BJHS drama team heads for state competition
What makes an award winning play?
The answer to this question may be found at the Bob Jones High School Drama Department, where for the second year in a row, The Patriot Players have qualified to go to the state level on Dec. 6-7 at Troy State University. There, they will compete against 14 other high schools from Alabama.
The drama students, led by Dwayne Craft, competed earlier this month at Butler High School in Huntsville at the Walter J. Trumbauer District I Secondary School Theater and Speech Festival. A panel of three qualified area judges made the final decision.
Hopes are high to perhaps repeat last years state win in order to qualify to go to the regional competition at the Southeastern Theater Conference in 2003.
Last year, Craft's adaptation of "The Tower" took top honors both at state and first place in the SETC Regional Competition in Mobile.
Not only is Craft the drama teacher and the director, but this is his original work and the first play he has written. Craft has taught at Bob Jones for nine years.
"The SETC is the nation's largest theater conference with more than 3,000 members attending annually," Craft said. "SETC covers a 10-state area."
Cast members for the one-act play come from Crafts' drama classes They have worked on the play since September. A unique feature of this play is the masks worn by nearly all of the characters. Craft said he thought of the idea to use masks, but they were actually made by students
The second period technical theater class built the set, which consists of row upon row of shelved trophies perched precariously at an angle.
"The hardest part of going out of town to compete is the cost which is estimated at close to $10,000," Craft said. "Fund raisers will be held and sponsors will be sought in addition to any individual who wants to financially contribute to the drama program."
Susan Vest is one of three student directors for the play Vest has been involved in the drama program for three years.
"This will be my third show to student direct," Vest said.
Other plays that Vest directed included the 2001 spring musical "The Music Man" and "The Tower."
"Student directing involves making directing decisions, supporting and encouraging the cast and managing the details behind the stage," Craft said. "We have an amazing technical crew who built our set, runs the show and helps out in all backstage efforts."
"The technical crew does not get enough credit for the work they do", Vest said.
The two other student directors are Ashley Brody and Mary Susan Cannon. Student technical directors are Kyle Mumaw and Phillip Hooper.
"It takes all elements to make a play successful," Craft said. "In a one-act play competition, part of the criteria is that the set up and take down of the set and the play itself can not exceed 45 minutes or the school loses points. Also in competition there are individual events that showcase other talents of individual student performers who are not part of the play."
At Butler High School, Julie Chamberlain won Best Supporting Actress and the entire ensemble received the award for All-Star Cast. Best Costumes and Best Set awards also went to Bob Jones.