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Stealing the silver spotlight

FHS’ One-Act Team Shines as Runner-Up in York Competition, Actress Awarded Best Supporting Award, Ensemble Best Overall Award
Breanna Nelson

Over the weekend, the One Act team traveled 100 miles to York to compete against other Class A schools. The all-day event concluded with the team receiving numerous awards, proving that their long hours of rehearsals are paying off. As a whole, the group placed runner-up, and senior Presley Tworek was awarded Best Supporting Actress. 

“It feels absolutely amazing,” Tworek said. “I still haven’t processed that I won the award. I have worked my butt off for 4 years, and it has finally paid off. I am so grateful for everyone who has helped me get to where I am. I could not have won without them.” 

Presley Tworek photographed by Sam Wilcox.

Tworek plays Marvel Ann, a character who is determined to find a boyfriend for the summer.

“I get into character by listening to music that Marvel Ann would listen to,” Tworek said. “I love my character! She is so fun to play. I would be lying if I said we were not similar. Marvel Ann is outgoing, confident, and quite a handful. I live for the laughs. I tell myself that the audience is laughing at my character, not me. It makes me feel a lot better.” 

Unlike other drama performances, One Act must be performed in under 30 minutes, leaving the actors without having as many scenes or as many lines to resonate with the audience that they would have in a typical performance. In addition to the time crunch, Tworek had to share stage time with other supporting actors and lead characters.

“My main challenge was worrying if I was good enough,” Tworek said. “That happens with every show I do. Talking to Hays really helps. Her reassurance makes me feel better. I just have to remind myself that I am okay and that I am doing fine.”

Alexis Frank photographed by Sam Wilcox.

Other actors, like senior Alexis Frank, had challenging cues where they did not have much time to prepare for in between scenes.

“My struggles mainly lie with speed and physicality, but with the help of Ms. Hays and my fellow actors, I know I have improved tremendously,” Frank said. 

Senior Matthew Canales, who played surfer legend Kanaka, had to balance being energetic while not upstaging others.

“I’d say that I’m struggling with being over-energized and being a very active actor with my character, but I remember that I can still get better and try things in rehearsal and practicing my facials in a mirror and my actions through videos,” Canales replied. 

In addition to placing second, the ensemble was rewarded Best Ensemble Award. Though ensemble members are not in the spotlight, they have to be in character throughout the entire show to maintain an energetic atmosphere for the main actors.

“I had to pretend and think that I’m a character in a movie who is really strong and basically an ‘average white boy,’” senior Isaac Menard, an ensemble member, said. “I also Did 50 Cartwheels before every practice and performance to keep my energy up. I also stretched and did stuff with the dancers to make sure I was warmed up.”

One element that makes “Psycho Beach Party” stand out is the transitions between scenes. Rather than shutting off the lights and shuffling the set around silently, the director decided to incorporate thematic dances to keep the audience engaged. 

“The dances definitely catch the attention of the crowd and draw them in,” senior Zoey Smallwood, one of the dancers, said. “During transitions, sometimes plays will just turn off the lights, but we keep the audiences interested in the story and engaged with 60’s themed dance parties!” 

All five dancers received outstanding actor/actress awards for their routines.

“The dances add to the show,” dancer Emmalee Henderson said. “It is something you would not see from another school.” 

Outstanding acting awards were given to senior Peyton Styskal, junior Liz Ramirez Campos, junior Zach Gibson, senior Sheccid Vallin Salas, sophomore Jack Larsen, senior Olivia Schumacher, senior Matt Canales, senior Alexis Frank, senior Presley Tworek, senior Rachel Grenier, senior Miranda Esparza-Jordan, sophomore Lillian Goodrich, senior Emmalee Henderson, senior Zoey Smallwood, sophomore Allie Vrba and sophomore Madelyn Wagner.

The One Act team will perform again at Midland University on Nov. 20 and then at Class A3 District competition at Gretna on Dec. 2. If they place first or second at districts, they will advance to state.

Nov. 20 Update – Midland Competition

Receiving a superior rating, the One Act team placed runner-up at Midland University with Zach Gibson, Presley Tworek, Matt Canales, Jack Larsen, Olivia Schumacher, Miranda Esparaza-Jordan, and Rachel Grenier receiving outstanding actor/actress awards.

Dec. 2 Update – Class A3 Competition

With a grand total of 177 out of 180 points, the cast and crew of Psycho Beach Party got second place at District One Act on Dec. 2, which means they are state-bound. They will perform on Dec. 8 at Johnny Carson Theater in Norfolk, Neb. at 9:30 a.m. Peyton Styskal, Rachel Grenier, Matt Canales, Presley Tworek, Alexis Frank, Jack Larsen, Olivia Schumacher, and Zach Gibson received outstanding acting awards.

For more information, visit NSAA Play Production Championships HQ.

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