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Two schools to present their one act features this weekend

As a way to raise funds to travel to the state competition in Oxford later this month, Picayune Memorial’s High Tide Productions and Pearl River Central’s Blue Maskers will present their plays to the public.
Both schools placed in the top four out of 16 schools in the regional competition held in Hattiesburg at the University of Southern Mississippi.
This weekend’s show is called A Night of One Acts, and will feature Pearl River Central’s rendition of “Lady White Snake”, which is a play adapted by PRC Drama Director Ginger Schmidt from an old Chinese folk tale.
Picayune will present former Drama Director Deborah Craig’s play “Orphan Trains”.
Both plays offer something for everyone. Schmidt said her play will offer a stylized production with variations of Kabuki, Asian Theatre and Chinese Opera. Schmidt said while writing the play her stylized and realism sides clashed at times.
“But I think I we found a nice balance between the two,” Schmidt said.
“Orphan Trains” is a more true to life presentation that focuses on the historic practice of sending orphans west during the late 1800s and early 1900s in America, said Picayune’s Theater Director Valerie Griggs.
“We’re just so fortunate to have such a great play,” Griggs said.
“Lady White Snake” is a variation of the Chinese legend entitled “Legend of the White Snake” where a snake gains magical powers and later falls in love with a mortal after transforming herself into a woman.
“Orphan Train” focuses on children born and raised in New York, but sent out west to families unable to have their own children, or who need an extra hand around their farms. Griggs said the story has some relevance to Pearl River County because there are some descendants of real life orphan train passengers living in the county today.
Play times are Friday and Saturday at the Picayune Auditorium beginning at 7:30 p.m. Pearl River Central will present their play first on Friday, with Picayune following. The two schools will switch the order on Saturday night.
Admission to each night is $8 for adults, and $5 for students and senior citizens.
Schmidt said the proceeds from the plays will help fund their trip to compete in the state competition. They will head for Oxford later this month.
Both teams earned a place in the state competition when they performed well at the regional competition in December. Out of 16 teams, four schools were selected to compete at the state level, two of which are from Pearl River County.
Schmidt said in addition to the troupe receiving best ensemble and the technical achievement awards, several of her students also received individual awards. Dean Crosby received the All Star Cast Award while the team’s musician, Dallen O’Briant, received the Judge’s Choice Award for Music.
Picayune also brought home some awards. Griggs said Anna Lander received the All Star Cast Award and Jackson Sauls received the Special Music Award for the score he wrote for several scenes. Gabrielle Leclercq, who plays clarinet and harmonica in the show, and Delora Denney, who plays piano, both received special awards for their live performances at the competition.