‘A Fabulous Festival Night of One-Acts’: For two nights, any PRCHS/PMHS rivalries will be set aside for very dramatic reasons — it’s one-act festival time!

Published 11:47 pm Saturday, October 25, 2008

Picayune Memorial High School High Tide Productions and Pearl River Central High School Blue Maskers are joining forces to present “A Fabulous Festival Night of One-Acts,” 6 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 11 and Thursday, Nov. 13 at the Picayune Municipal Auditorium.

Drama teachers Bill Rester, PMHS, and Debbie Craig, PRC, said this is the first time, that they are aware of, that the two local schools have combined their one-acts for one big production.

Of course when Rester first presented the idea PRC readily accepted, said Craig. She is very excited to give her students the opportunity to work in the Picayune Auditorium, which she believes is the nicest theatre space in the county.

The three one-acts being presented are “The Timid Dragon,” by Tim Kelly; “Hard Candy,” by Jonathan Rand and “Cave of the Dragon’s Teeth,” an original script by Debbie Craig.

PRC Blue Maskers will perform the children’s theatre one-act first. Craig describes “The Timid Dragon” as a sweet little show. Both teachers agree that by presenting this show at the top of the evening, it will allow for parents with very young children to enjoy the family friendly one-act and leave before the other performances start, at their discretion.

PMHS High Tide Productions will follow with “Hard Candy.” The show is very funny, said Rester. He said that each person in the show gets interviewed and in turn they become the interviewee. The show includes a sub-plot about cronyism and it has a nice little ending, Rester said. The PMHS troupe decided to set the one-act in the 70’s so it will be bolder and a lot more colorful.

The final one-act will be the world premiere production of “Cave of the Dragon’s Teeth,” presented by the PRC Blue Maskers.

“Scotts have a very interesting culture,” said Craig, who originally thought about doing a piece with a heroic suicide as the main plot. After she decided against “The Chasm,” she said she spent the summer doing careful research on Celtic culture. She then created a piece using all the aspects of that extremely enigmatic culture that first attracted her to it.

“I have a very physical group,” she said of her male dominated troupe. She is going to use that masculine energy to stage some sword fights and do a little stage combat. She will also choreograph a Celtic folk dancing scene.

No special transitions have been set for the interludes between two schools’ one-acts. Each one-act will be treated like it’s own production. Tear downs and set-ups will serve as the scene breaks.

Craig said the tear downs and set-ups have to be carefully choreographed and will be timed in as part of the show. After the production is presented to the community, both schools will take the one-acts as separate entities to the High School Regionals at University of Southern Mississippi, December 5 and 6.

Although the students have not yet seen the other school’s one-acts, they are looking forward to it. The students are all very excited about the collaboration. They said by combining the two schools’ productions into one, it will lead to a much more productive rehearsal process because they will be able to get instant feedback.

“We will get input from different voices,” one of the student thespians said.

Rester and Craig said that parents have also been completely supportive of the decision to combine the three student one-acts and everyone is just looking forward to the production. Both teachers would like to see this new union between the two schools become an annual tradition.

The respective schools’ students are also looking ahead to their spring productions. PMHS is being ambitious and performing two more shows for 2008-2009, the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical “Cinderella” and Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet.”

“We wanted to have a season,” said Rester. This is Rester’s first year as drama teacher at PMHS and he wanted to make sure the school had more than one production this year.

Craig will direct “Drama I,” a comedy about high school life in the spring. She rotates between comedies and musicals every other year for the big spring production. Her students will also compete in several other drama festivals throughout the year, including the MTA State Festival in Natchez, Jan. 15 – 18, 2009, and the Mississippi High School Thespian Conference at Gulfport High School, Jan. 30 – 31, 2009.

Tickets for “A Fabulous Festival Night of One-Acts” will only be sold at the door on the nights of the production, Tuesday, Nov. 11 and Thursday, Nov. 13. Ticket prices are $8 for adults, $5 for students. Don’t miss this exciting collaborative effort.