Representing three Western North Carolina Counties, Students from Lake Lure Classical Academy Win Five Awards in Statewide High School Theatre Competition

by Valerie A. Hoffman

The Theatre Department at Lake Lure Classical Academy is celebrating after being honored at the 2019 North Carolina Theatre Conference High School Play Festival, held recently at Gardner Webb University in Boiling Springs, SC. It is the largest high school theatre event in the Southeast and has been replicated in nine other states. Awards are given for acting, design, technical craft, ensemble work, and festival spirit.

This year, 3,000 students from 87 schools performed 121 plays at eight regional sites. Lake Lure Classical Academy students competed with ten other schools and 15 plays performed at the Gardner-Webb site.

Students presented “An Absolutely True Story (As Told by a Bunch of Lying Liars)” and brought home the following NCTC awards:

Festival Spirit Award
Theatre Arts Award: Excellence in Character Doubling
Excellence in Acting to LLCA  High School Junior, Isaiah Grayson
Outstanding Achievement in Ensemble Acting
Superior Rating to “An Absolutely True Story (As Told By a Bunch of Lying Liars)

As a junior, this was the first time in theatre class for Isaiah Grayson. However, he has performed in the school’s last three spring musicals.  Grayson, who played the dad in the show was, as the judges stated, “The perfect cartoon dad.” 

The play was performed under the direction of Ms. Layne Long, a 16-year veteran teacher who has been with Lake Lure Classical Academy since its 2010 inception. Students who attend Lake Lure Classical Academy, and who are members of the school’s theatre program, live in Rutherford, Polk, and Henderson Counties. 

“Because our students represent different areas of Western North Carolina, this is truly a regional recognition,” said School Director Tom Keever.

Participating schools traveled to regional festival sites with theatrical sets, costumes, and props. Each show loaded into a 10’x10’ backstage area. When their time came, each school group had 45 minutes to set up, perform, and then clear the stage. Following the performance, students received feedback from professional actors and directors with Broadway and Hollywood credits. 

“I couldn’t be more pleased with the outcome of this competition,” Mr. Keever said. “Under Ms. Long’s direction, she has not only created a strong theatre ensemble, but she has also fostered among the students a culture of support and affirmation. The students performed a first-class play while learning life lessons that will positively impact each of them for years to come.”

The play’s storyline revolves around two siblings and their parents who are trying to figure out who broke a special family vase. The play is told from the perspective of each of the individuals who were present when the vase was broken.  Each person – and even the family dog – give their own version of the truth as to who and how the vase broke.  The play gets increasingly strange and more hilarious throughout, and eventually includes the summoning of ‘Nutella Man’ who gives a philosophical monologue on truth itself.

Of the award the students won for Outstanding Achievement in Ensemble Acting, Ms. Long said, “Being recognized for that particular award was very rewarding for the students because a great deal of time is spent on ensemble-building through theatre games and various exercises including voice, movement, and improvisation.”

For over 30 years, the NCTC High School Play Festival has strengthened arts education in schools by bringing the curriculum to life, challenging students to do their very best work, and contributing to the development of future audiences for live performing arts.  

Students participating in the play as performers, the Tech Crew or Costume & Promotion: Maya Shade, Isaiah Grayson, Johanna Khalafalla, Houston Howell, Odina Corbin, Jack Terry,Natilee Conner, Caprice Fullam, Phoebe Coyle, Tony Sena,Seth McCollum, Lauren Hansford, FaithLyn Bragdon, Katie Willet, Kylie Long, Makayla Gregory, Skyla Marshall, .Zoey Traver, Makinzie Phillips, Olivia Bragdon, Codi Hettinga, Madison Airhart, Delta Riley, Faith Owensby, Carrie Owensby

Valerie A. Hoffman is Communications Director for Lake Lure Classical Academy.