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DDF in middle of pack at debut


The Haines Drama, Debate and Forensics team had a middling debut performance at its home meet Sept. 20-21, but coach Amanda Randles said it is just a matter of working out the kinks.

“We finished middle of the pack. It wasn’t a huge winner for us, but I expected that. We are still working on bits and pieces here and there,” Randles said.

Four Haines students competed against about 100 participants from Juneau, Sitka, Wrangell and Ketchikan schools. There are 11 students on the Haines DDF team, but many couldn’t attend the meet because of a conflicting cross-country event.  

Senior and veteran DDF participant Eli White chalked up the mediocre performance to students being out of practice or new to the sport.  

“We didn’t final in anything, but it was also our first meet of the year, and most of the people who were performing were brand new. It went as good as could be expected,” White said.

White, along with sophomore Dylan Grimes and freshman Rachel Haas, took third in their Reader’s Theater round with a performance of “Romeo and Juliet” from The Reduced Shakespeare Company’s “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare Abridged.”

“We did okay. We got third in our room, so that’s not good enough to go to finals. We didn’t get last place or anything. It felt like it went pretty well... We didn’t mess up anything,” White said.

In extemporaneous commentary, Grimes, Haas and junior Yael Paes had to spontaneously speak on a random Mark Twain quote. In their rounds, Grimes placed sixth, Paes took eighth, and Haas narrowly missed finals when she placed third.

Haas and Paes placed fourth in their round in a duo pantomime routine called “Sisters,” and Paes also took fifth for her rendition of Charlie Chaplin’s “The Dictator” in solo acting.

“It was a little crazy for me, but it came together and there were no disasters,” Randles said of putting on her first meet. “The few glitches we had, we dealt with very well,” she said, including putting the wrong teams in the wrong rooms and double-booking judges.

The team heads to Sitka’s Mount Edgecumbe Oct. 11-12 for its second meet of the season. About eight Haines students are expected to attend.

“Now as we start traveling, I have a little bit more of an idea of what goes into the tournaments so I can gear the kids up to where they can be the most competitive,” Randles said.

White said he is looking to participate more in coming tournaments as he won’t be tied up with helping organize. The debate competition, which is White’s forte, will feature the question, “Should states require mandatory drug testing for welfare recipients and those receiving unemployment benefits?”

Randles said the team will be adding another mime piece, but will pull the duo acting performance because Paes will be out of town.

Randles is also considering adding a dramatic interpretation piece, two duet acting performances and another Reader’s Theater.