No curtain calls for One Act Play


Hayden Moss

A number of students fell victim to COVID-19 after Theater Arts teacher Deb Turrentine decided to pull the plug on this year’s One Act Play which the students were planning for this year’s UIL competition.

“We withdrew from the UIL One Act Play because we had lost so much rehearsal time between COVID and the winter storm and the two day off afterward,” Turrentine said. “We lost close to 30 hours of rehearsal. So we were that far behind.”

The play is called We All Fall Down, the team planned on doing it for the competition and they’re now doing it for a community presentation.

“We are hosting our community performance and awards Monday, March 29 at 7:00 pm,” Turrentine said.

This play was written by Barre Gonzalez. It’s set during the Vietnam War in a Medic compound. It follows the nurses working the compound and the soldiers who are sent there to recover. Barre dedicated the play “to the men and women that served their country with undying devotion during a conflict that still has history asking ‘why?'”

With the ongoing pandemic, UIL has left it to each district to decide to keep masks or not.

“UIL has to put it to the individual districts to decide what they’re going to do with that, because each district has a different set of circumstances,” Turrentine said. “You know some of the Metropolitan districts still have huge numbers of cases. I don’t know what our numbers are here in Trinity County. The [state] board left it up to each individual school district to make the decision as to whether the district would be required to still wear masks or not.”

The masks do put some restrictions for what some students can do during the play. Especially with their voices.

“We have been practicing with both masks on and off,” Turrentine said. “The mask and the performance atmosphere, it makes it harder to understand the speaker. When you’re offstage, so much of understanding what the character’s doing is their facial expression. You can’t see facial expressions, so we’ve had to do a lot more body language type stuff.”

With the six-feet distance rule, students in One Act Play have to be closer because of how the play is and how small some stages are.

“It’s like other extracurriculars, you know. When you’re playing basketball, there’s no way you’re gonna stay six feet apart when you’re playing,” Turrentine said. “So that’s why a lot of the contest managers were advocating to continue wearing the mask even on stage because in a lot of the scenes, you’re not going to be six feet apart.”

Turrentine is trying multiple methods to help students out with their school work.

“We’ve done Google meets, we’ve done tutoring. The whole time we were out for the two weeks I would open up Google meet at certain times of the day,” Turrentine said. “For chemistry and IPC, I would open up Google meet at certain times of the day, reminding them of things. I can’t see individual assignments from other classes, but I can see their averages.”

Even with some of the new rules that UIL has put, they will not matter if there aren’t any students in the play.

“Some years, I have enough kids to have like a lead and an understudy for every single position to share,” Turrentine said. “Well, I didn’t have enough kids for every part. I have kids who aren’t in theater class who are in the play because I need extras, and there are some minor parts that I had to cover.”