MCHS Theatre Wins Runner-Up at KTA High School Play Festival


Seth Bowden

Our Place cast & crew accept award. L to R: Alex Dycus, Kenzie Crane, Alex Bachuss, Caroline Dew, Hope Eason, Caleb Buford, Samuel Powless, Eli Dossett, Cameron Durbin, Mary Bowden, Andrew Castleman, Sarah Haight, Cameron Stewart, Rebekka Walker, Kaitlyn Craig, Prince Joshi.

Caleb Buford, Messenger Reporter & Business Manager

The McCracken County Theatre Department’s Drama III class participated in the annual Kentucky Theatre Association Western Region High School Play Festival hosted at Owensboro High School. Our school’s cast competed against performances by Daviess County High School, Apollo High School, Logan County High School, Henderson County High School, and Owensboro High School. This is our department’s first year competing in such an event, making it a new experience for all involved in this traveling production.
The McCracken County High School cast presented the one-act play, “Our Place” by Terry Gabbard, a dramedy about an old, abandoned dock used by only those who know about the place for love, fun, nostalgia, and memoriam. The show presents 5 scenes with different plots but in the same setting and the same over-arching idea; “With such limited real estate it is no surprise that we share our special places,” (Liberty, “Our Place”). “Audiences should take away from the show that you’ve got to spend time with the people you love in the places that are important to you,” expressed Cameron Durbin, a Senior at MCHS and played the role of Corey, a 20-something year old who is Liberty’s boyfriend and with his mind set on the idea of taking over his father’s repair shop. “Those places are very important and the people that you meet along the way are very important so don’t take that for granted. Live your life, man.”
At the festival, each high school is given a certain amount of time to perform, in this case 45 minutes. This time includes set-up, performance, and striking the set. If a production does not complete these tasks in the time allotted, the production is disqualified from the competition. Productions are rated on a plethora of criteria including character development, believability, and the unity of the ensemble. After the show is completed and the adjudicators finalize their adjudication form for the show, each of them provides 3 minutes of constructive criticism to the cast and crew of the show.

McCracken County was the 4th school to perform, opening up the second half of the day. The cast placed the set, ran the show, and striked in 37 minutes successfully. Durbin stated, “I felt pretty good, I think that everybody was a little nervous but, once you get up there on the stage, the nerves just go away and the adrenaline takes over and you just go through it, you’ve prepared for it, and you know, you just go for it.” McCracken County was in the running to place for state. The cast competed against some of the best talent Kentucky high schools had to offer. “Twitch” presented by Apollo High School was a comedy by Stephen Gregg about a couple who invite their new neighbors over only to discover they are aliens. Owensboro High School presented the show, “Waylen” by Kayla Temshiv, a show about a little town named Waylen devastated by a local mine collapsing. Their show also featured original music created by one of their cast members played live on a fiddle. These are just two examples of the shows presented, with four others also on the track to success.

Once you get up there on the stage, the nerves just go away and the adrenaline takes over and you just go through it, you’ve prepared for it…

— Cameron Durbin

After the last show had ended and they were provided some constructive criticism, the adjudicators left the room to discuss the all-star cast, a select group of people, one person per a show, who showed great talent, and the 2 winners of the competition that would move on to state competition. The room was tense but, there was also new, thriving friendships being formed between people from different schools because of the commonality of theatre.
A slip of paper was returned and the president of the Kentucky Theatre Association announced the all-star cast. From McCracken County High School, Andrew Castleman, a Senior at MCHS who played Stanley, a grungy teenager going through a hard time at home, won an all-star cast position. “Honestly, I feel honored to be a part of that cast,” stated Castleman. “To me, this is just something that I earned and I’m honored but, I’ve had help along the way.” Then, soon after, the two competing casts moving on to state were announced. McCracken County Theatre won runner-up and Owensboro won first place. This is the first award the McCracken County High School Theatre Department has ever received.
After watching all the shows, McCracken realized that to have a chance at state, McCracken needs to step up their game. When we asked Durbin about what he plans to do in preparation for state, he stated, “I think Mrs. Bowden will show us what the judges had to say about this performance, get some notes on and dig deeper into the character, spend more time on it, get some analysis of what he has done in his life prior to this and what he will do after this. Just flesh out the person that is Corey.” McCracken is going to blow this next performance out of the water and we can’t wait to see what is in store for them. The Kentucky Theatre Association State High School Play Festival is November 17th-18th at the Jenny Whiley Theatre in Pikeville, KY. The Mustang Messenger wishes broken legs for this cast!