Mansfield High School Online Newspaper

The Uproar

Mansfield High School Online Newspaper

The Uproar

Mansfield High School Online Newspaper

The Uproar

One Play to Win

Students Perform in UIL One-Act Play Competition
Cady, played by Rebecca Shoemaker, and Ensemble in Mean Girls

In the culmination of months of preparation, theater students will perform the play “Ville du Havre” for UIL One-Act district competition at Legacy High School on March 23.


“I think we are definitely going to be top competitors and tough to beat. These last few rehearsals, I can just see how much we improve every time,” junior Sara Franklin said. “If we keep that up, it’s going to be a showstopper.”


UIL One-Act Play is a competition where over 1,300 schools from conferences 1A to 6A perform one act of a play that can last 18 to 40 minutes long. If a production goes over or under time, they are disqualified from competition. Many schools will choose to ‘crash’ a show, or end it abruptly, to avoid disqualification. 


“One-Act is very light on tech because we can only really do sound and lighting. My freshman year, I was an assistant stage manager in charge of lighting when we had to ‘crash’ the show,” junior Loryn Coyne said. “I was very confused, and I ended up keeping the lights on for a few extra minutes. This year, I’m purposefully making sure the tech crew know what a crash is and practicing it a few times just because that moment of panic is something I never want anyone else to feel.”


Each school is allotted seven minutes to both assemble and disassemble a set, alongside a cast and crew limitation of 20 people combined. UIL rules allow for four directors, but only student stage managers can direct a play during competition. Mansfield High School is designated a 6A school based on its student population and only competes against other 6A schools.


“I’ve found myself comparing our production to someone else’s production a lot. It’s a dangerous thing to do because it can destroy your confidence from everything you’ve built upon,” Franklin said. “The story you create on stage may be done a different way from someone else’s, and another group’s production shouldn’t take away from your interpretation and reenactment of a story.”


The levels of competition are divided between Zone, District, Bi-District, Area, Region and State. Each play is reviewed by a panel of three judges in charge of awarding individual acting awards, providing oral critiques, and selecting three productions to advance to the next level. At Region, only the top two advance to State.


“One-Act is all about the ensemble. It’s how well you work together with a group. You want to get rid of the divas – the people that if they’re not going to be around, they can end up ruining the whole show for everybody” theater teacher Sherry Wright said. “It’s not just about the 40 minutes on stage, but also the weeks and months leading up to it. Some of my closest friends from school were from One-Act, and those are the people that I have the fondest memories of to this day.”


Schools typically pick their plays from a pre-approved list provided by the UIL. Across the entire competition, two awards are given for Best Performers, eight for All-Star Cast and an additional eight for honorable mentions. At state, the best performer receives the Samuel French Award. 


“Over the years, I’ve leaned more towards comedies just because I prefer them more. I’ve noticed that the productions that were the most successful were the comedic ones, so it’s always pushed me in that area,” Wright said. “I’ve also had some really good directors in the past that have also been good comedic directors, and so I’ve come to think of it as my forte.” 


The theater department will perform the drama “Ville du Havre,” which is based on the sinking of the ship of the same name. If the production is ranked in the top six at District on March 23, they will advance to the Bi-District competition on March 29.


“I think we have a pretty good chance this year. At least, this is the best chance we’ve had since I joined the theater department. Last year was chaotic – we performed an absurdist play that the actors didn’t want to perform at the end of it,” Coyne said. “This year, we have actors who love the story, want to be the characters, and want to make the show good. That’s what matters in this kind of stuff. When you don’t have that passion, you can tell in performance.”


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Connor Mire, Staff Writer
Hi I'm Connor, I'm a junior and this is my first year on the Uproar. I'm excited to combine my love for writing with my interest in journalism this year!  I'm involved in UIL academics and Academic Decathlon outside of newspaper. When I have down time, you'll usually find me playing guitar or listening to music.

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