Keller High School’s One-Act Play team will compete for the 5A state championship in Austin May 21.Keller’s production of “All the King’s Men” won top honors at at the University Interscholastic League’s Region I contest in Lubbock May 1. Indian Theatre's Gretchen Clark, Hank Freeman and Lauren Weik were named to the Regional All-Star Cast, and Drew Duffy earned Honorable Mention All-Star Cast honors. Only eight teams in each size classification qualify for state, two from each region.“I think it stood out because we have such a talented group of actors, and this show really fits their abilities,” said Melissa Freeman, theatre teacher.Half of the team’s 24 members are seniors who have worked hard to develop their skills, Freeman said. At the regional contest one judge said that the actors were so mature that he didn’t feel like he was watching a high school play, “a really great compliment,” Freeman said.“All the King’s Men” is based on the Robert Penn Warren novel about political corruption in the 1930s era deep south.Senior Drew Duffy, who plays politician Willie Stark, said that cast and crew had been working on the production for five months, twice as long as they normally prepare for a show.There’s the challenge of not getting stale, Duffy said, but the long One-Act Play season also has some benefits.“It’s fun growing with the character,” he said. “Being that we do the show a lot longer, you learn more.”For lighting specialist Nick Connolly, another senior, the challenge is setting up for each round of competition.“On the tech crew, we take this show and have an hour to make it work on a new stage,” Connolly said.For Keller High thespians, this will be the first trip to state since the school won the championship in 2010 with the production of scenes from Shakespeare’s “Richard III.” Central High School’s One-Act Play team also went to state in 2010 and finished second in 2009. Fossil Ridge High School placed second in 4A competition in 2008.This year’s seniors were eighth graders when Keller High won state in One-Act Play, and they’ve heard a lot about that team over the years. Senior Gretchen Clark, who plays Sadie Burke, said, “We’ve got some big shoes to fill.”The cast and crew will perform “All the King’s Men” for the community at 7 p.m. May 16 in the Keller High School Fine Arts Center, 601 N. Pate Orr Rd. Tickets are $5 with proceeds benefiting future productions.
Sandra Engelland, 817-431-2231 Twitter: @SandraEngelland