OAP Heads to State

Performing Jerusalem By Jez Butterworth


Production class heads to state competition with “Jerusalem.”

Hailey Essery, Brady Balfanz, Staff Writers

If you haven’t heard, the Gary Production Class made it to state with the play Jerusalem by Jez Butterworth. The cast placed fourth out of the eight schools that competed at that level. This will be Gary Production’s second time making it to the state competition. Thanks to Michael Powell’s excellent directing skills.

While waiting for results from the regional contest, the cast was immensely anxious because there was a small bump at regionals. There was a miscommunication involving the crew at Panola, and the show shut down earlier than expected. 

Sophomore, Michelle Montealvo, who is a newcomer to production, says the regional contest was the most nerve-racking competition we faced. “I think Regionals was the most nerve-racking contest because all I knew was that if we went over time we would get disqualified,” Montealvo said. “And I panicked when they told me to stop the show.”

Powell says that wearing a mask while performing was not that big of a deal, since everyone that was in the competition also had to wear one.

“ I think the biggest emotional challenge was when I would put pictures of our fall performances online,” Powell said. “I got told that I should be fired and that I was killing people. That kind of hurt my feelings, they thought I was a murderer. Then beyond that you know, we had to wear masks for One-Act Play, but that didn’t really bother me because everyone had to. It wasn’t ideal, but it was a struggle that everyone else was also going through.”

Last year the production class performed the play Amazing Grace, and it received first place at the district contest. It was then moving on to the bi-district contest. Unfortunately due to the coronavirus, their year was sadly cut short.

“This year was different mostly because of covid,” senior Dylan Essery said. “It was kind of lamentable, I didn’t mind wearing a mask or anything, it was just the constant fear of everything being shut down again. Realistically, I knew it wouldn’t get shut down but it was still a big fear of mine.”

The judges of all the competitions always had wonderful things to say about the set made by Tina Tate. She is also the costume designer for the production class. Tate has created an amazing set design that fits the play perfectly. The biggest concern the cast faced was figuring out if the masks would interfere with their costumes, but that wasn’t even a challenge for Tate.

Dylan Essery takes center stage as Katie Cameron, Ryan Ballard, Dylan Dodge, Taylor Alexander, and Miller Powell look on.

“I know that masks affected how hard our actors had to work in order to be loud, Tina Tate said.  “It also affected how well we could see their faces. We found some things that helped, and some things that didn’t.”

Not only is the production class saying goodbye to the characters they played in Jerusalem, but they are also saying goodbye to the seniors that are leaving this year. Tate says she is downhearted about saying goodbye to the characters everyone played and the seniors graduating. “When we get to state,” Tate said. “We perform for the last time, that’s it, and it’s not that I won’t see the cast, but it’s kind of like those characters are disappearing because even if we did the play again with another group, it’s not the same. These students are a part of those characters.”

Jerusalem cast and crew on a camping trip at Martin Creek.