The Ending of the Dark Road

One-Act Play Gives Final Performance at Area


SE’s one act troupe and directors after the awards ceremony at the area contest.

After deciding upon the Dark Road by Laura Lundgren Smith as their One-Act play this year, the theatre directors, cast, and crew members immediately began studying lines and blocking scenes. Through practice and time in school, they prepared for One-Act festivals, including ones in Wellington, Midland, and Lubbock. Each performance given at these festivals involved the misuse of props, forgetting lines, saying the wrong lines at the wrong time, and messing up the blocking in scenes. Because of such mistakes, it didn’t seem as if the actors would ever feel confident in their performance and how they presented their story on stage.

“This was the beginning. Are you paying attention?”

However, the district One-Act competition approached quickly, and the SEHS actors stepped on Sudan’s stage to deliver what they hoped would be good enough to place first, but after their performance, they were unsure if they could meet that goal. To their surprise, the judges would announce Springlake-Earth as the first place performance, earning the actors the district championship and confidence heading into the bi-district competition.

Running off of the same confidence gained at district, the actors stepped on the stage once more. Yet, they would leave the same stage feeling as if they had given the worst performance of the season. While the audience and directors thought they had delivered a good show, the cast and crew could not help but feel disappointed in their presentation. In addition to this, the previous year’s outcome remained fresh in the minds of many. Last year, the One-Act company advanced to bi-district, but their journey ended without an advancement to area. Especially after their performance, the actors were expecting to hear the same news.

“Wait. You haven’t heard the end of the story.”

Adrian High School was announced first to advance to area, placing third overall. The audience got quiet as the contest manager’s voice rang out again, “Advancing to area…is Springlake-Earth!” In shock and excitement, the cast and crew walked on stage to receive their plaque and resume their position in second place. Heading into area for the first time, the One-Act troupe was ecstatic. Through critiques, re-blocking, and re-memorization of lines, SE perfected every scene, prepared to exhibit the best show they possibly could at area.

Taking their positions on the stage in Amarillo, the opening sound of  Dark Road signaled, the lights came on, and the acting crowd’s murmurs began Springlake-Earth’s area performance. For 38 minutes, the SE actors delivered the story of Greta, a female guard at Ravensbruck who sacrificed what she loved most for Germany and the Reich, including her own sister, Lise. It was a story that entailed a cruel and cold path with violence, anger, and devotion to Nazi Germany and the riddance of the Jewish population. And it was a story that would end with Greta’s final speech.

“And so the road ends.”

With the immediate darkness and sound of Greta’s hanging settling over the audience, the show would conclude, and Dark Road would come to an end. The road for SE’s One-Act company would also end with that performance.

Despite their chilling performance, Springlake-Earth placed fourth overall, making them the alternate to regionals. However, many of the One-Act performers caught the eyes of judges and earned them a spot as Best Lights, Honorable Mention, All-Star Cast, and Best Performer. Senior Gabi Garcia received the honor of Best Lights, junior Xavyer Mosqueda stood as Honorable Mention, All-Star Cast recipients were senior Oscar Flores and freshman Aabriella Villanueva, and earning Best Performer was junior Lynnsey Mahler.

“First of all, I am proud of them for making it to area because that is a huge accomplishment,” director Cassi Furr said. “I’m a little sad we didn’t advance, but more than anything, I’m just incredibly proud of this group and honored to have had the opportunity to work with them.”

It truly was something to be proud of and by far, our best performance. We set out to do what we aspired to do, and that was to give our audience a great performance that would be chilling and memorable.

— senior Annabelle Anchondo

The placement of the schools in the top four had competing scores. For SE, that meant their performance was good enough to compete and be close to those of the top three and advancing area shows.

“Area was way better than bi-district,” junior actor Emma Stevenson said.  “As a whole group, we did very well. We left our best on the stage, and that is important in One-Act.” 

For those that received individual awards, it was a proud moment. In fact, some had received the honor they had been seeking their entire One-Act career, including Mahler.

“Earning best performer is a really big accomplishment, one that I’ve worked the last four years to achieve,” Mahler said. “It was extra cool because getting an award at area really says something about the quality of acting that was delivered that day.”

This year, the SE One-Act program welcomed many newcomers, making the successes of the season even more special. One actor, senior Annabelle Anchondo, who played the part of Woman 3, Prisoner 2, and Person 2, was new to the program this year, and while she was unsure of previous performances, she believes that the One-Act company ended with their best performance.

“At previous competitions, we never felt like we had given a good performance, but area was a completely different story. Everyone enveloped themselves in their role, scenes were superior, the emotional standpoint was effective, and the violence scenes looked real,” Anchondo said. “It truly was something to be proud of and by far, our best performance. We set out to do what we aspired to do, and that was to give our audience a great performance that would be chilling and memorable.”

While SE’s performance left audience members and judges in awe, the One-Act troupe placed 4th overall, making them alternate to regionals. Even with such placing, director Cassi Furr thinks highly of her cast, who she believes advanced to the highest of stages.

“In my opinion, my kids made it to state,” Furr said. “We did make the alternate team, which is unlikely we will compete at regionals, but I am still proud of my cast. Like I always say, ‘you can’t convince me that my kids aren’t the best kids.’” 

Despite the unfavorable outcome, each actor, crew member, and director was thankful to have shared the stage with one another this year and will always appreciate the fun found within the ending of this One-Act era.

“For a lot of us, the area performance marked the end of an era and meant that being on stage with our One-Act family had come to an end. There are four seniors, a director, and some underclassmen who are seeking bigger and brighter things outside of One-Act and SE,” Anchondo said. “While that is a bittersweet realization, we have shared some of the best laughs with one another this year, despite the gloominess of our play. We truly did our absolute best at area and had fun doing it. That, I think, is what mattered the most and will always be something I am blessed to have been a part of.”