Theatre students earn first place for UIL competition


Photo courtesy of @stcboosters on Instagram

SURPRISED CELEBRATION: The Violet Sharp cast celebrates in shock after discovering they were awarded first place in the bi-district UIL competition. Directors wanted to surprise the group to get their raw reaction to the news.

Amilia Velez, Staff Writer

Lights, Camera, Action. Junior Sophia Chavez takes a deep breath and transforms into her character before hitting the stage.

The Bowie Starlight Theatre Company (STC) had a select group of students perform the piece Violet Sharp through the University Scholastic League competition (UIL). The UIL one-act-play company advanced to 6A area, further than Bowie has gone in years. 

“The show we performed was Violet Sharp which is based on a true story about the Lindberg baby kidnapping,” senior Emma Flores said. “It follows Violet who was a servant in the house and was also the main kidnap suspect.”

According to Flores, the show Violet Sharp has been done multiple times by different casts and is a popular show for small groups. 

 “Violet Sharp was a very serious and emotional script so sometimes when I was going into rehearsal I wasn’t in the mood to rehearse a dark script about a baby being kidnapped,” Flores said. “But in order for the show to be successful you have to make do for the day.” 

The UIL group had many after-school practices in order to perfect the show. According to Flores, rehearsal time had to remain efficient and productive for the show to reach its potential. 

“I think our secret to doing so well was not running the show too much in rehearsal,” Flores said. “We tried to keep it fresh and new so we weren’t constantly practicing and making the show become too calculated.”

According to Chavez, there were some roadblocks to the final performance. The week of the winter storm in February threw the group off for the remainder of their UIL process and they needed to adapt to ensure the performance was stage ready. 

“We had quick turnarounds for each competition so we had to really grind with our rehearsal,” Chavez said. “We started the blocking and costumes almost 10 times quicker than any normal show. Usually, you get about a month or two to prepare for a show but for UIL we had around three weeks.”

Theatre teacher Marco Bazan was in charge of casting and directing the UIL show. Bazan is not new to the theatre world and has directed many Bowie musicals and shows.

“There’s a lot that I want my students to take away from their experience in the UIL one- act-play,” Bazan said. “First and foremost, I hope my students have pride and honor in their work. They worked so hard on a piece that went out to represent our campus to the UIL community and beyond.”

According to Flores, having experienced and passionate directors is essential in a theatre production. In the UIL one-act-play, Bazan and theatre teacher Colton Perry teamed up to create the winning production of Violet Sharp.

“Bazan’s directing and Perry’s help with all the technical visions were what really made the show so successful,” Flores said. “It was also a really big group effort and the cast was great at motivating each other.”

The UIL one-act-play advanced four different rounds and also picked up many individual awards along the way. Starlight Theatre Company members won awards such as All-Star Cast, Outstanding Technician, and Outstanding Technical Crew. 

The STC has so many amazing actors, so I would love more people to come see a show and appreciate the amazing talent.

— Emma Flores, Violet Sharp cast member

“I want the kids at Bowie to know about all the individual talent that the Starlight Theatre Company has,” Flores said. “The cast has so many people and they are all amazing at acting so I would love more people to come see a show and appreciate the talent. There might be people you sit next to in class that have amazing talents that you don’t know about.”

More than 14,000 Texas high school students participate in theatre UIL competitions and judges are constantly seeing new pieces and interpretations. The judges score based on the overall quality of performance and individual acting skills. 

“At the end of the day, theatre is art and is subjective so it’s hard to rank or grade pieces,” Bazan said. “Some people love our show and others don’t love it as much. I think the most important thing is for students to fully invest in their character and hope for the best.”

As the UIL season ends for the company members, they look ahead to a busy season of spring shows and senior-directed shows. According to Chavez, UIL has a special meaning to the group in the way that relationships are formed. 

“My favorite part of going through the UIL process was the people that I was around,” Chavez said. “For UIL, it is a select group of people and a tight cast. With big shows like spring shows and fall shows there can be up to 80 people so it’s hard to make connections like you can in a UIL cast.” 

According to Chavez, it was difficult to manage classes when missing for UIL and the stress was piling up for a lot of company members. The company members practiced for two to three hours every day for weeks leading up to the events and also missed school to attend competitions.

“The Starlight Theatre Company puts a lot of effort into what we do and there is a lot of hard work that happens behind the scenes,” Chavez said. “The same goes for other organizations like band, cheer, and all extracurriculars. People put in a lot more effort than people think and I hope people go out and support and maybe come and watch a show.”