For the first time in its 18-year history, a team from Colleyville Heritage High School competed in the State Championship of the University Interscholastic League’s One Act Play contest in Austin May 28.
The group’s director and several cast members said that the strength of the group as a whole helped their production stand out and advance from district to bi-district to area to the regional round and be one of eight 6A schools to perform at state.
“Everyone in the cast and crew had to work seamlessly together to work through a complicated plot in 40 minutes,” said Barton Faulks, Colleyville Heritage theater teacher.
Cast member Ryland Kaiser, a junior, agreed.
“What really stood out was the ensemble was so close, and Mr. Faulks helped us really focus on the story being more about the characters than the union,” Kaiser said.
Students performed scenes from The Kentucky Cycle: Fire in the Hole, one of nine one act plays in a series covering 200 years of family history by Robert Schenkkan.
The play, which takes place in the 1920s, surrounds Mary Anne Rowen and her family who have fallen on hard times and a union organizer who tries to get them to strike against a mining company.
At the state contest, Alex Oliver, who played Mary Anne, and Chris Dorf, who played the union organizer, were named to the All-Star Cast.
Faulks said that the students overcame some challenges in Austin, including five of them coming down with food poisoning, but delivered their best performance at the right time.
During the competition season, the group worked hard to keep improving at every level.
“One of the biggest things I learned over the course of doing the play so many times was I would discover more about my character, about the story and be able to understand it better,” cast member and junior Troy Houston said.
Houston said he realized at the state contest, as they went through their usual team-building exercise, that this would be their last time together.
“The last time, it was as family, not a cast,” he said.
Cast member Joey O’Donnell, a sophomore, said he would always remember the opening of their show at state, looking up and seeing a huge audience.
“I had no clue how many people were in front of me,” O’Donnell said. “To be on that big of a stage giving the performance of a lifetime, it was a growing process as an actor and as a person.”