Seniors Sierra Mathews and Evan Meader may not have been selected to give their performance at All-State, but their acting was good enough to convince three judges they were dating.
Earlier this month, Mid-Prairie sent 41 students to compete in eight speech events at a state level. Of the eight groups, Meader and Mathews’ ensemble performance of “Ferris Wheel” by Mary Miller will be recognized at All-State in Ames on Saturday, Feb. 16.
“They have some groups (at All-State) that will perform and some that will be recognized for their success,” said Natalie Silbaugh, Mid-Prairie’s speech coach. “(Meader and Mathews) will be recognized for being exemplary.”
The actors were paired together by Silbaugh after their auditions in November, with their performance piece preselected as well.
The play follows John, a traveling salesman, and Dorie, a woman afraid of heights who rides a Ferris wheel every year on her birthday despite her fear. Over the course of the fifteen-minute performance John rocks their passenger car, Dorie scares John out of smoking and the pair trade anecdotes.
“Somehow through all of this we end up falling in love before the Ferris wheel comes down,” Meader said.
With the bad weather of the past few weeks, the duo didn’t have quite the time they wanted to polish the piece, but they still received top ratings from their three state level judges.
Mathews describes the judges they had for the performance, “middle-aged white women” as the stereotypically perfect audience for a play about two people falling in love on a Ferris wheel.
“They were so impressed with our acting abilities,” Meader said. “I kiss her multiple times toward the end of the ensemble. They thought we were an actual couple. That’s a pretty good accomplishment because we would not make a good couple.”
The two agree that they think of themselves as opposites in many ways, one example being their post-high school plans.
Where Mathews plans to go to the University of Iowa to study teaching, history and animation, Meader only knows he wants to take care of his general education classes at Kirkwood and doesn’t have a clear plan after that.
“We’re both very independent and different people,” Mathews said. “But I think we both came away from this thinking ‘I respect you more as an actor than I did before I worked with you.’”
For those who want to see Meader and Mathews perform, or any of the other performances, Mid-Prairie High School is holding a performance of all the pieces that went to state as well as three that didn’t make it, on Thursday, Feb. 14, at 6 p.m.