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VCHS Drama Seeks Korean War Uniforms

October 9, 2012

Special to the Times-Record Matt Nielson, science teacher at VCHS and member of the North Dakota National Guard teaches the cast of Valley City High School’s MASH production how to march. The students are checking their feet to see that they are at a 45 degree angle, while Nielson shows them how their hands should be positioned during marching. 

Valley City High School drama students aren’t only learning how to act in this year’s production; they’re also getting a feel for military life. Students are being taught to march properly and may even wear authentic Korean War uniforms.

Drama director Carol Foth said she’d like to see if area Korean War veterans would be interested in lending their uniforms and other war memorabilia to the school for students to use as costumes and props in their upcoming MASH production.

“In return for them sharing that with us, we’d like to give them a free ticket for themselves and a spouse or a friend for the Tuesday evening performance, which is Nov. 13,” Foth said.

A list would be put in the program mentioning who donated the use of the uniform and which student is wearing it.

MASH is a story written first as a book that depicts a unit of medical personnel stationed at a Mobile Army Surgical Hospital (MASH) during the Korean War. The story was also made into a movie and a TV show before Tim Kelly wrote the stage play.

“The play has basically the same characters that you would have encountered with the TV production, but not 100 percent,” Foth said. “We’ll see some old and dear favorites from the movie and TV production.”
Another interesting way the drama department is implementing real military into the play is the distinguished act of marching.

Matt Nielson, who is a member of the North Dakota National Guard and a science teacher at VCHS, has been working with the cast, teaching them how to march properly.

“We’re going to actually open the show with them marching,” Foth said of the 35 cast members in grades 9-12.

“It is going to be funny — the TV show was funny, the movie was funny — but that’s not all it was. It was about the tragedy of the Korean War, and how these people needed to have humor to survive the grim expectations of every day,” Foth said.

“We do want (the audience) to recognize the pain of being there,” she continued.

The performances will be held in the VCHS Theatre at 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 13, 15, 16 and 17.

The VCHS drama department does one production a year, alternating yearly between a play and a musical.

The junior high drama department does one production a year, contrasting the schedule of the senior high. They will perform a musical after Christmas.

Korean War veterans interested in lending their uniforms and other war memorabilia can call Foth at the school at (701) 845-0483, extension 2, and leave a message with name and number. Foth can also be reached by email at carol.foth@sendit.nodak.edu.

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