Temple's One-Act Play theater students

Members of Temple High School’s One-Act Play are, bottom row, from left, Allison Quiroz, Anaiya Harris, Isabel Poehlmann, Ricardo Fontanez and Michael Jones. Center, moving clockwise from the bottom: Jasmin Buckner, Rebecca Alley, Anthony Williamson, Sierra Amalbert, Seth Little, Kerynn Eckenrode, Kylie Burke and Olivia Cabrera. Top left, from left, Mimansha Shrestha, Brianna Alexander and Sereniti Patterson. Top right, from left to right: Genevieve Myers, Daniel Salazar and Torrie Culp.

Theater groups from Temple and Salado high schools are headed to the state University Interscholastic League competitions for One-Act Plays this week.

This year will be Temple High School’s first year participating in the 6A division. The school was in the 5A division previously.

One-Act Play is a UIL theater competition for high schools of similar sizes in Texas. Each theater group presents an 18- to 40-minute play to a panel of three judges who will score them each level of competition with those receiving the best score advancing on in the competition.

Temple High School will perform a play entitled “Baby with the Bathwater,” which was originally written by Christopher Durang. Temple students will perform Thursday — marking the school’s eighth time to advance to the state competition since head theater director Natasha Tolleson has been at the school.

Salado High School is performing a play called “Blue Stockings.” The team will compete today in the 4A division — the school’s ninth appearance at the state level of the competition.

Both schools will perform at the Round Rock Independent School District’s Performing Arts Center, 5800 McNeill Drive in Austin.

Each year theater groups will produce a new play to perform for the competition that either comes from a section of a larger play or an original play written for the competition.

According to Tolleson, the play that THS chooses to do each year is heavily reliant on the strengths of each year’s actors.

“I look at my students and I pick my play based on what I think will be best for them,” Tolleson said. “So if I have kids that are very good in style or very good comedic kids, I will pick a comedy.”

One-Act Play members at Temple High School practice every day just to get ready in time for the first stages of the competition. With the school entering the 6A division this year, Temple was made to start earlier in the year than they had previously, which cut down on their practice time.

According to members of Temple’s theater group, the constant performance of the play in every level of the competition has allowed them to gradually refine their characters and clean up their performances.

 “The performances this year have been really beneficial for me as an actress because I have had to adapt so quickly since one act is so fast paced,” Temple senior Sierra Amalbert said. “The characters have to develop just as quickly, as we have to compete, so we just don’t have time to have a down day.”

Jennifer Jonas, Salado theater director, praised her theater students.

“This year I have had probably one of the best groups in terms of work ethic and integrity,” Jonas said. “The competition is about art. It isn’t to see who can produce the best art but rather it is a celebration of everybody’s art.”