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Cleburne Advances to Bi-District in One Act Play Competition

                Cleburne High School’s UIL One Act Play team will be advancing in competition following Friday’s performance at the 14-5A District contest.

                The cast and crew of “Jane Eyre,” were one of three teams chosen by judges to advance to the Bi-District contest, which will be held March 24 at Joshua High School. Julie Hall and Jaxton Hunt, who play the lead roles in the production, were named to the All-Star Cast, with Stage Manager Anna Trew receiving the All-Star Technical Crew recognition.

                Hall and Hunt, are cast in the lead roles of Jane Eyre and Edward Rochester. Both garnered well-earned shares of the spotlight in the CHS children’s production of “Beauty and the Beast,” in which Hall portrayed Plumette, the feather duster opposite Hunt’s role of Lumiére the candelabra.

                In the one act play version of the Charlotte Bronte classic, they are featured in a beauty and beast story of a different kind. Hall plays the intelligent, honest Jane Eyre, orphaned at a young age, who has grown up amid inequality and hardship. She comes to Thornfield Hall as a governess, where she encounters Mr. Rochester, the mysterious master of the house. Hunt brings to life Rochester’s brooding, arrogant and often puzzling behaviors as well as his tender and tragic sides.

“The Judges’ critiques were very positive,” Theater Arts teacher Keli Price said. “All the judges commented on the strength of our ensemble. We do plan to work on showing the emotion of the play and its characters in what we present on stage at bi-district.”

Takara Bailey and Rylee Mullen, who are among seven Texas students who have been chosen to compete at the International Thespian Festival in June, are featured in supporting roles in the Cleburne production. Bailey has no lines in her role of the deranged first wife of Edward Rochester, kept secreted behind locked doors. Her maniacal laughter—and frightening presence in her periodic escapes—showcase her passion for theater and acting range, no matter the part.

                Mullen plays several characters in the production including Alice Fairfax, the housekeeper of Thornfield Hall. The CHS senior shows off the physical side of her performance skills in bringing the audience into her role of the nervous housekeeper, saddled with hiding all the secrets within the household.

                The cast of Jane Eyre includes a number of One Act Play veterans including Antares Ewell, Cooper Madison, Jada Martinez, Jovanny Cepeda, Isabelle Russek and Keaton Howe who were also members of “The Fourth Ward” cast that advanced to UIL Bi-District in 2019.

                Rounding out the list of performers are Hunter Patrick, Jade Summers, Tim Bailey, Chloe Whitehead, Megan Baadsgaard and Gavin Campbell. The technical crew includes Beverly Flower, Schyler Boone, Jase Felton and Jordan Connor.

                “The technical judge said she saw nothing within our design that needed tweaking, which was nice to hear,” Price said. “We also received high marks on stage positioning and spatial awareness. Our students worked very hard in preparing for district and are now focused on our next performance before UIL judges.  We are all excited to be advancing in the competition.”

                This is Price’s third year as the theater arts teacher at CHS—and her third year to lead her high school thespians to the bi-district level of One Act Play competition. Irving Elementary teacher Mindy Wilborn is serving as assistant director for the production.

                Cleburne is third on the performance list for the March 24 contest, with “Jane Eyre” scheduled to take the stage at 12:30 p.m.



Julie Hall, left, as Jane Eyre, and Jaxton Hunt, cast as the brooding, mysterious Edward Rochester, received All-Star Cast honors at the UIL One Act Play District contest, in which Cleburne was chosen to advance to Bi-District competition set for March 24. Stage Manager Anna Trew was named All-Star Technician.