Spain Park takes center stage at state theatre competition
By MOLLY DAVIDSON / Staff Writer
HOOVER—The Spain Park High School advanced theatre students took center stage—and first place—at the Walter Trumbauer State Festival on Dec. 5 and 6 at Troy University in Montgomery.
Students from nearly 90 high schools across Alabama competed in 30 categories during the two-day competition. Spain Park came away with first place finishes in six categories, including what Spain Park theatre instructor Eric St. John described as “the big one,” the One Act Festival.
“The One Act Festival is a competition for one act plays or a selection from a larger (work),” St. John said.
During competition, students are given a strict 45-minute time limit to construct a set, perform the act and take the set down.
“It goes from blank stage to blank stage in 45 minutes,” St. John said.
Spain Park took first with their rendition of “The Liar” by David Ives, a 17th century French comedy, updated to a 1980s setting.
Of the 68 advanced theatre students that competed over the weekend, St. John said 24 were directly involved in the one act play. In addition to actors, several students were in charge of the movable, folding set and a student band played 1980s music during scene changes.
Numerous rehearsals and hours of practice went into the prize-winning performance. The students had performed “The Liar” in full prior to the competition, however, the first act had to be shortened to fit the competition’s time constraint. Unlearning parts of the play was a challenge, St. John said.
“The kids here are really dedicated. They are willing to give up a good deal of time to put on a great performance,” St. John said. “They really commit to it… they’re a wonderful group of kids.”
With the first place victory at the state-level competition, Spain Park High School will advance to the regional competition and represent Alabama at the Southeastern Theatre Conference in Chattanooga, Tenn., on March 5 and 6.
“The kids who are here are here because this is what they want to do,” St. John said of his advanced theatre students. “This is really where they come alive.”