One Act, first place
By Stephanie Johns
The Morgan County Middle School One Act Ensemble took first at the state competition in Valdosta for its production of Seth’s Anxiety.
The play is about a middle school boy whose parents are in the middle of an ugly divorce. He goes to live with his grandmother and has anxiety about attending a new school, according to Director Kathleen Byrant.
“The main portion of the play is a series of nightmares he has on the night before school starts,” she shared via e-mail, adding that nightmares include wearing pajamas to school, an angry principal, lunch ladies with toxic school food, and girl thugs.
She said she chose the play after finding it at the National Thespian Festival this past summer. She and her students started working on it in August.
Competing at state is not a new experience for Bryant: she and a different group of students have gone two out of the four years that they have competed. She added that this is the only time that they have scored a Superior at state and the only time they have placed first.
Will Aiken won an individual award for Best Actor. He shared that he prepared for his role as Seth with “constant practice and rehearsal.” He noted that this role probably had the most lines he has ever had to prepare.
“I was really focused on the day of the competition and I became the character of Seth,” he shared. “It also helped that I had my lucky Pikachu on stage as part of the play.”
The All Star Cast Award went to Abbie Knight and Ansley Baldwin. For this award the judges choose two actors from each cast to honor.
Knight was given the award for her excellent characterization of the principal.
“I went out there remembering what Mrs. Bryant told us at each performance, ‘Step out of your comfort zone and step into your greatness,’” she shared, adding that she prepared by visualizing people who were hateful to her. “I won’t say who I was thinking of, but obviously it worked!”
Baldwin said she prepared by watching Carol Burnett in her role as Mrs. Wiggins and then adding her own special touch.
Best Featured Ensemble went to Sarah Grey Ligon, Ansley Baldwin, Dalton Smith, Brant Kiepper, Michael Rhodes, and Phillip Webb for their performance of Lunch Ladies.
For this portion of the play there are two characters, Vera and Ethel, who are backed by four boys dressed as lunch ladies.
She added that they were successful because of the play, which was “perfect for middle school students” and because of the student actors who had “sheer determination and focus.”
Bryant shared that they were in a state of shock when second place was announced.
“After the MC announced our play we just sat there for a second before we all piled on stage to receive our award,” she wrote. “It was a great day!”
Printed in the November 15, 2012 edition