The Marble Falls High School theater arts department won state recognition at the 2021 Texas Thespian Festival on Nov. 18-20 in Grapevine. Of the 27 Marble Falls students who attended, 17 qualified to compete at the International Thespian Festival next summer.
Qualifying Marble Falls High School students are:
- Aaron Faehnle and Sachi Marcum, duet acting
- Earta Bislimi and Kaleb Pounds, duet acting
- Janine Seale and Ruth Faehnle, duet acting
- Easton Jones, solo musical
- Ella Bray, Hailey Flores, Abi McClinton, Ainsleigh Briggs, Elin Gosselink, Kaiden Gonzalez, MallorI Houck, Evelyn Cortez and Sofee Reina, group acting
- Maddie Way, lighting design
The International Thespian Festival is June 20-24, 2022.
Additionally, the school’s scenic design team, made up of Zoe Stedman, Dailey Ivy, Elin Gosselink, and Ella Bray, was named State Festival Scenic Design Team Champion.
Last year, the state competition was held virtually because of the COVID-19 pandemic. This year’s festival was hosted in-person at the Gaylord Texan Resort & Convention Center in Grapevine.
“We were crazy, crazy excited to finally get to go back in person to Texas Thespian,” said theater arts teacher Jon Clark.
After receiving perfect scores on their duet scene from John Cariani’s “Love/Sick,” junior Aaron Faehnle and sophomore Sachi Marcum were selected to perform on the festival’s Main Stage, an opportunity reserved for only 10 groups out of the thousands attending. This is the fourth time in the past seven years a group from the high school has been given this honor.
“Our duet scenes are where we’re the strongest,” Clark said. “We’re excited that two more duets other than our Main Stage students are going to get a chance to try for nationals. Aaron and Sachi will have to stay on top of it because the competition will be stiff.”
The school’s all-female group acting team also received praise for its performance of a scene from Jaclyn Backhaus’ “Men on Boats.” A satirical retelling of the men who discovered the Grand Canyon, the play offers some social commentary on the roles of women in leadership.
“One of the judges came over to me before the results came out and gushed about the scene, saying it was brilliant and the best scene he saw that day,” Clark said proudly. “These girls have worked really, really hard.”
Seven of nine students in the group acting team are freshmen, a factor bringing additional pride to this year’s awards, Clark said.
“We lost a huge group of seniors last year, so I knew we were going to rely heavily on underclassmen this year,” he said. “They haven’t skipped a beat this year, and they’re so young. We were looking at this year like maybe it was a rebuilding year, but, so far, it has been the opposite.”