“The 11th”, by David J. LeMaste is a play that took our drama team, made up of over 20 students to state this year. It also taught the dynamic group about themselves, each other, the dreadful day of Sept. 11, 2001, and brought them together through hard work, a passion for their craft, and whole a lot of fun.
The drama team, led by Veteran teacher Marsha Bryan, chose the award-winning play, but it was not an immediate decision. They searched through several scripts in order to find the one they wished to perform.
Through a lot of prayer, the play “The 11th” came to be. Originally there were two scripts for the play. The first one they read they reacted to in a humorous fashion
“This is a God thing, but a play that I wanted to do is “The Miracle Worker”, I had all of these great female actors… But I had 10 guy actors. And the play has 3 male parts. And I said, ‘I can’t do that. I’ve got too many guys that are great actor. What are we gonna do?’ And so literally, we prayed,” said Bryan.
“The first one we started reading I said ‘Oh no what have I gotten ourselves into?’ Then when we read the 2nd script, [‘The 11th’]. We were touched… This was very heartfelt, very honest, very sincere, and we were moved when we read this script.” said Bryan.
The team also realized it is the 15-year anniversary for this historic day, so felt it would be a great time to do it.
The Texas Private and Parochial Schools (TAPPS) One-Act play competition requires the team to set up and take down all the staging in a set amount of time, as well as act, do all the lights, sound, makeup and choreography.
The team won 2nd place at District TAPPS 3A, and at State, won several individual awards, list following:
Awards aren’t why this teacher or team does this. Bryan loves teaching her students, or kids as she refers to them.
Bryan, found her passion for drama by having a very important role in her first play “Peter Rabbit” in kindergarten as a pumpkin.
She has taught drama over 26 years, and for the past few years, brings that passion to our students here.
“The best part about the theater group here, is that they are so inclusive, that they would all start running together and hanging together,” said Bryan.
Bryan knows it is important for the cast to get along and love their craft. In high school, she took acting classes. In college, she acted in, as well as directed plays for her church, and after college, started teaching her passion.
According to Bryan, there is one student in particular who helps evolve the play into what it became. That student is Senior Maggie Bullington.
Bullington recently won the District award for best actress in this one-act play, yet she does more than just acting.
Bullington also does all of the makeup for the cast, including herself. After she artfully applies everyone else’s makeup, she has about ten minutes to put herself together before the play begins.
Most importantly, Bullington is the choreographer for the plays.
“What I love so much about it is getting to tell stories,” said Bullington. “I think that is what makes dance, singing, or anything with art great.”
Bullington has the ability to understand what a character might do in a given situation, then choreograph it to come alive.
“I love getting inside of the character’s head,” said Bullington.
She does a fantastic job of planning the team’s intricate moves, according to Bryan.
“I can do the basic stage choreography, but I can’t do what Maggie does,” said Bryan.
“Maggie is amazing… She was my choreographer last year when we did ‘Guys and Dolls’. The reason we have done a musical 2 years in a row is because I’ve got Maggie as my choreographer for our upcoming spring production of “The Wizard of Oz”, said Bryan, spilling the beans about their next production.
There were plenty of behind-the-scenes activities that transpired in order for “The 11th” to take place.
The acting was phenomenal, but so were the sound and lighting, which also played a huge role in this play.
Junior Elijah Cavanaugh, who edited the clips for sound, explained the difficulty that occurred.
“I had to find sound clips on YouTube or the internet, and I had to cut them and mesh them together so that they flowed with each other. Then I had to fade them in and out during the play… We had 16 sound presets for the whole play.”
With many trials and errors, the drama team practiced for two months. With the help of Bryan, Bullington, and those who assisted with the production.
At Grace Prep Academy, drama is not just an elective, to students and faculty here, it seems to be an award-winning family.