Marble Falls High School theater students Gabby Rinker (left) and Earta Bislimi are among 21 of the high school program's students who qualified for the International Thespian Festival in June. Courtesy photo
The Marble Falls High School theater program had a near record-breaking number of performance and tech students qualify for nationals with 21 overall, the department announced via Facebook Wednesday, Dec. 16.
Qualifications took place during the virtual Texas Thespians State Festival, which ended Dec. 5. The students now advance to the International Thespian Festival, a virtual competition held June 22-25, 2021.
Marble Falls qualified in the most categories in Texas for nationals at 13 and nearly tied last year’s record of 22 student qualifiers — all this with nine fewer students than last year and during a pandemic.
“What’s cool about what our kiddos did, it was about quality over quantity this year,” theater teacher Jon Clark said. “That said, we were still in the top five or six in the number of qualifiers and then number one (in state) for number of events qualified.”
Because the state events were done virtually this year over four Saturdays, scheduling provided three fewer weeks for the student thespians to prepare their performances when compared to a normal year.
“Normally, we have tons of after-school rehearsal time and we don’t have to compete with masks and we don’t have to work with social distancing and we don’t have to jump through all those hoops, and even still, they arguably had their best year ever,” Clark said.
There was also a new dimension to technical production, Clark said, because submissions had to be videoed to be submitted for consideration.
“That comes with a whole other can of worms,” he said. “You have to figure out the audio, you have to make sure the camera is zoomed in. There’s a whole lot of things you have to do for a virtual festival when you’re submitting virtually.
“This year, you don’t have the audience interaction to feed off of and on top of the fact you have to figure out the technology side of things, but the kids still did beautifully,” Clark added.
Unlike Texas high school sports, which are divided into divisions 1A through 6A based on a school’s student enrollment numbers, Texas high school thespians face off against one another at all levels.
“They just lump us all in together,” Clark said. “So from 1A all the way to 6A, we were number one.”
Marble Falls High School qualifiers are:
Easton Jones, solo musical
Faith Trapane, solo musical
Emily Peterson, solo musical
Kylee Randall, solo musical
Jordan Brandt and Dane Lackey, duet acting
Hannah Jordan and Ruth Faehule, duet acting
Gabby Rinker and Earta Bislimi, duet acting
Mitchell Elwartowski, Sachi Marcum, and Emma Boerm, group acting
Janner Clakely, Layla Johnson, Abi McClinton, and Chloe Jones, group acting