“This was a phenomenal production full of passion and power!...Very mature and realistic acting complimented with blocking… physicalized tactics and objectives…themes worked – communicated clearly…entertained – funny” The ballot commentary from judges was overwhelmingly positive and affirmative. On May 21, 2014 at the State UIL One Act Play competition in Austin, Mason High School’s production of sf “The Last Night of Ballyhoo” struck a strong chord with judges and the audience. The boisterous crowd reaction upon senior, Elliot Bibb’s final “Shabot Shalom” was music to the ears of directors Jacki Maenius, Tiffany Klaerner and Merlina Gamel.
At the end of the night and into the wee hours of the next morning, Mason High School was named the 1A State One Act Play Champion. This is the second title for the school, but it was a long wait. In 1966, Gerald Geistweidt was named Samuel French/Best Actor in Mason’s State Champion play, “The Devil and Daniel Webster.” Forty-eight years later, Cassie Benefield took the same highest honor, as well as Best Actress. The New York City based play publisher, Samuel French, sponsors additional award which honors the Outstanding Performer in each conference. For a sports lover, this is the MVP. Other State honors named were All Star Cast: Claudia Canfield and Honorable Mention: Steeley Smith. Other members of the winning cast and crew are James Perlichek, Sara Powell, Elliot Bibb, Levi Hofmann, David Hill, Carlos Chavez, Jackson Chapman, Spencer Bierschwale, Jordan Standard, Kendra Klaerner and Mady Glentz. The dedication, commitment, perseverance, loyalty, sacrifices and talent of this group of students is indisputable. Rehearsals for One Act Play begin in January and happen after all other sports practices, often late into the evening. After which, they must complete homework and family responsibilities. They gave all and were fortunate to have that work appreciated and rewarded. “Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion” was one motto of the season.
The University Interscholastic League One-Act Play Contest, founded in 1927, is the largest high school play production contest or play festival in the world. More than 14,000 Texas high school students in more than 1,000 plays participate in 300 plus contests, which take place from the beginning of March through the three-day, 40-production State Meet One-Act Play Contest. The One-Act Play Contest is supported by more than 200 college and university faculty members serving as critic judges. The League’s theatre program is considered by historians to be the foundation of educational and community theatre in Texas. It continues to be a major factor motivating increasing numbers of schools to offer theatre arts as an academic subject.
Jacki Maenius is most grateful to the loving supportive Mason community that lifts up and loves these children unconditionally and whole-heartedly. Three community performances drew large, appreciative audiences that confirmed for the company that it was telling the story effectively. Without an audience, what is the point? It truly does take a village to produce such a quality production. The following were instrumental in our success : Mason ISD Administration, Faculty and Support Staff, Mason Education Foundation, Country Collectibles, Petal Patch, Lometa, Bangs and Fredericksburg High Schools, Glen Treibs (Fredericksburg), The Cobbler’s Daughter, Mason Monogramming and More, Cindy Morris, Patrice Searsy, Sheri Jordan, Mike Brown (Menard), and Jan Jordan (original seamstress of Lala’s day and Ballyhoo dresses). Please forgive if anyone has been temporarily overlooked! The send-off to State with purple flags waving and cheers of encouragement ringing gave the company wings to soar. And soar, they did. Thank you, thank you, and thank you.