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Lafayette High School’s production of The Yellow Boat is sailing to the Virginia High School League statewide competition after the cast and crew won the regional contest Nov. 21.
Lafayette was named the Ironclad Conference 18 champion earlier this month and competed against seven schools in the 4A East classification to win the regional title last week.
Suzan McCorry, Lafayette’s theater director, said this was the school’s first year in 4A East, having previously competed as a 3A East school. She said the 4A East productions were strong and leading up to Saturday, McCorry encouraged her students to work hard, tell the story and be authentic.
“The main goal is not about the win but to do your very, very best, tell the story from point A to point Z and get that story told with believability,” McCorry said.
The Yellow Boat is a 1997 abstract piece that tells the true story of Benjamin Saar, who was diagnosed with congenital hemophilia and died at 8 years old from AIDS-related complications.
McCorry said the 25-student cast and crew got an opportunity to video chat with the playwright, David Saar, who urged the students to make sure the performance focuses on the life of his late son, not his death.
“He was just so generous and we were so appreciative and very grateful that he was able to take this time to Skype with us,” McCorry said. “He really defined a lot and cleared up thoughts for the actors.”
The regional win means Lafayette is moving on to states for the ninth consecutive year, an achievement McCorry said she ensures students do not take for granted.
“The students know that it is such an honor to be able to go to this level and go year after year,” McCorry said.
For the state competition Dec. 8 in Charlottesville, McCorry said she will encourage students to have the same mentality as they did going into regionals. She said the performance at states needs to look different, sound different and feel different to connect more strongly with the audience.
“I am so extremely proud of Lafayette theater,” McCorry said. “The young thespians in this department have been so dedicated and have given so many hours into their characterization and into the storyline and understanding dialogue and the importance of the relationships with each other.”
Warhill High School’s Lion’s Roar Theatre Company won the Colonial Rivers Conference 25 competition but did not win at the 4A East regional level.