Throughout the past two weeks, Grayson College has shown off the talents of Texoma’s best high school actors and actresses as it has hosted local, zone and district UIL One-Act Play contests. The contest challenges high school drama programs to produce and stage their best play, in one act.

Throughout the past two weeks, Grayson College has shown off the talents of Texoma’s best high school actors and actresses as it has hosted local, zone and district UIL One-Act Play contests. The contest challenges high school drama programs to produce and stage their best play, in one act.


While the actors take center stage in the various productions, the contest also focuses on stage craft, lighting and special effects, showing off the talents of stagehands and crew.


Lexi Palmer, a sophomore from Pottsboro, got her start this year with the stage crew after a broken ankle forced her to stop acting. Her focus turned instead to makeup on Pottsboro’s rendition of the Steven Sondheim classic, "Sweeney Todd."


"Backstage is always busy," said Palmer. "No matter how good it goes on stage, something always goes wrong."


The musical tells the story of the titular Sweeney Todd, a falsely imprisoned barber, and his quest for revenge. Palmer said her main challenge with this production was making realistic blood makeup, and making it so it would run convincingly, but not overly so.


"It is pretty dangerous, because we all have rented clothing," said Palmer.


The solution came after Palmer asked a chemistry teacher for advice, which led to the use of special makeup that would react to a chemical hidden on Sweeney’s razorblades. Outside the blood, Palmer said she had issues applying makeup on actors who refused to shave their beards.


Holden Webster, playing Roy Wild in Denison’s "The Secret Affairs of Mildred Wild," had no problems shaving for the part — he shaved his head to match Roy’s balding hairstyle. Webster was planning on shaving it for an upcoming role, and the part of Roy just coincided with it.


The trouble for Webster was putting himself into the shoes of the middle-aged husband, as he is more accustomed to playing younger roles. Webster said he fully felt he knew the character about a week ago when he did an exercise with his director where he read the script in his own words.


"Being able to say the sub-text of the lines helped me connect with him," said Webster.


In the play, Roy serves as a foil to his more ditsy, spirited wife Mildred, contrasting Webster’s usual comedic roles. In other plays, he has played many over-the-top characters, including a woman in a recent play.


Nick Edwards, of Pottsboro, said he felt he was outside of his comfort zone when he was cast as the flamboyant, swaggering, mustachioed Italian barber Alfredo Pirelli in Sweeney Todd. Edwards describes himself as a fairly serious person. "It is weird, because I am Pirelli," said Edwards. "He is my opposite."


Edwards said it took him time to get the small details of the character down, including the little sounds in his voice and pronunciation, but once he was in character, it was hard to break out of it.


Denison student Amy Ethridge described herself as a "Debbie Downer," the complete opposite of her character Mildred Wild. "She is one of those spirited people who tries to see the bright side, even as everything is crashing down," said Ethridge. "I have to think of it from her eyes."


The following school local districts had representatives at this year’s UIL One-Act Play Contests: Dodd City, Savoy, Ector, Trenton, Sam Rayburn, Howe, S&S, Whitewright, Pottsboro, Whitesboro, Tom Bean, Bells, Sherman and Denison.