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3 Friendswood High students compete in state theater design contest

3 Friendswood High students compete in state theater design contest

Three Friendswood High School students have advanced to the state University Interscholastic League theatrical design competition scheduled May 4 in Round Rock.

The state qualifiers are sophomore Claire Gibson, 15, in costume design and junior Sara Throop, 16, and sophomore Jimmy Perry, 16, in hair and makeup design.

“Students from all over the state designed sets, costumes, hair and makeup and a marketing plan for a hypothetical production of Ken Ludwig’s recent adaptation of Agatha Christie’s ‘Murder on the Orient Express,’” said the students’ adviser, Amy Thornton, the technical theater teacher at FHS.

All three advancing students at FHS designed for both Hercule Poirot, Christie’s famous Belgian detective, and Samuel Ratchett, a character who has been portrayed by Richard Widmark, Peter Strauss, Toby Jones and Johnny Depp in movie adaptations of “Murder on the Orient Express,” a mystery that was first published in 1934.

Gibson and Throop also designed for gossipy Helen Hubbard, whom the late Lauren Bacall famously played in a 1974 movie remake of the story, and Perry designed for Countess Andreyni, whom Jacqueline Bissett played opposite Bacall.

“Claire also had to design a scene with three or more characters in it,” said Thornton.

UIL theatrical design competition began in 2006 with the goal of encouraging students in technical theater classes and honoring their talents as designers.

Since 2011, FHS has competed in the design contests under Thornton’s direction.

This year, for the first time, students weren’t allowed to set their hypothetical productions in a time period of their choice. Rather, they were required to adhere to the 1930s setting of the play, which takes place in and around Istanbul, Turkey.

“This year’s emphasis is on the designer’s ability to find and understand the details of the characters and to convey them in addition to the historical world from which they came and relate it all to the actions of the play,” state contest director Rachel Gomez wrote in a letter to the entrants.

Finalists in the UIL theatrical design contest were scheduled to arrive May 3 at the Hartfield Performing Arts Center in Round Rock and be given the opportunity to make sure that what they submitted is ready to be judged.

That afternoon, the entries were to be seen for the first time by contest adjudicators.

The next day, each finalist will be given 90 seconds to speak about that student’s process or product.

“Topics might include explanations of their favorite elements, their biggest frustration and how it was solved, or the most interesting thing they learned in the design process,” wrote Gomez.