Don't ever doubt the power of students who want to win.
The Trinidad High School UIL one-act play has made it to the state finals three years. And this year, the students won the state title with their show, 'She Kills Monsters,' by Qui Nguyen. The emotional story is about two sisters bonding after a tragedy.
The group traveled to Round Rock on May 3 to compete against other Division A schools.
“You start the year with 1,200 one-act plays,” Director DeAnna Tart said. “By the time you get to the state level, they are down to eight plays competing. We were chosen the best in Texas.”
Asked what made this play special, Tart and some of the actors said that “it contained all the elements needed to win — comedy, heart and touching and tragic moments.”
“There are monsters-slaying girls and sword fights galore and some enormously fantastic dragons,” Tart said. “It’s full of magic and villains with a lot of comedy and some very touching moments that bring us to tears. We get to laugh, cry and cheer out loud. It is the best of theater.”
An encore performance is scheduled for May 19.
“This play will keep you on the edge of your seat,” said Billy Quinn, who received an honorable mention during the state competition.
“I think we won because the play is relatable,” Eden Mizell said.
She is an all-star cast member.
The journey for the UIL students started in December with auditions. Rehearsals for the championship play started in January. Only the most dedicated students can tolerate the grueling grind of performing what they all hope will be a state championship one-act play.
“We begin with 'table work and reading rehearsals, then move to staging and blocking rehearsals,'” Tart said. “I expect my cast to be 'off book' (no scripts allowed) when we finish blocking, which usually takes a couple of weeks. These kids know before they begin that they will be rehearsing during their spring break and on weekends.”
Tart also credited the students' parents.
“Without their support, we wouldn’t be as successful,” she said. “They have to give us their children for about five months. We see their children more than they do. In a small school like ours, students are involved in every possible activity in the spring — FFA, cheerleading, baseball, softball, track and one- act play. They are at school for very long hours. They must move from one activity to the next, and they barely get a break in between.”
Eden said she and her fellow cast members expected to win the title.
“It would have been very disappointing if we had not won. We all worked so hard.”
“These students missed birthdays, family gatherings and other events to rehearse,” she said. “We had so much fun with this show. We have become a family. All the long hours and hard work paid off.”
Of course, the technical crew is a critical part of the production.
“These kids are amazing,” Tart said. “In Trinidad, we do not have any tech equipment for our crew members to work with — no sound boards and no lighting equipment. Yet, these students are able to walk into the sound and light booth in a million-dollar facility and take command of those very complicated pieces of equipment that would intimidate an adult. And they work their magic.”
They all agree that winning the state championship is an experience they won't soon forget.
“The group has become one big family,” Tart said. “We fussed, laughed and cried like all families do.”
The 39-minute encore performance is scheduled for 2 p.m. at Kemp High School. Tickets are $5.