3 Friendswood High students enter state theater design competition


Three students from Friendswood High School have qualified for the State University Interscholastic League Theater Design Competition scheduled for May 4 in Round Rock.

The state qualifiers are sophomore Claire Gibson, 15, in costume design and junior Sara Throop, 16, and sophomore Jimmy Perry, 16, in hair and makeup.

“Students across the state have designed sets, costumes, hair and makeup, and a marketing plan for a hypothetical production of Ken Ludwig’s recent adaptation of Agatha Christie’s ‘Murder on the Orient Express’ said student adviser Amy Thornton, the technical theater professor at FHS.

The three advancing FHS students designed both Hercule Poirot, Christie’s famous Belgian detective, and Samuel Ratchett, a character played by Richard Widmark, Peter Strauss, Toby Jones and Johnny Depp in film adaptations of “Murder on the Orient Express,” a mystery that was first published in 1934.

Gibson and Throop also designed for the slanderous Helen Hubbard, whom the late Lauren Bacall played in a 1974 film remake, and Perry designed for Countess Andreyni, whom Jacqueline Bissett played opposite Bacall.

“Claire also had to design a scene with three or more characters,” Thornton said.

The UIL Theater Design Competition began in 2006 with the aim of encouraging students in technical theater courses and honoring their talents as designers.

Since 2011, FHS has participated in design competitions under the direction of Thornton.

This year, for the first time, students were not allowed to place their hypothetical productions in a time period of their choice. Rather, they had to adhere to the 1930s setting of the play, which is set in and around Istanbul, Turkey.

“This year, the focus is on the designer’s ability to find and understand the details of the characters and convey them in addition to the historical world they come from and connect everything to the actions of the play,” Rachel wrote. Gomez, director of the state pageant. in a letter to participants.

Finalists for the UIL’s Theatrical Design Competition were scheduled to arrive May 3 at the Hartfield Performing Arts Center in Round Rock and be given the opportunity to ensure that what they submitted is ready for judging.

That afternoon, the entries were to be seen for the first time by the competition judges.

The next day, each finalist will have 90 seconds to talk about that student’s process or product.

“Topics can include explanations of their favorite elements, their biggest frustration and how they were resolved, or the most interesting thing they learned during the design process,” Gomez wrote.

“The point of this part of the competition is to initiate a conversation between the student and the professional about their work.”

Gomez added, “When asked if this element counts as part of the decision, the best answer I can provide is that the basic design judgment has already been completed by the time this part begins. However, judges do not finalize their scores until this section is completed.

At 3:00 p.m. on May 4, students and teachers will gather for the awards ceremony, from first to sixth place, in each category.

The winning entries will be showcased May 5-7 as artists from across the state compete in the one-act play competition finale, including FHS in 5A with its production of scenes from “Macbeth.”

Many local theater fans saw Ludwig’s adaptation of “Murder on the Orient Express” when it performed in the summer of 2019 at the Alley Theatre, helmed by artistic director Rob Melrose. In it, the role of Countess Andreyni was performed by Melissa Milano, a 2009 graduate of Clear Brook High School.

Don Maines is a freelance writer who can be contacted at [email protected]


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