By Jackie Stone
The Cove Herald
Fans, friends and family packed the black-box theater at Copperas Cove High School Saturday night to see the shows that marked both a sad end of a theater career for some and a beginning for others.
Advanced theater students in Leslie Ziegler's class at the high school spent the past six weeks preparing for the Student Directed One Act Play Festival. Members of the class worked behind the scenes on three plays directed and led by their peers instead of a teacher.
Ziegler said her students did all the prep work in class - building sets, creating props and costumes - and then spent about two hours after school every day working with the casts after school.
Senior Kat Howell, 17, said the hardest part of being a director was not the practices with student actors. It was just being the one responsible for everything organizing, scheduling and double-checking everything.
"You have to make sure of everything, and you're running around until the last minute," she said.
The audience for Howell's play, "The Suessification of Romeo and Juliet," overflowed the seating in the small theater, and some sat cross-legged on the floor to watch the performance. From the back of the audience, Howell anxiously watched and hoped that no lines would be flubbed and no problems would arise.
After the performance ,Howell was still shaky with excitement and nerves, but with a dose of sadness for her last performance at the high school.
"It's like I can breathe now, but I'm going to miss it," she said. "The people grow on you, and the rush of the first night, and all the laughter and clapping."
Howell plans to go on to study theater education in college so she can become a teacher like Ziegler.
For senior Rachel Dewees, Howell's play was probably the last time she will get to be onstage for a long while. Dewees, who played Romeo Saturday night, plans to join the Navy on her way to becoming a doctor.
While her passion for theater won't go away and she plans to get involved in community theater down the line, Dewees knew she was enjoying her last time in a theater for a while.
"It's very sad, but it's the next chapter," she said.
Though she spent most of her four years in the theater program at the high school working on lighting design and technical theater, she said she enjoyed getting on stage for her last show.
The student-directed plays are one of the final projects for students in the advanced theater class. The auditions for actors were open to those of all grades.
Six students were involved as co-directors in the plays. While most were juniors and seniors, there was also one sophomore director.
Contact Jackie Stone at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7474. Follow her on Twitter at KDHcoveeditor.