Ardmore thespians hope “Second Samuel” production gets first place

Last year, Ardmore High School students in performing and theater arts took part in their first one-act play competition in years. Performing and theater arts director Brian Gunter said he wanted to use the competition to prepare his students for a new performing arts center that will soon break ground. “I didn’t want them to just walk into this wonderful facility and never have had any significant experience,” he said.

Even after a lead actor fell ill, the group took their production to the state championship and not only gained some experience, but they earned first place with it. According to a school newsletter, that was the school’s first one-act play championship since 1962.

The state champions will be defending their title this Friday when more than five dozen students will travel to Bixby for this year’s one-act play competition. Ardmore High School thespians will use their production of “Second Samuel” to challenge eight other schools for the top production in Class 5A.

“Second Samuel” is originally a full-length play that takes place in rural Georgia in the late 1940s. After the death of a well-known community member, Miss Gertrude, the town must deal with the secrets revealed after her death.

Gunter said the concept of a one-act play is to take a story and condense it. Students are given a total of 45 minutes to set up, perform, and tear down. After a one minute grace period, points can be deducted for each additional minute.

“We choreograph the whole thing so it looks like it’s part of the show,” Gunter said.

A panel of judges will consider performances by not only actors on stage, but also the director and production crews. The competition begins in Oklahoma City on Thursday for Class 6A schools and finishes in Mustang on Saturday for Class 4A schools.

Ardmore High School will perform at Bixby High School on Friday at 10 a.m., and the Class 5A awards will be announced that evening at 7 p.m.