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There's something good here . . .

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There’s something good here . . .
We hear enough bad news on TV. This column is meant to spotlight the positive things in our lives. Recognize the good around you. Share a smile. Speak a kind word. It might be your turn to need encouragement one day.

There’s something good here . . .
Sulphur Springs was well-represented Thursday at the University Interscholastic League’s One-Act Play competition in Texarkana. The students presented “Dracula: The Vampire Play.” They were there with their teachers and some administrators, along with a  large number of parents, grandparents and supporters who made the trip north.

There’s something good here . . .
My practically perfect spouse has been involved in UIL for years, so I know what it takes to put a play together. SSHS is fortunate to have a teacher with Dawn Doyle’s passion and devotion to her craft. Two of her students recently told me it was her dedication that made them want to work so hard. 

There’s something good here . . .
Should there be any doubt about Doyle’s commitment, just watch her with her kids. She’s like a proud parent whose child just won a gold medal. She focuses on each student, nudging and coaxing great performances out of each of them. Kids seem to realize just how lucky they are to have her on their side.

Now. On to the actors. 

There’s something good here . . .
Everyone on the stage yesterday did a great job. There was no weak link. Having a cast that deep is remarkable, especially when you consider they’re just kids, not professionals. 

There’s something good here . . .
Tiffany Stenger gave a solid, believable performance as the young woman seduced by Count Dracula. At the beginning of the play, she was an innocent victim. As Dracula edged her toward the dark side, Stenger took the audience along for the ride, earning a spot on the All-Star Cast. Brava.

There’s something good here . . .
Jacob Rost did a superb job with the character of Renfield, the play’s conscience. He made the madman credible and was recognized for his efforts with a spot on the Honorable Mention All-Star Cast. Bravo.

There’s something good here . . .
Although he didn’t have much stage time, Josh Bain made every moment matter with his commanding portrayal of Count Dracula. I think there might have even been some swooning in the audience when he appeared for the first time. His total dominance was something to watch, and his evil laugh floated over the audience like an icy cloud. The judge recognized Bain’s talent by naming him to the All-Star Cast. Bravo.

There’s something good here . . .
There was a lot of talent in Texarkana yesterday. Denison’s “Mariner” and Royse City’s “Eye of God” advanced. “Dracula” was third and named alternate.

I missed seeing “Mariner,” as I arrived about seven minutes late, and UIL rules prohibit latecomers from being seated after a performance begins. But thanks to the state-of-the-art flat screen television in the lobby, I was able to watch the action. Impressive set and acting. Derek George was named Best Actor for his portrayal of Christopher Columbus.

Although the cutting of “Eye of God” was choppy, making the plot difficult to follow, the actors were outstanding. Grace Martindale, who slipped seamlessly into the role of the naive Ainsley, was named Best Actress.

Sherman High School’s William Tredennick, who played a young Italian man struggling to cut his family’s industrial-strength apron strings, reminded me of a young Woody Allen, all arms, legs, gestures and gawkiness. His work earned a spot on the All Star Cast.

There’s something good here . . .
With the current school funding crisis, it’s critical to remember that every aspect of a student’s education is important. Academics matter, of course, as do athletics. SSISD’s educators are to be commended for also developing a strong arts program. Even though “Dracula” did not advance to regionals, SSHS students made an impressive showing both on and off the stage. Bravo to everyone involved.

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