James Clemens drama wins best technical nod at first state meet

James Clemens High School drama students won “Best Technical Production” at the Walter J. Trumbauer Drama Festival.

A scene from "Alabama Rain" (Photo courtesy of Amy Patel)Attracting more than 1,000 students, the state festival at the University of North Alabama was held Nov. 29 – Dec. 1.

James Clemens’ one-act play, “Alabama Rain,” won fifth place in the state and earned a superior rating. James Clemens already had won best technical show at district competition.

“I was extremely proud. So many students were completely new to tech,” drama teacher Amy Patel said. “At the beginning of the year, they were learning basic tools — building a set, gathering sound cues, focusing lighting, using stage makeup … so much new information. They had only seen the stage from the audience’s point of view.”

Senior Sandra Gates won Best Supporting Actress for her portrayal of Rachel. “Sandra is extremely deserving,” Patel said. “She has a natural, instinctive talent, but, on top of that, makes strong choices and puts lots of preparation and thought into her character. I will really hate to lose her when she graduates.”

Freshman Amanda Williams and sophomore Julia Maynard won first place in “Duet Reader’s Theatre Dramatic,” novice category for “The Tell-Tale Heart.”

James Clemens entered 18 individual events and about half earned superior ratings.

The well scene from "Alabama Rain" (Photo courtesy of Amy Patel)

Judges liked the script/story for “Alabama Rain” and were impressed by the use of trees, a well and cemetery to help tell the story. “Every technical element had a specific purpose — from well costumes to footlights on trees to black-and-white photos inside the house,” Patel said.

Kyle Mumaw, theatre alumnus of Bob Jones High School, accepted Patel’s invitation to help the James Clemens techies. Mumaw enlisted Michael Roberts, another Bob Jones graduate. Their involvement brought back “memories of ‘glory days’ with Dwayne Craft,” she said.

Mumaw and Robert were “incredible. They’re expert builders but also know how to build for theatre and work lighting and sound. They became a truly integral part of our program. We’re already excited about their ideas for spring,” Patel said.

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