OAP Armitage State Competition Results

v  By Evia Zack

   Leander’s One Act Play Armitage competed at the Hogg Memorial Auditorium in Austin on May 16th. By being in the State competition, they were one of the top eight schools in Texas; however, they did not place in the top three. The only individual award went to Caitlyn Guerra, who won Honorable Mention All Star Cast.

   “Getting to the State Level was exhilarating,” Linda Major, the drama teacher and director, said. “It was especially exciting for me because of the seniors getting to experience it their last year in theatre.”

  “It was thrilling to get that level of recognition [at the state competition],” Lora Blackwell, senior, said.

   Senior Evan Nasky said that it was amazing to be able to go to State. “At that level it becomes less of a competition and more of a celebration of theatre,” Nasky said. “All four years I’ve been in high school state has been a sort of pinnacle achievement that was only rarely reached. Having been there, it’s really just like any other level of competition, except that the stage was smaller and general anxiety was higher. It was a great experience and I’m glad I had the opportunity to attend.”

   As exciting as it was, Major was not surprised they advanced so far. “It wasn’t a surprise because we have such a talented cast and crew, and even though we didn’t place, it was still a great experience.”

   Every one of the cast members had a unique experience with this show.  Blackwell, who played Margaret, said it was confusing at times. “The judges and clinicians gave me a lot of conflicting critiques. In the end, Mrs. Major helped me to find a way to remain true to the character.”

   Nasky, who played Zachary Pendragon, won Best Actor at the first four levels of competition. However, he doesn’t know exactly how to feel about it. “I know the judges must see something, but as for myself, I’m always critical of my performance and what I should have done differently,” he said. “When I won, I was flattered that the judge thought I was good, but I try to keep in mind there are others who could have also won.”

   The play Armitage took upwards of 16 weeks of preparation. “We started rehearsal in the first week in February, and we ended on May 16th,” Major said. “There were many hours and rehearsals that went into the show, as well as costumes, set-design, and makeup – it was an incredible amount of hours.”

   Many people believe that working on one play for this length of time would be monotonous; however Major has to disagree. “With this play, I never found it monotonous. I never dreaded rehearsals, because there were always new things to discover,” she said. “As we progressed through the levels, we had to adjust to the new spaces, and there was always something to work on.”

   She also used several interesting rehearsal techniques to keep the show fresh and interesting. “Our cabin retreat certainly helped to make the show what it was,” she said. “Cabin is where we do intense rehearsals and workshops dealing with every aspect of the play. We also try various techniques, such as a silent rehearsal, speeding through the show, an absurdist rehearsal, and etcetera.”

  Even though they did not place, everyone had a great time. “It’s great to get to work on the One Act Competition,” Blackwell said. “There is such an environment of dedication and teamwork. It’s easy to work with such a talented and supporting group of people on this art we love so much.”

   Nasky holds no hard feelings towards the judge – he is convinced that the One Act competition is based on luck. “Every level has only one judge, and each judge comes to the competition with a favorite style and direction of play, so how far you advance depends on how lucky you are in your judge selection. There are so many great plays that I’m sure are unjustly stopped before the state competition because of judge preference. UIL One-Act’s major flaw is that there is not a panel of judges for the Region and State levels,” he said. “Nonetheless, it is a great experience for anyone in theatre and I wouldn’t trade it away for anything else.

Major is very proud of her students. “I think the students gave 110%, and I couldn’t be more proud of them at State,” she said.