Disappointing Outcome for the EHS Thespians at the Minnesota Thespian Festival

One Act Play “The Jar” Won’t be Performed at the ITF Due to a Technicality


Rebecca Edgington, culture editor

Every year, the Minnesota Thespian Festival takes place over President’s Day weekend. It is a conference for high school students from all over the state who participate in their school’s theater programs and productions. Students can take workshops and classes, and compete in individual events with songs or monologues for awards and for the chance to move on to compete at the International Thespian Conference, or ITF. They can audition for colleges and college scholarships, and attend shows like the All-State Show,  Guthrie BFA performances, and one act plays brought by high schools from around the state. One play wins first place for best performance each year which gives them the opportunity to bring the one act to ITF.   

This year, Edina High School brought a one act called “The Jar.” The play is about an Italian olive farm, the people who work there, and a jar they buy to hold the olives they pick. The family runs into trouble when the jar mysteriously breaks and one of them tries to fix it but gets stuck inside during the process. The cast got to perform in the Dowling Studio at the Guthrie on the second day of the conference.

The performance was a hit; the characters were vibrant and the audience never stopped laughing. The students did a fantastic job of bringing their characters to life and they interacted with each other wonderfully. They were well rehearsed, moved quickly between scenes and used the space and time efficiently to ensure there was never a dull moment during the performance. It was obvious that the judges agreed because later that evening in the closing award ceremony it was announced that “The Jar” had won first place.

But after a few moments as the crowd began to quiet down the announcer then went on to explain that there was a rule that if a school was alreading bringing a show as a Mainstage to ITF then they couldn’t bring a one act as well, and because EHS was already bringing it’s winter play, “Peter and the Starcatcher” to ITF as a Mainstage show, they wouldn’t be allowed to bring “The Jar.” The slot was given to the second place winners, Centennial High School who brought “The Sparrow.” The cast of The Jar agreed that this situation was handled terribly. “It felt embarrassing, the announcer deliberately paused to let us celebrate for so long before breaking the news that we wouldn’t be able to go to ITF,” said Megan Henderson, a cast member who played “Don Lolo” in “The Jar.”  They gave the cast and crew no warning that this was a rule in the first place, and no warning that they had won but wouldn’t be able to attend. The directors of “The Jar” weren’t even aware of the situation before it was publicly announced at the ceremony. “Our biggest issue was that no one told us about the rule. We felt that the International Thespians or the MN Thespians should have informed us of the rule, considering that Edina is the only school in the state taking a Mainstage. When they saw that we were also submitting a one act, that should’ve raised a red flag,” said Rutger Henriksen, a cast member in “The Jar” who played “Friend Pe.”


The cast and crew of “The Jar” put on an amazing show, and was given the opportunity to perform in a beautiful space at a prestigious theater. But they were blindsided by this technicality and it turned a celebratory moment for the thespians of EHS into one of sadness and frustration, and created unwanted tension between the casts of “Peter and the Starcatcher” and “The Jar.” However, it doesn’t change the fact that the cast of “The Jar” performed beautifully and put on an amazing show. They represented EHS with pride, and rightfully earned first place and what should’ve been the chance to bring this show to ITF.