Backstage and well before showtime, it’s the designers who work long hours to present the best of the talent on stage.

Three Ellison High School drama students competed in theatrical design at state UIL competition in May at the University of Texas at Austin and two finished in the top 16 at state.

Sophomore Christiana Adams and senior Lauren Ponce qualified and competed at the state level in makeup design. Senior Talia Martinez made it to the state level in costume design.

Each designed costume or makeup based on an artist of their choice designing for the designated play, “Tartuffe,” a classic French comedy of the 1600s.

Ponce chose iconic American artist Norman Rockwell and designed makeup and executed her design on three models.

“I didn’t expect to make it to state,” Ponce said, noting she was required to do design work as part of her technical theater class, but not required to enter it in competition.

“At first, I laughed,” she said of her response to qualifying for state. “I was surprised. It was a nice reward. I put a lot of work into it.”

Adams chose Camille Rose Garcia, a modern artist who designed elements of “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.” Adams drew renderings of her makeup work to present to judges.

Each of the students justified the artist of their choice to the judges. “A lot of times you are taking a risk if you choose an artist who is not well-known,” Adams said.

“It was really exciting to hear what the judge said,” she said. “It gives me confidence.”

Martinez chose Dr. Seuss and drew renderings and chose fabric swatches to demonstrate how she would make costumes for the given play with her chosen artist in mind. She said she thought the Seuss style, with its puffy, fluffy clothing, fit well with the 1600s French play the competition specified.

“Seeing all the entries was fun,” she said of the state competition experience. “I felt like we competed well. It was fascinating. I got to learn so much. I didn’t expect this to happen.”

Ellison theater director Krysta Lyssy praised her students’ hard work. The specialized UIL event included all school sizes at the state level.

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