Freeman placed at the top of the Virginia High School League (VHSL) again— but this time for performing arts. Freeman’s One Act Cast and Crew received first runner-up for their performance “The Lottery” at the 5B Super Regional One Act Competition at Atlee High School on Friday Feb. 8. Additionally, junior Caroline Ferguson and senior Jaden Dudley both won outstanding acting awards.
“They performed beautifully and were given excellent feedback from the judges, especially regarding their ensemble acting,” said Mary Spears, Theatre Director.
About three months ago, students in Mrs. Spears seventh period advanced theatre class auditioned for their roles in “The Lottery,” a drama set in West Virginia. She originally chose “The Lottery” because “it was a great ensemble piece and could accommodate a class of 30 or more students.”
Freeman took first place at the Regional Sectional level against Tucker, L.C. Bird, Prince George, and Meadowbrook. Senior Tegan Fenderson and sophomore Holden Seward both received an honorable mention. Their win allowed them to continue on to compete at Super Regionals.
Coming in second to Glen Allen at Super Regionals, the cast believed they would continue on to the state competition. However, the rules were changed for this year and only the champion from the Super Regionals would continue on to the state competition. The Rebels had completed their final performance of “The Lottery.”
As for Jaden, he was presently surprised with his Best Actor award. “I was really proud of myself. During rehearsals I needed to work on some things so I didn’t know I was going to get that [award] at all,” said Jaden.
Jaden believes some of his success was a result of his ability to portray his 80-year-old character, Old Man Warner, who had a “big part in the show,” according to Jaden. “The judges said my characterization was good,” said Jaden.
Mrs. Spears believes it was more than that, “The judges couldn’t believe he was a high school actor,” said Mrs. Spears. Jaden will not be performing in the spring musical this year, but has applied to performing arts schools in New York and hopes to continue his acting career.
Caroline still has not seen the end of the Freeman theatre department. This was Caroline’s second One Act competition, but “one of the best one acts” she has performed. Caroline played Belva Summers, the “villain” and “outcast” of the show, where she wore all black and encouraged the other characters not to participate in the Lottery.
When Caroline won Best Actor, she was honored that her dedication was noticed.
“I worked really hard on the character and there was a lot of rehearsal process when I got into it.” Perhaps one of the most unique aspects of her character was tackling a new skill: “I had to learn how to knit,” said Caroline with a grin.
Caroline has “a great presence on stage,” said Mrs. Spears. Caroline is excited for her part as a silly girl in the spring musical “Beauty and the Beast.”
Of course, no show could happen without a backstage crew. Mrs. Spears has a special shout out to Nate Baird and Avery Miller who were “outstanding technical staff. They also did an outstanding job.”