HUNTSVILLE – Theater students from St. John Paul II Catholic High School (JPII) recently participated in the State Walter F. Trumbauer Theater Festival at the University of Troy. For the first time in the school’s history, the theater department won the coveted “Best in Show” award with their performance of “In A Strange Land” by Alan Haehnal.
In this play, the student comedians of the JPII play absurd characters in the midst of the 8th Singleterry Alliance War. The entire performance of “In a Strange Land” is mimed, a theatrical practice in which no props are used, and the actors must use their imagination, physique and facial expression to relay what they are doing.
Protagonist Tammy, played by JPII senior Olivia “Libby” Walker, was the audience’s guide to understanding what is and is not real in this bizarre war comedy. Libby and her castmate sophomore Sarah Brolliar were both recognized, winning the All-Star Cast Awards. The group performance was led by Daniel Wesolowski, JPII alumnus, former actor and current alumni / social media coordinator.
In the individual events, JPII had 20 students perform and came away with 13 top marks and 7 excellent marks. Among the top rankings, three JPII students placed in the top three in the state for their respective events: rookie Maria “Mia” Craig, ranked 3rd in the Novice Playwriting category for her original piece “Forever Standing; »Junior KT Bechen, ranked 1st in the Novice Acting Classical Comedic category (solo), and in second year Gianna Blanco, ranked 3rd in the same category for their individual performances of” As You Like It “by William Shakespeare.
A record for JPII with the most awards won by the school at the State Trumbauer Festival. Mari Adams, JPII
Theater teacher and chair of the fine arts department, commented on her student’s success at State Trumbauer, saying: High scores at the state level! About 1,500 students from across Alabama competed, so for three students, it’s exciting! Wesolowski, after hearing the results, praised the students, saying, “These kids showed immense growth during our rehearsals. It’s not an easy show with the entirety of it being performed with pantomiming. It is an exciting time for the Theater Department and we look forward to seeing the students flourish in our future endeavors! “