Winter One Act places top three at Sections

‘These Shining Lives’ moves audience

With a 35-minute runtime and a 10-minute period preparation time, Park’s theater program was faced with a challenge. 

After placing second in subsections, Park advanced to the Winter One Act section finals where the cast was awarded third place. In order to move on to State, winning first was required. According to theater director Jodi Schifsky, although they did not advance to the final phase, the competition offered an opportunity for the ensemble and actors to develop and grow.

“It’s subjective, but it’s fair too. The other performances each had something that stood out as well. It must be really tough to be a judge and make those difficult decisions when things were so different,” Schifsky said. “We did a great job. Every time we go to one of these, we learn from other people’s perspectives.”

For senior and Thespian vice president Caroline Butler, she said she felt Park had accurately portrayed the story and characters to match the abridged pacing.

“We had a very good run. I’m very proud of our companies, because it’s a tricky show to get down. It’s very dialogue heavy, it’s a very heavy show — it focuses a lot on the relationships between the different characters, and I would say that is something that our cast was able to do very well,” Butler said. “Even if we did not advance from finals, I still think we performed the best that we could do.”

According to Schifsky, “These Shining Lives” shone a spotlight on women and their struggles, as the story was purposefully chosen to depict their hardships — rather than portraying a fictional story. 

“This play in particular was important. This is (something) a lot of people didn’t know about. It’s a story of women who were poisoned by their workplace and the way companies and capitalism tried to cover that up for the sake of profit,” Schifsky said. “It was an important story for us to share but also a good story for us to explore through empathy, by becoming these characters and experiences.”

For Butler, the judging offered her a way to improve her acting skills, demonstrating helpful criticism and praise. 

“On the way back to school, we were able to read the judges’ critiques … to help improve acting. Judges will point out things like, ‘here’s some things I really like,’ ‘here are some things you can improve.’ All the things they suggested were very well thought out,” Butler said. “Every judge we have really enjoyed the show. They gave very fair and accurate (critiques) while not being rude.”

Freshman Miles Johnson said while the differences in types of shows represented at the competition made it difficult for judges to make a decision, he felt the outcome was fair.  

“The judging was good. I think (the judges) did make the right call with who won because we had a lot of good competitors,” Johnson said. “A lot of the other plays were comedies, so it was kind of hard to compare and contrast the difference between us. Overall, they had great casts who knew how to perform and were really talented.”

Despite Park’s third place finish, Butler said she enjoyed the experience and opportunity to explore a new character. 

“I loved doing the show, it was one of my favorite shows I have done with the high school. I was very happy with what we put on … everyone in our cast was cast perfectly,” Butler said. “I had a lot of fun, personally, because I got to play a character who has a very big personality, and while there were some aspects of her that I was able to pull from myself, a lot of it was aspects I had to pull from somewhere else.” 

Johnson said although he will be missing the graduating seniors, he thinks the future of theater is bright. 

“I’m looking forward to next year with all the new freshmen that will join, because we are losing a lot of seniors this year that are really talented,” Johnson said. “We’re going to miss them, but I can’t wait to see who else joins the theater production in the coming years.”