to have her and she’s the exact right assistant director to have on this piece.” 

One of the most important parts of any theater production is the cast. This was especially true of “Beowulf (and the Bard)”. “When we choose a play, we think about our body of people who are available. We’re always looking for a cast that we think can be a team,” Harms said. “I think this combination of people worked really well together.

Once Harms has chosen her actors, there are a few goals she has for everyone involved. “First of all, my goals were to inspire a love of the craft, to really revel in the craft. Second of all, to push themselves beyond what they can see themselves doing,” Harms said. “In the end, what we want is that, when they go up in front of an audience, they are proud of themselves.”

One of the main characters in “Beowulf (and the Bard)” is the bard himself, played by Kai Jacobson (11). “Bard sings songs, likes to be the center of attention, and thinks he is always right. He doesn’t care if everyone else dies as long as he can write a fun story about it,” Jacobson said.

“You just have to keep trying. You just have to keep auditioning, and eventually, you’ll get it. Eventually, something will happen, and then that will feel amazing. Never give up. Just keep going.”

— Becket Evans

One of the hardest things about playing that character was that he had to play an instrument. “I had to learn the guitar, and I don’t know how to play the guitar. So, I’ve had to learn how to play, and then move around while playing, and talk and sing while playing the guitar,” said Jacobson. 

For Becket Evans (9), this is his first year in High School theater. “There aren’t many differences between being a freshman as opposed to being an upperclassman. We get a lot more physical freedom and there are many more people who perform in middle school plays,” Evans said. 

Evans enjoys being in the theater program for a few reasons. “I’m just here to have fun, but if there is a goal, it is to get on stage as much as possible because I love being on stage,” Evans said.

Evan is not the only one, Finn Dufford (12) also loves the stage. The best part of this play for him was being back in the theater. “Being able to act and being back in that space holds such a special place in my heart,” said Dufford. “It’s been a while since I’ve done a play because the last one I did was Suzette, which was last year in wintertime.”

Dufford plays Beowulf, another one of the main characters. “At first, it may seem like I’m supposed to be strong and a hero, but in this play, I’m kind of a wimp and dorky,” Dufford said. “My role is to transition from this scared kid into a hero.”

“Being able to act and being back in that space holds such a special place in my heart.”

— Finn Dufford

As an actor, Dufford’s goal is to have fun and entertain. “If it’s not fun I don’t really see a point in doing it. That’s why I do plays because it’s fun. Also, this is gonna be a pretty obvious one, but to entertain people, to give people a good time.,” Dufford said.

Theater can be scary, but it’s important to remember that everyone feels the same.  “The advice I would give to someone interested in theater is to not worry too much about auditioning. I’ve been acting since first grade, and I still get nervous at every single audition. Just realize that everyone is in the same boat as you; they’re all doing this play at the same time,” Dufford said. 

Even when you do go to auditions, sometimes it is difficult to get a foot in the door. “You just have to keep trying. You just have to keep auditioning, and eventually, you’ll get it. Eventually, something will happen, and then that will feel amazing. Never give up. Just keep going,” Evans said.

Editor’s note: The author of this article was unexpectedly pulled in to play a role in this production at the last minute.  He has done has best to be non-biased in this feature.  Things like this happen in a small school environment, but we wanted to let our reader’s know for full transparency.