Blanco High School’s Theatrical Design team had a very strong showing at the State Competition last Wednesday. Unlike other competitive events, the UIL does not separate the conferences for the Theatrical Design Contest. BHS’s team competed against all conferences 1A-5A. Team members include Juniors Celia Kasberg and Talon Cain, and Freshmen Hannah Hulbert and Riley Watt.
“To us, it really feels like a State Championship!” said sponsor Amy Arlitt. “Even though we placed fourth, the teams that beat us were 2 large 5A schools -Temple High School and Pharr San Juan Alamo. Both of these schools have very strong theatrical programs – they attend workshops in New York every summer and even host their own workshops on how to succeed in the Theatrical Design Contest. The third school that beat us was Houston School for the Visual and Performing Arts – a magnet school that has a heavy curriculum in theater work.”
The Theatrical Design contest is fairly new, established by the UIL in 2007. Students are given a prompt, and must design a “production” around that prompt. This year’s prompt was Tartuffe, by Moliere. The students spent their summer and weekends reading and watching several different versions of Tartuffe. Students enter in any of four categories: Costume (3 plates), Set Design (4 plates), Hair and Makeup (3 plates), and Marketing (4 plates). Each entry must also have a very well written paper justifying the design choices by the student. Four students may also join together and enter as a team – which is the event that Blanco students won 4th.
“The judges were very impressed with our work. We chose to apply a vintage circus theme to the story of Tartuffe, and it seemed to be a very popular entry among the audience,” said Arlitt. “They liked the cohesiveness of our design. Our entry was eye-catching, organized and clean – I am so proud of their work!”
“So many other students and parents were coming to take pictures of our display – it really made us feel important!” said freshman Riley Watt.
“Our critique was very positive. The judges pointed out several things to work on and improve for next year’s contest,” said junior Talon Cain.
BHS also had two individual projects qualify for state. Celia Kasberg qualified in Individual Costume Design and Shelby Jester qualified in Individual Hair and Make-Up. Both students had a strong showing in a very tough contest.
“We are already brainstorming ideas for next year’s contest. Our prompt is CATS – based on the Broadway show by Andrew Lloyd Weber and the book by T.S. Elliot. We have several ideas brewing, and we can’t wait to get started!” said junior Celia Kasberg.