Wylie’s one-act play got a second chance at performing “The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane,” and the students made the most of it.
They took this year’s version all the way to state after performing the same play last year only to be shut down by COVID.
“Last year it felt like we really had something special,” said Melia Messer, a senior. “It was really sad when we lost that. It was this beautiful opportunity when we got a second chance.”
The Theatre Department won district with the play last year and was preparing for bi-district when all UIL activities were shut down by COVID. They decided to use the same play again this year in order to finish what they had started the year before.
“How could we not?” asked cast member Mason Kerby. “It’s like a redemption story.”
Of course, the play does have quite a few differences from what was produced a year ago. Several key cast members graduated and were replaced, and a few other cast members switched roles.
In addition the projections and lighting have changed.
“It’s pretty different,” Mason said. “We had people taking on different roles. We’ve grown. It’s an all around better show.”
Although the play did not place at state, Wesley Horn was named to the All-Star Cast, and Melia Messer was named to the Honorable Mention All-Star Cast. This year’s play was only the second in Wylie history to earn a state berth.
Finishing what they started made this year’s play pretty special, but one-act season is always a wonderful experience, Melia said.
“It’s really exciting,” she said. “I really like the camaraderie that is created. We get to travel with everyone. It’s super special in that way.”
Fans of Wylie Theatre have been enjoying Josh Hervey’s work for four years now, yet most have never even seen him.
That’s because he works behind the scenes, doing the lighting or sound or serving as stage manager – all those little jobs that make a production work but generally go unrecognized.
“I can’t even begin to tell you everything that Josh Hervey does for this program,” said actor Caleb Speights. “He is basically the master of the lighting. Josh Hervey has been the spine of so many of our shows.”
Josh is one of three members of the technical team that helped Wylie’s one-act play advance to state this year. They won best technical crew at the district meet. Makinlee Bacon and Talon Hoff are the other two.
Josh’s love for the technical side of big productions began at Beltway Park Baptist Church when he was in 5th grade. The church began a program to get students involved in church work.
“I volunteered in the sound booth one year and loved it,” he said. “I thought it was the greatest thing ever.
“When Wylie Theatre Director Chris Shoemake found out Josh had sound and lighting experience, he knew just how to put the young man to work.
“I’ve been doing it ever since,” Josh said. “I’ve done about every job. I have done lighting. That’s where I started. I worked up to sound. I’ve done stage manager some for the fall musicals. I will have to say lighting is my favorite. Lighting is what I started out with.”
For the one-act play, Josh handled the projections that provided a set background, and he also helped Talon program the lights. Makinlee served as stage manager, directing what happens behind the scenes.
“I make sure everyone is quiet back stage, make sure everyone has their props and costumes – keep everything organized,” Makinlee said. “I’m kind of like the mom back there.”
She said one-act can be a lot different from other types of plays because the cast and crew are performing on different stages.
“The one-act play is fun because you have to adjust in different situations,” Makinlee said. “Not every stage is the same.”
Actor Mason Kerby said what the technical crew does for the show is very important.
“It’s huge,” he said. “We could not do it without the technical team. What they do is awesome. It’s one of those jobs that doesn’t get the recognition that it deserves.”
By Candy Reagan