Starkville High School is once again preparing to showcase its many talents as the theatre department readies its latest Drama Festival show, “The Insanity of Mary Girard.”
A public performance is set for 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in the Starkville High School auditorium. Tickets are $5.
First-year drama teacher Jessica Taylor said preparation for the show began in the summer.
“I’ve been looking at scripts since July,” she said. “I was drawn to the difficulty of pulling off the production as well as the visual it could create.”
The play, written by Lanie Roberston, dramatizes the real-life events surround the life and eventual institutionalization of a Philadelphia, Pa. woman, Mary Lum Girard.
“The play is about a woman who has been committed to an insane asylum by her husband,” Taylor said. “She has demons surrounding her that make her face the people from her past.”
Taylor said working with the young actors has been a collaborative experience.
“They have been great, and everyone shows up prepared, offering great suggestions that help advance the show,” she said. “They have made a lot of decisions and, together, we’ve created these wonderful characters.”
Taylor said her first year at SHS has been overwhelmingly positive.
“It’s been fantastic being able to work on a subject that I enjoy in all of its aspects,” she said. “All of the students are very professional and easy to work with.”
Beginning Friday at McComas Hall on the Mississippi State University Campus, SHS will join 16 other high schools from the North half of the state in a two day theatrical competition in hopes of advancing to the Mississippi Theatre Association festival in January.
Taylor said each school is given a 10-foot-by-10-foot area to store its set, and only one hour to complete the show and judging.
“In 45 minutes, we have to build the set, perform they play and take everything down without going over time,” she said. “Trying to cut the show down enough to fit within the time constraints has been the hardest part.”
Although SHS has an impressive record concerning festival competitions, Taylor said she was not intimidated by her predecessors’ success and enjoyed the creative process she shared with her actors.
“I’ve been to competition myself and getting to compete on a different age level is really exciting,” she said. “It’s been great coming up with ideas on my own and getting to try them out.”
Taylor said she gathered the perfect cast and crew for this production and had high expectations from her students.
“They’ve really taken it and run with it,” she said. “They are ready for an audience because they really shine when they have someone in the audience to play to.”