Theatre program wins awards with one act play


Rain Mason, Staff Writer

The St. Pius X Theatre Program earned a runner-up title at the GHSA 5A One Act Awards on October 30, facing off against other schools in the region with their piece “Failure: A Love Story.” Individual accolades went to sophomore Katie Cavanaugh for Outstanding Ensemble Character as well as All Star Cast recognition for seniors Bianca Cardona and Owen Ingram.

The play also brought home awards the previous weekend at the Georgia Theatre Conference R. Lynne Woody One Act competition, including Best Ensemble for the entire cast, Best performers for Ingram and senior Gracie Rosenberg, and Best Supporting Performers for Cardona and junior Helen Thompson.

Written by Philip Dawkins, “Failure: A Love Story” is a musical dark comedy set in Chicago in 1928. It follows the three Fail sisters as they go about their lives living above the family clock shop and comically chronicles each of their deaths.

“It is a very beautiful story and there is some really awesome images that we can create in the show, almost like tableaus,” senior Nina Dolt said, who is one of the narrators of the play. While their presence on stage is ignored by the characters, the narrators offer a comedic third person perspective of the story.

Rosenberg also spoke about her excitement for the play, particularly the character she got to play. Rosenberg portrays Jenny June Fail, the middle sister who is a competitive lake swimmer. She described her character as spunky, ambitious, and someone who is always chasing her dreams. 

“She has been a lot of fun to play. I see a lot of myself in her character.” Rosenberg said.

Cardona and Thompson who played the oldest sister Nelly and the youngest sister Gertie, respectively. Ingram had the leading role of Mortimer Mortimer, the rich and charismatic love interest, while junior Tripp Buhler was the sisters’ adopted brother John Fail, a veterinarian, 

The play was directed by Theatre Director Mrs. Tracey Buot, who had been working in fine arts for 28 years before starting at St. Pius last year. “Failure: A Love Story” was the first of four shows she has planned for this school year.

The production has been in development since June 2021. Mrs. Buot worked over the summer researching the play, analyzing the script, designing the set and costumes, and getting the right props. The actors were brought on board in early August, and they wasted no time preparing for the show with practices four days a week after school until 5:30 p.m. The schedule got a little more intense as showtime approached, and the cast and crew were practicing the play every weekday until 7:00 p.m.

As with any big project, there are moments of high stress that result from making sure it gets done right. One such worry that the crew experienced was the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

“You’re always worried about kids getting sick,” Mrs. Buot said. “We’re very lucky that we haven’t had that at all this year.”

As a part of their competitions, there were specific guidelines that had to be met. Rosenberg and Dolt spoke of the strict time limit that they had to perform and how it was “a fun challenge.”

“From blank stage to blank stage, you only have 55 minutes. Initially, with our uncut script, we were way over the time,” Rosenberg said. 

Mrs. Buot and the cast had to go back and cut some scenes out of the play. 

“That’s something different from the other shows that people might have seen at Pius,” Dolt said. She went on to explain how the timer starts when the set pieces are brought on to the blank stage, and the timer stops when they are taken back off the stage after the show.

In addition to a time limit, there were other requirements as well. 

“They [the judges] are looking at things like ensemble, vocal variety, vocal production,” Mrs. Buot said. “They’re looking at pacing and rhythm and tempo, choice of material. There’s a whole rubric of things they are looking for. And then you do your best job.”

The intense script revisions, numerous rehearsals, and all around hard work by the cast and crew culminated in an award-winning performance that the school had the chance to enjoy on October 28-29. 

The theatre program’s next performance is at the Christmas Concert November 30 – December 8, followed by the Spring Musical February 24-27.