LHHS Theater looks to spring productions after successful fall shows

The cast of the Dec. 6th performance of  “Faith County II, An Evening of Culture” from left are Hilary Still, Zariah Kirk, Logan Davis, Mattie Brand, Brittney McKinney, Camryn Patterson, Zane Sanchez and Danny Davis. (Courtesy Photo)

The cast of the Dec. 6th performance of “Faith County II, An Evening of Culture” from left are Hilary Still, Zariah Kirk, Logan Davis, Mattie Brand, Brittney McKinney, Camryn Patterson, Zane Sanchez and Danny Davis. (Courtesy Photo)

By Lauren Jette

After wrapping up a successful run of two fall productions, students in the Liberty Hill High School Theater department won’t get too much of a break before diving into work and rehearsals for the upcoming UIL one act play and spring musical “The Little Mermaid”.

“These productions have been really fun,” said Theater teacher Krisanne Cole of the fall productions “Faith County” and “An Evening of Culture”, which finished on Monday.

Due to an illness in her family, Cole wasn’t able to get her students started on the fall productions as early as she would have wanted.

“We got a late start, so I chose shorter shows that were more oriented towards smaller groups,” Cole explained. “So that way, we could have less rehearsals because so many times with bigger groups, you have to have so many rehearsals. And I chose these scripts because they are fun and funny and the kids could really get into them.”

Cole also has a lot of new students who haven’t been in any productions in Liberty Hill, which presented a challenge.

“With having so many new kids, I think there are eight kids who have never been in the district before,” Cole said.

“Every director is different, with different rules and regulations and their vision is different, so those kids came to me new, so I had no idea what they were capable of. I had them audition, some did Shakespeare, some did something they saw on television. Their levels were here to here and so I thought, I have to find something that appeals to them.”

What Cole found was two short comedies that her students enjoyed bringing to life.

“‘Faith County’ is about this little hick town and everything that goes on in this hick town,” explained cast member Emily Krueger.

“‘An Evening of Culture’ is that same town performing ‘Romeo and Juliet’.”

The characters and plot lines of the two shows are typical of any small town, she said.

“In ‘Faith County’, I play Mildred. She’s just this really sarcastic kind of hag. She just speaks her mind, doesn’t care what anyone else thinks and just lets everybody know what she thinks,” Krueger said.

“Then there’s Fay. She is in love with Delbert, but Delbert is in love with Lottie. Then there’s Naomi, who is a hairdresser. She gets married to Luther in the end of the play. Ruth Ann is the pastor’s wife, so she’s just the Southern pastor’s wife, but she still gossips. All the women in Faith County gossip, of course,” Krueger said.

“There’s Gladys, who actually ends up dying. She’s the wife of the mayor. She’s a pretty dynamic character until she dies. She’s like the drunk of the town,” she added.

With so many students also involved with other extracurricular activities and sports, there were three casts for the two productions, Cole said. Krueger enjoyed taking on her part and adding her own take to the character.

“I just like to read the lines and analyze them and just think, how would this character say this and how do I want to make this character my own and just make it personal, and not just how everyone else would do that character,” Krueger said.

“When there’s movies and you do a play with a movie, you never want to be exactly the same as the character in the movie because then they might as well just go watch the movie. Why come see the show if it’s the same as you’ve already seen?”

Zariah Kirk came to Liberty Hill from Dripping Springs this year, and also plays the part of Mildred.

“It’s been very interesting, because you’re a character playing a character,” Kirk said. “I’ve had to learn how to get into character and how to make that character get into another character. It was fun. It was different, but it was fun. Once you got fully developed into your first character, you just had to build the other, but it was interesting. It was definitely an interesting experience.”

Not only do these performances allow the theater students to gain the experience of putting on a production, but it also gives community members a chance to see all the hard work that goes into it, Kirk said.

“I think it’s a great thing. I think everyone needs to experience coming to the theater and watching a live show. It’s just a great experience,” she said. “It’s different from the movies and everyone needs to experience it at least once in their life.”

In addition to acting out two different roles, Hilary Still also keeps everything together behind the curtains.

“I kind of just help out with everything and make sure everything gets done. Like everyone’s backstage mom or secretary,” Still said. “If they need in, they text me or call me, or if they need something. So I’m kind of there to make sure everything is in its place or make sure nobody forgets anything. Then in all the shows, I’ll be there and I know where everything is and where it’s supposed to go and (that it is) not a hot mess.”

Still plays a character that is loud and flirtatious, and one who is pregnant.

“It’s awesome. I probably would never be like one of those people, so I would never worry about wanting to be that in my life, I just get to be that character and be crazy for a little bit, so it’s a lot of fun,” Still said of her roles in the fall productions.

Cast members had about a month to learn their lines and scenes before the first show, but some last-minute changes threw some actors into different parts.

“I had to fill in for the second show last minute, but I was able to memorize the lines the night the show went up, so that was really stressful,” Zane Sanchez said. “Memorizing lines that night of is really stressful to be honest, but it’s kind of fun because you get to mess around with it a little.”

After getting some help rehearsing the lines with a friend, Sanchez was able to command the role for the performance.

“It was a little bit scary, and the first night I did mess up a little bit, but after that I was fine.”

The students were able to handle cast changes seamlessly, which helped the performances go off beautifully, Cole said.

“The cast was great about accepting” all the actor switches, Cole said. “You develop this chemistry and then you’d have to pull a different kid in because that person in that spot had a basketball game and it just amazed me to see how they picked that chemistry up so quickly and you really couldn’t tell that wasn’t the person they had worked with for eight weeks and so it was really fun.”

Now that the curtain has fallen on the first productions of the school year, the students will turn their eyes to one act play and the musical set for the spring. Liberty Hill will perform their play at UIL at the beginning of March, which is about three weeks earlier than it has been in the past, Cole said.

Once that wraps up, students will then be able to focus solely on “The Little Mermaid”, which is scheduled to run April 13-16 in the high school auditorium.