By NEESEY PAYNE
Weeks of practicing and perfecting their craft, coming away with a district championship title and second place regional win, all came down to Pulaski County High School’s final performance at the Virginia High School League Group AA State One-Act Festival.
One might call the end of their journey heartbreaking, as the PCHS Players performance of “Ellis Island: Through the Golden Door” earned seventh place at state competition. However, that’s quite the contrary.
“I am really proud of this group,” said Director Jeff McCoy. “They worked hard the entire time.”
McCoy said prior to the competition four students got sick and one sprained an ankle, but that wouldn’t stand in the way of getting ready for their big day. “The Saturday before they went to state they held a four-hour rehearsal so they could make sure they were prepared,” he said.
Although the Players finished in seventh place, the group was only seven points away from placing second, which meant the competition was stiff.
“I’m proud of everyone. I think we all had our days, but when it came to it we pulled it off and came together as a family,” said junior Brittney Price.
McCoy added the group did well working through their differences – taking everyone’s opinions into consideration and coming to a compromise.
For sophomore Samala Robinson, this was her first one-act competition experience. She said at times it was “nerve racking” but well worth all the effort. “It was a lot of fun. After we performed I felt good about it. Everybody did a great job,” she said.
McCoy said prior to the competition Dr. Thomas Brewster, superintendent, sent him a note wishing the cast the best of luck. Many parents came to support their children, but what’s more, the high school’s principal, Mike Myers, drove to the competition in Charlottesville to bid a “break a leg” to students . “After the kids performed (Myers) gave all the students high-fives. It’s great to see such great support for our program,” he said.
Acting is the most participated event in the Virginia High School League. Every year, out of 222 theatre groups from Division 1A, 2A and 3A schools, only 24 qualify for competition. Last year over 6,000 students took part in Virginia High School League theatre.
Is the end of this story heartbreaking? For the PCHS Players, the answer is not hardly. “No matter what place we took, going to state was an accomplishment in itself,” said Price.