Intimate Apparel is the first one act play Ardmore High School has performed in over 10 years, but that didn’t stop the cast from placing first in the division at a regional competition this weekend.
The Act has already seen success in the last few years at speech and debate tournaments, but the play is a first in many ways for the school. The One Act state competition is slated for next week, where the cast and crew will go up against teams from Gyman, Grove, McAlester, Mount St. Mary, Oologah, Stigler, Harding and Miami.
“I told many people, even the superintendent, ‘If we don’t make it to state I’ll fall over’,” speech and debate coach Brian Gunter said.
Performers Joshua Credle, Tau’Jeeai Roberts, Alexia Girard and Aspen Nugent were named All-Region cast members. Gunter said the cast and crew plan to polish set pieces and make small blocking changes to help the play flow more smoothly before state.
“We’re making tiny adjustments,” Gunter said. “We have to work on some of our diction with some of our characters who have very significant accents, projection, and we’re going to change some transitions.”
The play is set in 1905 New York, and requires lots of costumes and set pieces for multiple locations, like an antique Singer sewing machine and the trappings of a fabric shop. The experience was a new one for the cast, who have only ever competed in speech and debate competitions.
“One Act differs a lot from drama and debate,” Amie Perry, who plays Mrs. Dickson, said. “The interaction you have with the other schools is also super different.”
Girard, who plays Mrs. Van Buren, said the experience was stressful but rewarding.
“We’ve never done anything like this,” Girard said. “There’s delicate things we have to do, or everything will go wrong.”
The cast recounted stories of hiccups during the competition: A planned fall that turned out a little too real, a misbehaving curtain that snagged a set piece, and a burnt out stage light that left the actors in the dark.
“If they hadn’t been drilled on every aspect of it for the last month in a half, what would have happened?” Gunter said.   
Credle, who plays George, said that after rehearsing something so much, moving past small mistakes becomes second nature.
“I kind of black out,” Credle said. “Somebody will come up to me later like, ‘oh, you did really well,’ and I’ll be like ‘I have no idea what just happened.’ You just go into a different mindset. You become a different person if you’re truly into what you’re doing.”
It’s not all down to the acting. Teams have a tight 35 minute window to set the stage, perform, and then take the set back down, or “strike” the set. The cast struck their set in about 30 seconds at competition.
Linh Nguyen serves as stage manager, recording actors’ blocking, keeping track of props and directing scene transitions. Nguyen said it’s a particularly important job during competitions, where setting up and breaking down the sets is done under strict time constraints. Running over would result in docked points.
“I make sure things are on stage on time, if there are quick changes, I make sure they get done on time,” Nguyen said. “In that 30 minutes, you have to make sure everyone is doing stuff. If they’re not, something’s not being done.”
Credle said Nguyen’s background as a band section leader gave her the skills to stage manage.
“Linh said enough of a creative mind, but also a logical mind, to be stage manager,” Credle said. “She has great leadership qualities.”
The State One Act Play contest will be held October 25, 26 and 27 at the Freeland Center for the Performing Arts in Bristow.