Ardmore High School had one of its most successful theater seasons ever last year and is hoping for a repeat performance in 2019-20.
Nationally, six students from AHS advanced to the top 60 of their individual events, including two placing in the top 15 at the National Individual Events Tournament of Champions in Nebraska in May.
Joshua Credle and Amie Perry placed 14th in Duo Interpretation, just missing the top 12 by 2 points. Dalton Hurt, Alexia Girard, Ivan Almaraz, Linh Nguyen and Joshua Credle advanced to the top 60 in other events.
The NIETOC is the second largest national championship tournament behind the National Speech and Debate Association tournament which was held in Dallas in June. Four students from Ardmore advance to the NSD tournament, with five alternates selected.
Program Director Bryan Gunter will be entering his sixth year at the helm. Even after all of the success of his students, every year is more exciting than the last.
“It is wonderful,” Gunter said. “Even if you have done it for a long time you can’t help but wonder if you are effective, if you’ve still got your finger on the pulse of it. Even if you don’t want to say winning is the ultimate pay off, you know that there is truth in it. If you are teaching it right and doing it right the results will always be the cherry on top with winning, or being in the hunt.”
In state, Ardmore High School was also dominate. Entering the 2019-20 school year, ACS will look  to repeat as state champions in one-act play.
During the drama camp this summer held by Ardmore City Schools, Gunter and his team found the play they believe will help them reach the top in October.
The play is called Second Samuel, a story which takes place in the deep south during the late 1940s.
“It was a simpler time in the late 1940s, especially in South Georgia and specifically in a sleepy little town called Second Samuel. What had been called the Great Depression was quickly fading into memory. The war had been won, the election was now over, and “Give ‘em Hell Harry” was still president,” Gunter said. “It had been an exciting time for sure, but the folks in Second Samuel were ready for things to settle down and get back to normal. Except— this was the summer Miss Gertrude passed away, and deep dark secrets were about to be revealed. Nobody could have imagined how the death of one sweet little old lady would turn the entire town upside down, leaving everybody in Second Samuel wondering if anything would ever be normal again!”
The Colony High School in The Colony, Texas, won State in 2016 for their performance in one act using Second Samuel.
Auditions for the play began on Monday, with results to be announced later.
“For the one-act play I just want to do a really great show,” Gunter said. “I wanna do a show where people feel like they had just been put through the ringer in a good, bad or indifferent way. I want them to come and see it and not know what to think.”