Irving — Young thespians, ages 6 to 18, performed during the 55th annual One Act Play Competition presented at the Irving Arts Center on Friday, July 19. Produced by the Irving Parks and Recreation Department, the competition featured groups from recreation centers around the city.
“This is something I did when I was a little kid,” Ainslee Barr, the director Cimarron’s play, said. “It’s just fun to carry on the legacy and tradition of making sure the kids have a good time on stage, and they present their best selves. They have a great time and learn in the process.
“I want the kids to learn it’s okay to put themselves in a situation they might not be comfortable with. Every opportunity is a chance to learn something new, and to learn something about themselves.”
“[The contest] has a lot of kids from different backgrounds, social economic statuses and genders,” Itzel Madrigal, the master of ceremonies, said. “They all come together because they love to act and have fun, but they come to compete as well. The event has been around for over half a century, and it’s really helped these kids get their imaginations flowing.”
“In drama and acting, you’re able to put a lot of creative input and ideas,” Swarra Mudgalkar (13), student director for the Cimarron, said. “It’s really fun to express creativity.”
“I think it teaches them how to focus on the task at hand in reaching towards a specific goal,” Della Jones, director of the Lee Park play, said. “I also hope it teaches them to prepare, plan and achieve that final goal.
“I hope [the community] supports the hard work the kids have done. It’s hard to memorize and rehearse lines, and do a production in front of so many parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles. I just hope they really appreciate the work the kids put into this.”
The One Act Play Competition provides kids an opportunity to put everything they have learned during a process together, but they’re not the only ones who learn about themselves.
“I learned happiness is a choice, and you don’t have to have anything except that choice, that you’re going to be happy in order to be happy,” Madrigal said. “Some of these kids come from backgrounds where they deal with so much stuff, and they deal with not having much stuff. But you see them every day, and they have the biggest smiles on their faces, and that motivates you to say whether I have this or not, I can still be happy. I can still have a great time, and I love it.”
Recreation centers represented in the competition included Lee Park, Cimarron Park, Senter Park, Mustang Park, Northwest Park and Georgia Farrow Park. In the contest, kids were judged on presentation, delivery of lines and story clarity, length of show and originality.
Mustang Park’s “Hansel & Gretel and the Creepy Woods” won overall Best Play. The runner up for Best Play went to Senter Park’s “The Cell Phone Zombie.”
Senter Park’s Will Whitworth won Best Actor, and Mustang Park’s Akshita Srivastava won Best Actress.
Lee Park’s Aaryan Raj won Best Male runner up, and Marianna Arenas won Best Female runner up.