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Tale of Two Champions: Central wins Class 2 state title

Submitted by Ashley Chandler • Jan 6, 2020 at 4:30 PM

Wise Central’s One Act Team, directed by Jan Thompson, captured its third one-act state title since 2015 when the talented group of Warriors competed in the Class 2 VHSL State Theatre Festival, Dec. 2, at Monticello High School in Charlottesville, Virginia.

The team won the state championship with the Julie Jensen-penned “Mockingbird.” Central’s Emma Chandler and Reece Elkins received all-state outstanding acting awards at the festival.

Eastside High School, with the original “The Swan Queen of Berlin County,” captured the VHSL Class 1 state title on the same day.

To reach the state event, Central’s One Act Team won the Mountain 7 District Theatre Festival at Lee High School, where Chandler received an outstanding actor award. Then, on Nov. 16, Central took top honors at the Region D Theatre Festival where Chandler and Ekins each received outstanding actor awards.

Central’s 24 team members include Caleb Adams, Nicole Aguirre, Zoey Barker, Emma Chandler, Reagan Dotson, Reece Elkins, Emily Hall, Sagan Holbrook, Nick Jackson, Emily Jett, Ellianna Kudirka, Makenna Louden, Harper McCall, Emily Mullins, Sydney Phillips, Izah Qureshi, Haley Ricketts, Elle Smith, Taylor Sanders, Emma Stallard, Mackenzie Stidham, Madison Sturgill, Draak Sutphin and Alex Vincer.

Billy Thompson is the team’s set designer. Elaine Sheldon is the team’s choreographer. Madi Fields is the set artist. This marks the 15th time Thompson has taken her one act team to state. It is her fifth state one act title as a director and coach.

“Mockingbird” tells the story of 11-year-old Caitlin, who is on the autism spectrum. Not all things make sense to her. Emotions are mysterious and voices are almost always too loud. Suddenly, she must grapple with the unthinkable; a mass shooting has taken her brother away. He was the one person who helped her cope. Now she is alone with her grieving father and a cacophony of children at school. With the support of those around her including her guidance counselor, teacher, father and a new young friend, she learns how to get close to other people in spite of the “messiness” of emotions. This moving, vibrant and surprisingly humorous production shows how the perseverance of one girl can change a community.

Central will perform “Mockingbird” at 11 a.m., Saturday (Jan. 11) at The Gilliam Stage at Barter Theatre. Tickets are $10 each and will be available at the door. The money raised from the show will help pay for state championship rings.

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