17th Annual One-Act Play Festival at the Lone Star Theatre, Wimberley High School
With a premiere performance on Tuesday, February 20th, the four-day festival begins Wednesday, February 21, 2007, and features actors from twenty high schools.

While perhaps not as well-known as South by Southwest or Sundance, Wimberley does host its own drama festival each year. Casts, crews and directors of one-act plays from 20 high schools travel to the Lone Star Theatre over a four-day period, creating an intense theatre experience for students and audiences alike.

Kicking off the 17th annual festival is the Tuesday evening premiere of "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum," Wimberley High School's entry into this year's University Interscholastic League (UIL) competition. The WHS troupe, led by husband/wife directors J. Gary Wyatt and Lydia Miller-Wyatt, has competed at the state finals for the past six years. The curtain rises at 7 p.m. for the 40-minute production; admission is $5.

"Forum" is a rollicking, fast-paced comedy that tells the story of Pseudolus (Zane Gordon-Bouzard), slave to Hero (Andy Patoski), who tries to win his freedom by arranging for a marriage between Hero and a courtesan, Philia (Erin Lyon). Things begin to go very wrong when Hero's parents (Walker Pickens and Annie Bond) return unexpectedly and a burly soldier (Cameron Allen) shows up to claim Philia as his bride. This zany snapshot of neighborhood life in 200 B.C. Rome features wisecracking slaves, dancing courtesans and a wandering idiot.

Other cast members include Chris Bakka, Elena Weinberg, Calen Cabler, Zeb Duke, Austen Cabler, Connor Pickens, Mallory Watson, Bonnie Sturdivant and Harry Tork. Ty Reeves, Dylan Bakka, Jenny Bond, Summer Wilson, Sarah Lindsey, Jeanne Pinion and Kate Garnett are serving as alternates. Crew members are Alyssa Johnson (stage manager), Athena Van Overschelde (costumes), Anna Pope (light manager) and Sydnie Ross (sound manager).

On Wednesday, the first five high schools (Lago Vista, Smithville, Poth, Bandera and Hondo) arrive early in the morning to prepare for the afternoon's performances, which begin at 1 p.m. The fast-paced afternoon consists of five 40-minute productions punctuated only by the briefest of set changes. While guests enjoy a performance of "Forum," distinguished adjudicators select individual acting awards, presented at each evening's ceremony. The adjudicators then work individually with the schools, offering tips for improving the productions before district competition in March.

The entire process is repeated Thursday, Friday and Saturday, with plays ranging from condensed versions of Shakespearean classics to more modern American plays like "Picnic" and "Into the Woods." The 2007 adjudicators are Charles Jeffries and Jerry Knight. Tickets are only $5 to see all six plays.

Thursday attendees include Lehman, LaVernia, Kerrville-Tivy, Jourdanton and Lampasas. Pflugerville, Hutto, Lytle. Llano and Devine will perform Friday. Rounding out the festivities on Saturday are Hays, New Braunfels-Canyon, Westlake, Ingram and Medina. For more information, call (512) 847-5729, ext. 232.

-- Louie Bond --