Senior Wins Outstanding Performer Award

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Photo by Duane Walton

Haley Bass, Staff Writer

    She waits in the audience filled with nervous anticipation. She grips the hands of her castmates tightly, hoping for the best. Some of the cast members have already received awards, but there is just one left. She knows the rest of her cast is depending on her, silently wishing the exact same thing. In a moment, the contest manager speaks, and her whole team cheers. 

    The One Act Play cast competed at their district competition in early March. In addition to placing first as a cast and advancing to the next level of competition, senior Emma Cook received the highest acting award at the competition: Outstanding Performer. 

    “To win Outstanding Performer at any level requires complete and total dedication to your craft,” theatre director Kari McKenzie said. “It means being told a hundred times that you are wrong for your choice until that one moment it is right.”

    Cook officially joined the  theater program two years ago. In that short amount of time, she has risen to the challenge, playing multiple lead roles and winning multiple acting awards in One Act Play. 

    “When I think of Emma, I think of her believability, movement and strength of voice,” Taylor Jarman said. “There is something in Emma’s acting that makes you want to see what happens next.”

This year, the One Act Play cast is performing the play Nell Gwynn. Cook plays the character of Gwynn herself, a woman widely regarded as the first successful female actress. 

“Nell Gwynn is my dream role, so being able to portray her has been such a privilege,” Cook said. “She was such a pioneer for women in the arts, so it’s really cool knowing that I am on stage because of her.”

At any level of One Act Play competition, there are multiple levels of awards a performer can receive including, but not limited to, Honorable Mention and All-Star Cast. The Outstanding Performer awards however, are the most prestigious and are given to the two best performers among all of the competitors. 

“Winning Outstanding Performer has been the highlight of my career,” Cook said. “It was like a tidal wave of emotions.”