By Abbey Grace Venham
COVINGTON, Ga. – The students from Alcovy High School’s one-act play team, led by Alcovy theater director and manager Jenica Brittingham, are more than just a team.
It has become a family.
The title of the one-act play they chose to perform was “Antigone Now.” Working together is vital to this winning team, and they were sure to perfect every second of the 55-minute play before the competition individually, but more importantly together. “If the window piece in the final scene wasn’t angled right, we’d have to redo everything,” tech crew member Nathan Mantle said, denoting the fact that the actors who are front-and-center on stage aren’t the only ones with crucial roles in perfecting a performance.
Reaching the final scene only to start over to smooth out the kinks takes a lot of patience from both cast and crew. After hours of rehearsing, the team learned to work and
perform as a cohesive unit, and the payoff was instant the moment Alcovy was announced as Region 3-AAAAAA champions.
“I’ll tell you this personally, I started bawling,” Jesse Stallworth said. “They were happy tears.”
Jenica Brittingham, or “Ms. B” as the students call her, stressed the importance of collectivity to her students leading up to the competition. But little did anyone know it would result in history being made for this theater program.
“The chorus is a single role that was split up into eight different people, and there were moments that they had to be completely in unison as one person, and it was hard for them to get sometimes,” Brittingham said. “They struggled with it, but we kept pushing it and pushing
it, and I’m very proud of the chorus for pulling it together and becoming one body when they were supposed to.”
If the performance from the actors on stage doesn’t gel with the performance of the backstage crew, a championship-caliber production is out of the question. Not only did Alcovy’s one-act play team gel, it turned its hard work into a monumental accomplishment for the high school.
The first-place win for this team is the first in Alcovy’s history.
“We are the first drama troupe in the school to win and go to state, so I think making history together at this school was a very special moment for all of us,” Elizabeth Bryans said.
Not only is this a milestone for Alcovy theater and arts, but also for every student who had the pleasure of learning and working under Ms. B.
“A lot of these kids I’ve taught since they were freshman and now they’re seniors,” Brittingham says. “I’ve gotten to see their growth every single year. For some of them, this was their first time on stage.”
Leading this program to its first region win in school history was not Ms. B’s main priority, though. Her students are. The words “growth” and “passion” lit up her eyes much more than “first place.”
Still, it was an accomplishment that brought the Alcovy one-act play team closer together than it already was, thanks to the many hours of reciting lines and re-doing scenes.
Jayla Powe, who played the lead role of Antigone, talked about how the winning performance was much more than a play to every team member, including Ms. B.
“We learn our lines and are very committed,” Powe explains. “It shows that no matter what’s going on in our personal lives, we put that aside and we bring our differences and our struggles into our performances, and I think that’s what made this show very powerful.”
The characters in “Antigone Now” navigated an assortment of tragic events that provoked a tsunami of emotions that the cast was able to bond over through their respective roles. It allowed them to create something even more beautiful than that aforementioned sense of“team.”
And while audiences typically aren’t trained to see the bigger picture, the Alcovy High theater program made it pretty hard to miss.
“We’re a family,” Nathan Mantle said. “I’m not very popular, but for once I finally feel accepted.”