Superior art, acting make for Superior Showcase

The Superior Showcase, featuring events that won Superiors at districts, will debut Feb. 22 at 7 p.m.

The+cast+of+After+the+End+rehearses+the+scene+when+Reed+%28Jamason+Belgrave%29+introduces+Nora+%28Mackenzie+Allis%29+to+the+friend+group+in+a+flashback.+The+cast+%28from+left+to+right%29+consists+of+juniors+Haley+Reilly+as+Zachary%2C+Hannah+Kuerbitz+as+Brooke%2C+Jamason+Belgrave+as+Reed%2C+Kelsey+Worthy+as+Caleb%2C+and+Mackenzie+Allis+as+Nora.

photo by Janell Lim

The cast of “After the End” rehearses the scene when Reed (Jamason Belgrave) introduces Nora (Mackenzie Allis) to the friend group in a flashback. The cast (from left to right) consists of juniors Haley Reilly as Zachary, Hannah Kuerbitz as Brooke, Jamason Belgrave as Reed, Kelsey Worthy as Caleb, and Mackenzie Allis as Nora.

When junior Mac Anderson found out he won a Superior, he was in shock. His eyes widened. His mouth dropped open. His hand flew to his mouth. His play, “After the End,” had won the highest rating possible at the districts competition on Nov. 11

“I was overwhelmed with emotions. I had never thought my hard work would pay off in such a big way,” Anderson said. 

On Nov. 13, at the close of the competition, Troupe 6885 gathered together to receive their awards. Including the award for Anderson’s play, the troupe won Best of Show for Solo Musical, Publicity Design and Costume Construction. 

“It was such a big happy family moment,” junior Lily Joseph said, who won three Superiors. “We got our awards and we all just jumped and screamed for each other and there was crying and hugging and laughing. It was absolutely the best feeling ever.”

Now, three months later, the troupe will showcase the award-winning events to the public at the Superior Showcase on Feb. 22 at 7 p.m. Tickets will be sold at the door for $5. 

Although the troupe won a total of 24 Superiors, their successes did not come without challenges. For Anderson, his greatest challenge was simply getting the first draft done. 

“There were times I really wanted to give up or just completely rewrite it, but I kept going,” Anderson said. “I remembered the reason I started writing this in the first place, and here we are.” 

The play tells the story of five teenagers who have been long friends. When one of them passes away, the other four are left dealing with their grief in different ways. According to Anderson, his motive for writing the play was largely affected by wanting to tell a story of friendship and raise mental health awareness. 

“I want people to take away that friendships mean more than you may think,” he said. “And I want anyone that is struggling with mental health issues to realize that they’re not alone, and that they are actually really important to the people around them.” 

One of the characters, Brooke, is played by junior Hannah Kuerbitz. After her friend Zach’s death, Brooke struggles with depression and mental health issues, a topic explored throughout the play.

“I like how I can relate to her,” Kuerbitz said. “While I don’t have severe depression, I can still relate to some of her experiences. I’ve had family members die before and I’ve been frustrated and upset with those family deaths.” 

Joseph, who serves as stage manager for “After the End,” believes these successes could not have come without hard work and practice. 

“It’s definitely all about rehearsal and teamwork. I’m a firm believer that rehearsal makes good theater, and that we all have to do our part to make great art,” she said. 

Whether it was dance, choreography, selected scenes from movies or a one-act play, the troupe dedicated immense amounts of time both in and out of school to rehearsing, beginning in August up to November, according to theater teacher Jamaal Solomon.

“I cannot tell you how many times my friends and I got together and said, ‘Hey, can we schedule an extra rehearsal? Can we all go over to so and so’s house and work on something?’ It was just all about time management and getting our schedules together,” Joseph said. 

To prepare for the upcoming Superior Showcase, Anderson and the cast of “After the End” often do script readings and character work during their fourth period theater class. Anderson first came up with the idea in January 2021, with the final draft finished in October. 

In addition to appearing in the Superior Showcase, “After the End” will also be performed at Penguin Point at the Oviedo Mall on March 4-5 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets will be on sale starting Feb. 7 at $10

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