By: Tiffany Hoang, Foster HS Troupe 7961
What is One Act Play?
Hello Texas Thespians! If you’re new to high school theatre, you’re probably wondering what all the hype about the One Act Play season is about. High school theatre troupes all over the state of Texas participate in OAP of Texas’ University Interscholastic League (UIL) in their designated division through levels of competition. Each theatre troupe must pick a published and approved play, and cut it down to 18-40 minutes to be performed. And of course, there are VERY specific rules and guidelines that each theatre troupe MUST follow. But why participate in this event you may ask? Here’s five reasons why I think you should participate in your high school’s One Act Play:
1.) You WILL Be Competing
Normally, high school theatre students are accustomed to performing shows that are meant for entertaining family members and friends. However, OAP is in a completely different ballpark. You and your cast/crew members are performing your show in order to compete with other schools in your division. You will have the opportunity to advance from District, Bi-District, Area, Region, and hopefully making it to State. I personally think the competition aspect of UIL OAP is extremely invigorating and keeps you on your feet, pushing you to do better with each rehearsal and each performance.
2.) You WILL Grow As An Actor or Techie
The One Act competition will give you the opportunity to cultivate and improve your craft. Both actors and techies will receive critiques from judges at the end of every competition, which will be taken into serious consideration for their next rehearsal or performance. Actors and techies get to fine tune their skills and abilities through the eyes of different people with theatre experiences.
3.) You WILL Have The Opportunity To Win Awards
This isn’t THE most important thing about One Act, but it is definitely worth mentioning. Hard working actors and techies will be recognized for their outstanding performance at each competing event. Some of the awards include Best Actor, Best Actress, Outstanding Technician, All-Star Cast, and Honorable Mention All-Star Cast. Again, not the most important thing to be focused on, but it is definitely a plus!
4.) You WILL Learn Order and Chaos
The entire One Act process will be extremely stressful. However, your director and cast members will be the group of people that will help you through it all. Your rock, if you will. Sometimes you’ll want to rip their heads off and other times you’ll want to laugh at each other until you all start sounding like a uniform, wheezing mantra. In the end, the competition will bring all of you together in order to work and get things done. You’ll learn the importance of focusing, listening, teamwork, organizational skills, and self-awareness during this very crucial time.
5.) You WILL Have Fun!
In the end, if you and your troupe does not advance very far, hopefully you would have still had fun and treasure unforgettable memories of the entire process! Remember that theatre is a form of expression, and if you feel like it’s beginning to seem more like a chore, then One Act probably isn’t for you.
I believe in you. Go out there and Break-A-Leg Texas Thespians!
With much love,
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~By Asa Fris, McKinney North HS
We’ve all been in a play or musical where something feels off. Either you’re really tired, your voice hurts, your grades hurt, or you just don’t feel good. Unfortunately, these are signs that you are probably not taking as good of care of yourself as you should be. And with Festival just around the corner, we want you to be in top shape for the amazing weekend ahead!
Fortunately, we have some helpful tips and tricks to help prevent a lot of these problems from happening to ensure that whatever performance you’re giving is the best it can be.
As the National Sleep Foundation (NSP) says “Sleep is food for the brain.” As performers we must take care of all parts of ourselves: mind, body, and voice. Without sleep, especially as teens, we cannot maintain a healthy mind, and an unhealthy mind means a weaker performance.
Ok, when I’m in a show, I feel so tired… what can I do?
The first step is to know how much sleep you need. The NSP that only 15% of teens get the required 8-10 hours of sleep per night. And unlike losing your voice and regaining it later, lost sleep can't come back. The negative effects of not getting enough sleep will tend to remain present even if you have temporarily fixed your sleep schedule.
So what are some things I can do to help?
Have a set time to go to sleep.
Let’s say my school starts at 7:30 in the morning (which it does). That means I need to get up at 6:45, so eight hours back would be 10:45 and I need twenty minutes to get to sleep so my set time to get to bed is 10:25. I now know without a doubt if I don’t get in bed by 10:25, I’m likely not going to be getting enough sleep.
Ok, I know when I need to get to sleep by, but how do I ensure I do get to sleep by that time?
Manage your workload.
Homework. What do you do if you have homework you think will keep you up past your set time to sleep? A big culprit here is procrastination. We all procrastinate to some degree, but sometimes you need to get your work done when it’s assigned. Communicate to your teachers about times like tech weeks, respectfully asking for deadlines to be extended, or grading to be more lenient. (Don’t forget to ask your director to email the other teachers and give them a heads up about late night rehearsals!)
Be wary of other distractions
Technology like phones or laptops can keep us up, and while checking on our feeds at the end of the day can be relaxing, we can easily get hooked. Suddenly we’ve passed that set time when we need to sleep. Some methods to help with this include not allowing your phone to come into your bedroom, or setting an alarm on your phone for when you need to put it away and start to sleep.
So what are you waiting for?? Get to bed already!
Hey Texas Thespians!
