The stage of the historic Mayfair Building located on the grounds of the East Texas State Fair in Tyler has seen many events and important people since its construction. Celebrities such as Dolly Parton, Minnie Pearl, Johnny Cash, Ernest Tubb, Johnny Horton, Roy Acuff and Bob Barker have graced its stage. And in January of 1955, Elvis Presley performed on the Mayfair Stage.
Now fast-forward 63 years to the afternoon of January 30, 2018, and that marks the date when nine Rusk County 4-H’ers added their names to the long prestigious list of Mayfair Stage performers as they participated in the East Texas State Fair-Academic Rodeo-One Act Play Festival.
Competition in the festival marked the last of the academic rodeo season for Rusk County 4-H’ers as members had participated in the Ag Product ID Contest and Youth Fashion Show earlier in the month of January.
Specifically the One Act Play Festival is for middle school and high school students interested in the fine arts and is designed to give these students a positive theater experience that fosters participation in, commitment to and appreciation of quality theater.
Preparation in forming the Rusk County 4-H Middle School cast began last fall with “play practices” being held multiple times per week beginning in December 2017, at the Rusk County Extension Office Meeting Room. The dedicated cast of 4-H’ers, led by their devoted 4-H Project Leader Mrs. Christy Parrott, met during Christmas vacation and helped their parents construct set designs, costumes, and props.
As performance day drew closer, the community supported the cast with ArtsView Children’s Theater of Longview loaning costumes for the performance, Henderson Middle School providing a practice night in order for the group to use a stage, and First Christian Church-Henderson providing one final rehearsal location allowing the cast to further practice their voice projection in the church’s Fellowship Hall.
On the day of the Academic Rodeo Festival, these Rusk County 4-H’ers brought to life the play “Mirror, Mirror - A Tale of Snow White” written by Michelle Norris. Serving as Director was Miss Hannah Jane Parrott, and serving as Technical Director of Lights and Sound was Miss Madi Powers.
Cast members and their character roles were: Andie Anderson as Snow White; Jaidyn Murphy as the Queen/Peddler Woman; Lorelai Rodden as the Magic Mirror & Prince Ferdinand; Hannah Jane Parrott as the Huntsman & Dopey; Diana Canenquez as Sneezy the Narrator; Winter Curry as Doc; Kaylee Jones as Grumpy; Amelie White as Sleepy.
The cast will receive honors at the East Texas State Fair-Academic Rodeo-Award of Excellence Ceremony on February 23, but perhaps the greatest reward each of the cast members have received from the experience in One Act Play Festival include growing in confidence with their presentation skills and working as a team. Additionally, memories have been made and life-long friendships have been formed.–Hence the magic of 4-H.