Kilgore High School students examined what it would be like to move back to their hometown after living in New York City.
This was no guest speaker or a visiting author, but instead the basis of the KHS theater students’ One Act Play, “White Room of My Remembering” by Jean Lenox Toddie. In the story, Jessie returns to her family home in Pennsylvania from New York City and relives nostalgic memories of her childhood.
“That kind of fits in East Texas,” KHS theater teacher and One Act Play director Sally Perkins said. In East Texas and other small communities, some families live on the same property and sometimes the same house as their relatives and others can trace their lineage in the area many generations. “I think it’s a touching story that people can connect with.”
The play was one of about 50 approved University Interscholastic League One Act Play scripts Perkins read.
The show itself received fourth among the six schools participating, leaving them an alternate to advance to bi-district. For their roles in the production, though, four students – three in the cast – received individual recognitions.
Brandon Fugler was recognized as an All-Star Cast Member, while Jackson Mauldin and Bailey Green received Honorable All-Star Cast Member designations. Sarah Digilormo also received an Outstanding Crew award for her work on the piece.
“I’m super proud of them,” Perkins said.
Without an opportunity to participating in UIL One Act Play in high school and in her first year at KHS, last month’s experience was Perkins’ first.
“I have learned so much, I don’t even know where to start,” she said, noting how much the returning theater students helped her through the process. “The whole process was new to me.”
The easiest part, she said, was selecting the show and directing it.
“I can help my students fall in love with it.”
Before the competition March 9, though, the cast and crew went to clinics to perform their 40-minute play to get feedback from multiple judges. Then, the task is finding how to incorporate the changes and feedback the judges give, she said.
“That’s when it started to get tricky,” Perkins said. “It was all good because it helped us do better, but it was nitpicky. That’s why we went to several clinics, just to see what other people said about it. We would take different parts of the show… We played with so many different things.”
During the competition the students have seven minutes to set up the stage, 40 minutes to perform and then another seven minutes to strike the stage and take down their sets.
March 8 was set aside for a dress technical rehearsal for the students to practice their timing to set up and take down the stage and make sure the light and sound cues all work with the show.
“It’s a little chaotic,” Perkins said, noting each of the six competing schools have different color tape for stage marking.
KHS performed fifth out of six schools, but some students chose to not watch their competition while others were curious to know what other schools were bringing to the contest.
After the sixth play, Perkins said, “Then we wait.”
In her first year with KHS and her first year in the UIL One Act Play competition, Perkins said, she is happy with her students’ fourth-place finish, which qualifies them as an alternative to bi-district.
“It was awesome!” she said. “It just gave me this drive. I’m so excited for next year.”
Although Perkins is already looking at shows to work on for next year’s competition, the cast and crew of “White Room of My Remembering” are bringing the production to KHS April 11 and 13 in the KHS Auditorium. Doors will open at 7 p.m. with the performances beginning at 7:30 each night. Tickets will cost $5 for adults, $3 for students and will be available at the door. Children five years old and younger will be admitted for free.