Mineral Wells Index, Mineral Wells, TX

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November 8, 2012

MWHS actors hope to resurrect ‘Tombstone’ at state competition

Troupe seeks financial help in hopes of sending entire company to Texas State Thespian Festival

By LIBBY CLUETT

Mineral Wells High School’s Ram Theater Company is off to a robust start this season, with their first production, “Tombstone,” behind them – or is it?

“The MWHS Theatre has a once-in-a-lifetime chance to perform Tombstone at state convention,” announced theater supporter Beth Williams. “We are super excited and very honored. There is just one problem – money.”

The Texas State Thespian Festival, part of the International Thespian Society, takes place Nov. 29-Dec. 1 at Houston’s George R. Brown Convention Center. In order at accept the invitation, Williams said the company must raise funds for registration, travel, gas, hotel, food and the like to be able to get the company of 29 students to the festival, along with the set, props, costumes and everything that goes with the production.

For last month’s production, based on events and people surrounding the infamous 1881 shoot out at the O.K. Corral in Tombstone, Ariz., Ram Thespians not only learned their lines and cues, but students handmade the set and period costumes for the play,

MWHS students are on a dramatic roll. Last year, Ram Theater reignited the University Interscholastic League One-Act Play stage, reaching Class 3A regional competition for the first time on 14 years. For this, the performed “The Beggar’s Opera” and had two students named all-star cast and another  as honorable mention all-star cast.

To be able to perform at the four-day state festival, high schools submit their plays for adjudication, according to Ram Theater Director Kris Allen. The ITS Troupe No. 4607 from Mineral Wells was one of 13 schools submitting their plays for review, with MWHS being the only 3A school in the mix.

After adjudication, Allen said, “Mineral Wells ranked in the top four selected to perform their play.”

If they get to the state festival, Allen said the MWHS company will be adjudicated again with the chance to take “Tombstone” to the International Festival in June, which draws troupes from across the nation as well as from Australia, South America and Europe.

In order to present “Tombstone” at the state festival, Williams said the students need public support.

“Some of the kids have paid their registration, but some families are just not able to afford the cost,” Williams said. “We have one family with two children in the play which makes it even harder.”

While at the four-day event, Allen said students will watch plays, take four workshops each day and learn from college and professionals in the theater business.

“They get to intermingle with about 3,000 theater students,” he said, adding that the festival is an intensive learning experience, focused on different aspects of the theater.

Ram Theater hopes to be able to take the entire “Tombstone” company of 29 students.

“Two years ago we took eight [students] and last year we took 14 to the state festival. For us to double that is pretty exciting, but also very expensive,” Allen said. “This is quite an honor. There are only four high schools representing the state of Texas and we are one of them.”

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