Copperas Cove and S. C. Lee junior high schools are used to battling it out on the football field, cross country course and basketball court.
But when the curtains opened at Lea Ledger Auditorium, the thespians of the two middle schools were competing for bragging rights on the theater stage.
Students from both schools’ theater arts classes competed in a one-act play contest sponsored by the Copperas Cove High School Theater Arts Department, under the direction of teachers Katy Taglibue and Cody Edgar, and the officers of their thespian troupe.
The students started at 8 a.m. with dress rehearsals before performing in front of a live audience and two judges.
S.C. Lee Junior High performed “Mye and the Sandpeople” as its comedy and “Freak!” as its drama selection under the direction of teacher Lynne Ramirez.
S.C. Lee Junior High first performed “Mye and the Sandpeople” through a grant from the Copperas Cove Education Foundation free of charge to all Copperas Cove Independent School District elementary students.
In the play, Mye is a storyteller traveling to find her king. During her travels, she finds the land of Yarbankian and the Sandpeople, Mungo the Music Maker, and Empress Imperia who is deaf. Since Imperia signs instead of speaking, and the Sandpeople also sign for others to communicate with the empress, it is an opportunity to speak with children about disabilities and how these differences affect children and their learning and growth.
“Mye is not just a serious story. It is full of laughter and plenty of audience participation to engage a young audience,” Ramirez said. “The cast of Mye not only learned to act in a comedy but they learned about producing a play for children.”
For its drama entry S.C. Lee Junior High performed “Freak!,” a one-act contemporary drama featuring a cast of middle school students dealing with the consequences of bullying and suicide.
Students from ninth-period theater arts class, including Grayson Avritt, explored their characters and the situations that brought each of them to the breaking point.
“It was really creepy and uncomfortable to be in the role of someone who would actually kill themselves,” Avritt said.
Copperas Cove Junior High performed the “Taming of LaRue” for its comedy selection. A spoof of Shakespeare’s “The Taming of the Shrew,” it is set in the Old West with laughable and lovable characters from heroes to outlaws that end up in a showdown.
Isabel Petty played the role of Bobcat LaRue, the richest person in town, who was trying to marry off her two daughters.
“At first, I was really nervous because there were a lot more people in the audience than at my school, but it was really fun on stage with my friends. So I forgot all about that once we started the play,” Petty said. “I liked getting to watch another school perform so that we could see what we were up against and we could see what we needed to improve on.”
For it dramatic entry, CCJHS performed “The 11th,” which included characters in a school setting who were not in New York or Washington but were affected by 9/11.
After the junior high schools’ performances, the judges presented personal critiques to the casts of each show and awards were announced with both schools earning multiple honors.
One-Act Play contest
Copperas Cove Independent School District held its first junior high one-act play competition. The following students and casts received recognition for their performances.
- Honorable Mention Cast: Naomi Krewson, Emma Anderson, Christina Smith and Danielle Watt.
- All-Star Cast: Kasey Meyer, Parker Reed, Maria Seiber, Kayleigh Haywood, Wyatt Smith, Bethany Hamilton, Grayson Avritt and Eowyn Johansson.
- Best Actor Comedy: Ayden Seymour.
- Best Actress Comedy: Lynsey Robinson.
- Best Actress Drama: Tyler Foley.
- Best Actor Drama: Jonah Connerly.
- Best Stage Manager: Parker Reed.
- Best Stage Crew-S.C. Lee
- Best Overall Performance: S.C. Lee Junior High School.
- Best Drama: “Freak” S.C. Lee Junior High School.
- Best Comedy: Taming of LaRue,” Copperas Cove Junior High.
- Best Technical Direction: Karter Braziel.
- Best Ensemble: S.C. Lee Junior High School.