Senior Olivia Harwell and her cast mates practice on the stage. “I enjoy theater for so many things, Harwell said. I love the camaraderie of the cast and the family. We have the ability to love each other.
Senior Olivia Harwell and her cast mates practice on the stage. “I enjoy theater for so many things,” Harwell said. “I love the camaraderie of the cast and the family. We have the ability to love each other.
Neda Morrow

Creating a Scene

Senior Lands Lead Role in One Act Play

Students rush to the sheet hung upon delicately on the wall. The group chatters and discusses the released cast list seeing what roles they received and their excitement for the upcoming play. A girl moves through the pact of people and makes her way to the paper. Senior Olivia Harwell smiles as she lands the lead role in the One Act Play.

Harwell along with the One Act Cast will perform their play, Mrs.Packard, at the district competition March 7 and 8 in Cumberland. If they advance, the bi-district competition will be held March 20 and 21.

“Performing gives me a sense of relief,” Harwell said. “I can put happiness into someone’s life just by just pretending to be and just by playing a character. I am able to bring those people to life. It’s hard to not have fun”

Harwell began her theater career in her church by participating in various small church plays. Later, she joined theater during her 8th grade year with a Christmas play before moving into high school theater.

“What really started to motivate me was my freshman year I had gotten a role in our musical,” Harwell said. “It was really really cool to start on the stage so early and that kind of triggered my love for it because I made people happy.”

Harwell has participated in 8 shows since beginning high school including Carlotta in “Little Mermaid Jr.” Her freshman year, the villain’s wife in the show “39 Steps” sophomore year, as well as multiple high-level roles in “Alice in Wonderland”, “9 Worst Breakups” and “Check Please” combo show and the One Act Play “Caucasian Chalk Circle” her junior year. Now as a senior she has played Mrs. Potts from “Beauty and the Beast” and landed her first lead role as Mrs. Packard in the department’s One Act Play “Mrs. Packard.”

“She has an extremely strong work ethic,” theater director Kari McKenzie said. “She truly wants to understand the characters that she plays, it’s not just about saying the lines, it’s about understanding their background, their emotions, their feelings in the moment and how they would truly react. She has always been really good at that and even from the beginning of entering the program.”

Mrs. Packard tells the story about an American woman’s struggle in a corrupt mental institution and her fight to bring awareness to women’s rights. Harwell performs this character in a 40 minute cut for the One Act Play competition.

“She is a feminist ahead of her time and I love that,” Harwell said. “It’s really allowed me to exercise that point of view of my life into her. It’s really interesting to see her on stage because it’s kind of me on stage too.”

Along with her extracurricular work in Yearbook, Harwell attends rehearsals every Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday to prepare the show and will perform in a series of 5 competitions. 

“I am so nervous for district,” Harwell said. “It’s going to be good though. I have a good feeling that when we go to compete we are going to pull it together  because no matter what happens on stage we leave it on the stage and we create this beautiful story.

Harwell will be attending TJC and majoring in general studies in order to find which option best suits her future. She has no plans to continue theater after high school.

“Never give up,” Mckenize said. “Just take all of the skills that hopefully I have taught her and that theater has taught her and just push forward towards your dreams and never look back.”

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All Eagle Eye News Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *