I received an early Christmas present last week. This is the time of year when a number of schools and districts do their regional competitions. Quite a few of our one acts appear in high school competitions across the US and Canada and it’s always exciting to hear when a school has made it through and is off to compete at a higher level.
There is one particular school in Florida that we’ve been following. This school was in an area that was hit by the hurricanes last year. It is in a trailer park area so many lost their homes – the teacher told us that some students were living in cars because of this. The school has no theatre and no theatre program: this teacher had been brought into the school to start a program. Many of the students in the play (Tuna Fish Eulogy) had never been on stage before. At their district competition, 28 schools compete for 4 slots at the State level. And they did it! It’s highly competitive and no one expected this school to be competitive.
This is no walk-in-the-park play, either. I’d say it’s one of the most, if not the most challenging play in our catalogue. It is written in ladder format, which means actors read the text from top to bottom on the page instead of left to right. It’s poetic, time is incredibly fluid, and the characters do not act in a linear fashion. The play takes a lot of concentration and I couldn’t be more thrilled at this school’s success. I know that they are over the moon as well!
For me, it truly goes to show what determination and heart can do. It’s stories like this that make me glad I’m a playwright and that I write for high schools. It’s a vivid example of the power of theatre.
The best part is that I get to see the State production! I can’t wait.