My name is Elam Blackwell and I want to share just a little bit about how being a Thespian has completely changed my life.
Now I know what you’re probably thinking… “This is the most cliche opening he could have for this article” “Everyone says theatre has ‘changed their life’” “It's been like 2 paragraphs and he still hasn't said anything worthwhile.”
Well you would be correct. Theatre has changed many people’s lives for the better. But I want to tell you about an adventure theatre has taken me on, to our nation's capitol.
“Great. Now he’s trying to tie in the whole ‘adventure awaits’ theme.”
Back in June, I went with my troupe to the International Thespian Festival in Lincoln, Nebraska (the most exciting town in the US). There I became an International Thespian Officer (or ITO), which basically means I get to travel around the country talking about how theatre is super amazing to a bunch of people! The first trip I went on was to Washington D.C. this past July, and oh what an adventure it was!
In D.C. I got to advocate for theatre on Capitol Hill! I was a part of a group that went around to talk to senators and representatives about passing a budget that gave more funding for the arts. It really was surreal to be able to walk into Ted Cruz’s office to talk about theatre! It was an amazing experience that I wish everyone could have.
But I could have never done anything like that if it wasn’t for getting involved in theatre. In that way theatre has expanded my world farther than I could have ever imagined. So my message to you would be this: Don’t be afraid to take risks. Because risks are the best way to begin an adventure!
And now for some shameless self-promotion:
Follow me on twitter: @ITOElamB
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Facebook: International Thespian Officers
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If you’re here, on this beautiful website, taking time to read this article, my guess is that you already know WHAT high school theatre is. The rushing around in the wings, the smell of hairspray in clouds, the bright lights and loud clapping of friends and families. You’re probably involved in some way, or want to be at least. Which is fantastic. But the big question that not only are we asking, but that school districts everywhere are asking, is WHY do we do high school theatre?
Now, I could give you the obvious answers. You know that surface level stuff. Trust me, you’ve heard them before, it’s filler answers like ‘it’s fun, entertainment value, etc. etc.’ but those reasons are not the cause of so many changed lives. A high schooler doesn’t blossom into a leader simply because they had a “good time”. It’s something more. It’s gotta be something that is recurring because we’ve had theatre since 532 B.C.E. This growing community of artists is not a trend. It’s an established way of life. And I’m pretty confident in saying it’s because of three things:
If you’re not in high school right now, you’ve been there. We all have. It’s a required rite of passage to adulthood, but boy, what a rough one it is. Approximately 20% of teenagers will experience depression before adulthood. That’s a serious number of children affected, and while theatre can’t cure depression in any way, shape, or form, an important part of every teenager’s development is their self-esteem. Self-esteem that normally takes a dark turn in high school, a time when everyone is comparing themselves to everybody else. Now wait, you might be thinking, Theatre is all about comparing yourself to other people. That’s the point, right? Auditioning and competing for roles and positions of power backstage, how on this green earth is that supposed to HELP with our esteem? It helps because it’s not a fight to the death, it’s a competition with support, that, at the end, finds a place for everyone to contribute. And it’s that contribution that you fought to give, that is appreciated by a house of people clapping for you, and a community that has been built around you, that lifts up each and every individual.
This is a big world. This world has so many people in it. People have so many different ways of life, beliefs, and cultures. The beautiful thing about theatre is that it produces not just shows, it creates a story. And more often than not it’s based on the history around us. Students participating in any show are learning about the world and people around them by actually becoming a part of whatever story they are portraying. Theatre is important, “because it shows you how to interact with and be a more cultured individual.” (Rachel Meltzer, S.T.O.) Rachel puts it perfectly. Because not only are you becoming a more cultured person, you’re learning to communicate and coordinate with everyone around you by respecting where they’ve come from, which is super important when venturing out into the real world after high school, whether it be in theatre or not. And technicians as well receive a huge wealth of knowledge from all the work they do and the skills they learn to prepare them wherever they go.
Nothing connects you closer to the humans around you than to study and portray them on stage. Actors have to delve into the roots of emotion and accurately show the wide variety of personalities and situations in our world. We all know the phrase ‘walk a mile in someone else’s shoes,’ but that becomes quite literal when you put on a costume for a character. Hearing about a tragedy and actually having to research and be a part of the tragedy are two completely different things, and they both evoke two completely different reactions. Kids in theatre feel more deeply for those around them because they are forced to feel all sorts of emotions for their respective shows. Theatre, “teaches empathy to those that need it the most.” (Elam Blackwell, STO and ITO) Empathy is so important in all aspects of life. It builds deeper relationships and helps you connect in situations like job interviews, helping those in need, and one day having a family. (Whatever kind it may be!)
Theatre is the pinnacle of so many kid’s lives, not only because it’s fun, but because it’s build character, not just the ones you see on stage. The way that this community builds teenagers up brings people together in way that makes them stronger than ever before. It creates a need to work, to share, and to be a part of the world. It’s passion, pure and simple, and our education system needs it.