Two weeks ago, the Alice High School One-Act Play team traveled to Jefferson High School in San Antonio to perform their play “Turandot” at the state competition. AHS drama teacher Darlene Totten said that while their performance was amazing, the team was disqualified for running past the 40-minute time limit.
“We went six seconds over the limit,” Totten said. “We did really well.”
The play, “Turandot,” is an adaptation of a 1762 play by Carlo Gozzi that was later turned into an opera by Giacomo Puccini. Set in China, it tells the story of a cruel princess named Turandot, played by Ali Lopez, who is conflicted between love and independence after a stranger answers three riddles to win her hand in marriage.
The stranger, portrayed by Zach Mocko, gives her an escape from the marriage if she can discover his name before sunrise. If she does, he will forfeit his life.
The AHS adaptation features 15 actors as well as additional students in the backstage crew, which Totten said was one of the school's largest casts.
Totten said she was disappointed with the disqualification at the state competition, but she said she was amazed how the other schools in the competition reacted to it.
“What was really amazing is that people, from other schools I mean, cried when we got disqualified,” Totten said. “The outpouring we got from other schools was incredible.”
Totten said after returning to Alice, she received calls and emails from people all over Texas about the play, suggesting that they perform it at the International Thespian Festival in Nebraska in June. She said originally, the group planned on performing another play, “Commedia Robin Hood,” but now they would be taking a cast and crew of 19 students to perform “Turandot.”
“The person who judged us at the area competition told me that the world needs to see our show,” Totten said. “That's been our motto, so we've been going in with that attitude. It is our destiny to show the world our show.”
Totten said another reason they decided to perform “Turandot” at the festival is because they will be performing it in an outside venue.
“We could do it inside in front of 500 or 600 people, but that's not the world,” she said. “At Internationals, there will be thousands in attendance.”
Totten said there would also be one more public performance before they leave for the festival. She said they would then put the play to rest following the festival performance, but that show would be changed dramatically from their prior performances.
“Because we don't have a time limit now,” she said. “So now we can add the scenes we had to take out to get it under 40 minutes and because we're taking it outside, I'm going to add some stuff to adapt it to the venue.”
Totten said in order to take all 19 students to the festival, which will be a weeklong event from June 20 to 23, the team has to raise a total of about $24,000.
“The miracle is that we've raised almost every bit of it,” she said. “That is amazing. The generosity of the community has been really nice.”
Totten said while they have received large-sum donations, they have also been given generous donations from people who have come out to see their plays.
“Some would buy a $3 ticket, give us $20 and tell us to keep the change,” she said. “It's the generosity from everyone that has been amazing.”
To help raise the remaining funds, the drama department will be hosting its annual Drama Follies program Friday beginning at 7:07 p.m in the Bryce Taylor Theatre for the Performing Arts. Tickets for the show are $2.97 each.
“The Follies is a talent show where you don't have to have the talent,” Totten said. “If you can't sing but you always wanted to sing, this is the venue to do it. And since it's a different kind of show, the price and time are different, too.”
The drama department will also host a rummage sale on May 7, which Totten said will also have barbecue sandwich plates, complete with sides and a drink. Tickets for the barbecue plates will go on sale next week for $5 each.