Theater companies from Lafayette and Warhill high schools hope their showstoppers will take them to the top when they compete in regional Virginia High School League competitions Saturday.
In previous years, Lafayette and Warhill were both classified as 3A East schools and competed against each other at the regional level. This year Lafayette was moved to the 4A East classification, enabling the schools to avoid a regional face-off and potentially meet at the state championship in December.
Lafayette was named Ironclad Conference 18 champion and Warhill was named Colonial Rivers Conference 25 champion earlier this month, qualifying each school for the regional competition Nov. 21.
Suzan McCorry, Lafayette’s theater director, said she hopes to continue the school’s eight-year streak of qualifying for the state competition when her 25-student cast and crew present the 1997 play, “The Yellow Boat” by David Saar.
“We’re hoping this will be our ninth year – fingers crossed on that one,” McCorry said. “Every year is different. We never take anything for granted.”
“The Yellow Boat” depicts the life Saar’s son, Benjamin, who was diagnosed with congenital hemophilia and died at 8-years-old from AIDS-related complications. The son’s life story is told from his perspective and the performance incorporates colorful fabric and ribbons to illustrate his personality and creativity, McCorry said.
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“The Yellow Boat” will be performed at 3:30 p.m. Nov. 21 at Lafayette. Attendees are encouraged to arrive at 3:15 p.m., as the doors will close at 3:25 p.m. The show is free.
This is the first abstract play Lafayette students have put on in several years, McCorry said.
“It’s just really touching. It will make you cry, it will make you laugh,” McCorry said. “We’re just like the yellow boat. We’re going to take a voyage here and work on it.”
Jessie Grant, artistic director of the Warhill Lion’s Roar Theatre Company, said this is the second consecutive year Warhill has been named a conference champion.
The 31-student cast and crew are performing the 2012 folk operetta “Eastland,” which Grant brought to the company after seeing the show as a graduate student. The musical depicts the disaster of the S.S. Eastland, a ship that rolled over in 1915 on the Chicago River. The disaster resulted in the deaths of 844 people.
“It’s a phenomenal show 100 years in the making,” Grant said. “It’s a story that says everyone has a story to tell and everyone should listen.”
Both schools presented their shows at the Virginia Theatre Association (VTA) Secondary Schools Division Conference and High School Theatre Festival in mid-October. Warhill’s “Eastland” was one of six top finalists and Lafayette’s “The Yellow Boat” earned an honorable mention.
Lafayette will host the 4A East regional competition and present “The Yellow Boat” on Nov. 21. Warhill Lion’s Roar Theatre Company will travel to James Monroe High School in Fredericksburg to present “Eastland” at the 3A East regional contest Nov. 21.