By Tia Lynn Ivey
The Morgan County High School (MCHS) Drama Dogs are headed to a statewide theater competition after winning a slew of awards at last week’s District 4AAA One Act Theater Competition.
“These students have worked so hard, and with the challenges presented to all of us during the pandemic, it has required even more from everyone. The students so deserved this recognition, and I can’t wait for even more people to get to experience this show,” MCHS Drama Director Lenea Rose.
The Drama Dogs won First Place in the Region One Act category for their performance of Women and War. Now, they will compete at the state-level on Feb. 20 at Perry High School in Perry, Ga.
Individual student cast members also won awards last week. Charles McGregor won for best actor. Aislinn Bellew won for best actress. John Duclos won for Best Supporting Actor. Avril Brown and Sabrine Booker won in the All Star Cast category.
The Drama Dogs first took on the emotionally-charged play earlier this year, with an all student-run production, dazzling local audiences in Morgan County. MCHS Senior MJ Faulkner directed the play. They took the play to the District 4AAA One Act Theater Competition and performed before a panel of judges, their peers and a broader audience.
“Women and War,” written by Jack Hilton Cunningham, is a one-act play centering around women from multiple generations telling “fictional stories based on historical fact.” Through correspondence and monologues, an array of characters deliver moving stories of their experience in every war, from World War I all the way to the War in Afghanistan.
The MCHS Drama Dogs took on the production as an opportunity to let students perform every job needed to put on a play – not just acting, but directing, set design, and sound management. According to Rose, her students did all the work to put on this emotional production.
“I am so proud of all the young men and women who have given so much time and energy to make this production possible. This is a huge undertaking, and they have done a spectacular job,” said Rose.
According to Rose, M.J. Faulkner and all the students who participated deserve praise for the success of MCHS’s production of Women and War.
“This was a student directed show, and M.J. Faulkner, a senior drama student, actually brought this show to me last year and asked if we could produce it. It is such a unique show, and I personally love the way these individual stories have been shared through the letters and monologues of these people, shared Rose. “The stories are from so many different perspectives concerning individuals involvement in various wars, and it is incredibly touching. We had 13 student performers in the show and four student techs running things behind the scenes. I am so proud of their hard work. We will be taking this piece to one act play competition on February 6th, and I can’t wait for them to get another opportunity to perform.”
The cast, comprised of MCHS students, included Aaron Crowell, Sabrina Booker, Charles McGregor, Avril Brown, John Duclos, Aislinn Bellew, Sameeha Sultana, M.J. Faulkner, Rowan Reid, Malachi Careathers, Savannah Faulkner, Katie Williams, and Evelyn McCanless.
The production was directed by M.J. Faulker. Caitlyn Carter served as stage manager. Andy Hanes was in charge of Lighting Design. Jacob Talevski was in charges of Sound Design. The stage crew consisted of Emilee Smith, Maddie Brown, Malachi Careathers, and Katie Williams.
“Women and War” was first produced by Retro Productions at the Spoon Theater in New York City in May 2010. The performance was directed by Peter Zinn. The full-length and one-act versions of “Women and War” continue to be produced in high schools throughout the US and Canada.
Dramadogs who won awards:
Best Actor: Charles McGregor
Best Actress: Aislinn Bellew
Best Supporting Actor:John Duclos
All Star Cast: Avril Brown and Sabrina Booker
First Place Over Region One Act