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Union prepares for Large Group Speech season

January 13, 2020
CJ Eilers - Editor ( , Dysart Reporter

Union's speech program will send 16 groups ranging from two to 15 students each to Large Group Speech Districts at Cascade High School on Saturday, Jan. 25, and Dean Bostian is busy helping students prepare for what could be his final year coaching speech.

"This is going to be my final year because I want time to other things, so I'm putting everything I have into this year," Bostian said. "I believe we have a chance all of our pieces onto State this year. I want to give these kids the best chance to showcase their talents to move on to the next level."

Among those groups is the one act play "Dark Road", which is set in Nazi Germany as a former concentration camp guard replays events before death row. The cruel guard is played by Emma Harris as she's being interviewed by a reporter, played by Jasmine Hickok. In total, 11 members make up the cast, playing parts such as the Jewish prisoners, abusive guards and one evil German Commandant (Nick North).

Article Photos

Alex Hall rehearses her part as a Jewish prisoner of a Nazi camp in 'Dark Road', a one act play.

"This is an incredible group of kids who know they'll have to go the distance," Bostian said. "With this one act play, it gives the females a chance to really project themselves. By doing German accents, we're hoping to get people's attention about society back then and society is now. We're starting to see a lot of hatred bubbling around the world. It's time to take a step back and think about what hate is."

Harris, a senior, has participated in speech since her freshman year and has yet to reach All-State. In addition to doing "Dark Road", is performing in a readers theatre, "The Caged Birds" with seven other girls. Her goal this season: go out with bang.

"The one act has a lot action in and the readers has a lot of movement to keep people interested," Harris said. "I want both to make State and All-State with these pieces. I want people to take the history of the one act play away."

If Union is able to get all 16 groups to the State contest, it would be the first time in school history. Bostian and Ali Leytem each coach groups whenever they are able to get students together, including before and after school. Union sent one musical theatre, "1776", on to All-State last year and both coaches hope to send other pieces to the pinnacle of Large Group Speech.

"Group speech is so unique because you have to work with other people and people rely on you to have your part down," Bostian said. "If you're good as a whole, you will succeed. I want them to all to understand to work with, not against each other."

Seniors such as Harris are sad to see Bostian leave the program after this year, especially knowing future speech students will not get to learn from him. However, Bostian will not leave this program with the cupboards bare by any means.

"While I am sad that I'll be finishing up being a Large Group coach, but I know this program is going to be strong," Bostian said. "There's a lot of leadership and talent. We're expecting an excellent year this speech season."

All Union Large Group ensembles selected to move on from Districts will compete at the State Large Group Contest two weeks later. Groups that make the final cut at State will perform at the All-State Festival at Iowa State University later in February. The Dysart Reporter will publish results at each level when made available. Due to contest rules, no recording devices or cameras are allowed at Large Group events.



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