The Longhorn Theatre Company cleaned up during the Nov. 17-18 Arizona Thespian Festival, a contest that involved students from 92 schools.
The Longhorn cast and crew of the one-act play “Dolls” received 37.6 out of 50 points out of a field of 19 plays. These points gave Payson a high “excellent” rating.
Jerome McDonough wrote the play. Last year, McDonough also wrote the award-winning play “Addict,” which focused on teen drug abuse.
“Dolls” focused on teen sexuality, sexually transmitted diseases and teen pregnancy.
Fourth-year theatre student Melissa Shannon directed. She chose the play because of the serious, current and relevant issues it addressed.
The drama department chose to have Shannon present “Dolls” to the annual Thespian State Conference because she had the casting and staging plan prepared long before the other seniors chose to direct this year.
The Longhorn Theatre group also wanted other teenagers to see and experience this story because of the significant information in it.
The drama students hope to present it to the entire student body at a future date.
For the second year in a row, the Longhorn Theatre group won the Gold Honor Troupe award.
This honor includes all of the troupe’s productions and other community activities. The awarding committee judges the troupe on the number and quality of its productions and the full range of other activities.
The drama department was also recognized as the second rated theatre program in the Arizona Interscholastic Association (AIA) Northern Region, which includes all sizes of schools.
On top of all those awards, the AIA awarded Kathy Siler the Northern Region Theatre Coach of the Year.
“I must admit that I don’t know about coach of the year, but ... I know that the executive board of our state thespian board chooses, so I am very honored indeed to have been chosen by my peers on the board,” said Siler.
The AIA schedules all sports games and tournaments and speech/debate activities in the state. The AIA is the parent organization of Arizona Thespians. (Music broke away years ago and created its own association.)
The cast members of “Dolls” (listed below) came from all the advanced theatre classes:
Anisa Amber Schliss*
Samm Elle LeBlanc*
Renee Sarah Sprinkle
Elaine Larissa Popke*
Gerise Sarah Sprinkle
Yoli Elle LeBlanc*
Jana Emily Blakley*
Toni Larissa Popke*
Britt Newman Becker*
Holland Steven Martinez*
Kelly Reid Wiles
This role was originally prepared by Kevin Sandell
Vince Robert Schnepp*
Neil Brad Guyton
Mrs. Glutzman Devon Marcus*
Ringmaster Devon Marcus*
- = Thespian Society Member
= Executive Board Member