Luverne drama students premiere short film

LHS drama students' "Ballerella" is a parody of "Cinderella."

LUVERNE — When COVID-19 made a spring play impossible, Luverne High School drama club members came up with another idea to hone their theatrical skills — a short film.

The students wanted the production to appeal to children, explained junior Luke Thorson, so they chose to parody a classic fairy tale.

"They took the idea and they ran with it," said Shawn Kingsinger, who directs the plays at LHS and is also the executive director of the Palace Theater.

A brainstorm session culminated in an outline of "Ballerella," a modern parody of the folk tale "Cinderella." The Palace Theater seemed like a natural setting for the students, since the facility is a frequent hangout spot for the group. Some outdoor scenes were shot at Luverne City Park.

Other than advising on some camera angles, Kingsinger said he just supervised, and the kids did the writing, directing, acting and shooting of the film on their own. Every club member had an acting role.


Rather than writing a detailed script, the students used a rough outline and improvised from there, Thorson explained.

"The best way I can describe it is just a good time," he said. Because the lines were mostly ad-libbed, the actors didn't know what their scene partners were going to say next, which led to a lot of laughter.

For example, Thorson's character is a child who is hearing the story of Ballerella from a babysitter. He and the other child make suggestions to the babysitter about how to make the story more fun.

"Those scenes took the longest to shoot because we kept making each other laugh," Thorson recalled.

After the filming was complete, Kingsinger edited the footage, and the club held a movie premiere in the Palace Theater, complete with popcorn. Then the film went live on YouTube.

As long as the COVID-19 pandemic persists, the drama club will continue to make films. They are already planning their next project, which will be a completely original story and a little bit longer than "Ballerella's" 18-minute runtime.


Anyone who wants to join the drama club is welcome to participate, Thorson said. It's an inclusive group, and there are more spots available for interested thespians.

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