Harlem High School drama students are no strangers to winning. They recently earned another accolade when they became the Region 3-AAAA one-act play champions.
"It is a big deal for us. It is very much a big deal," said Roy Lewis, the school's drama director. "We're very excited and in a little bit of disbelief."
The eight-member cast and 12-person crew won the school's fifth consecutive region title, and Best Supporting Actor and Actress nods for Anthony Dyches and Desiree Martinez, on Nov. 1 with Ken Ludwig's Moon Over Buffalo.
The one-act comedy earned the school its fourth state title -- other state wins came in 1992, 1998 and 2005 -- on Nov. 15 in Warner Robbins.
"It was very different," Lewis said of competing with a comedy. "For the past two years, we've done very serious, dramatic pieces and wanted to change it up. ... Comedy is the most difficult, because it depends on split-second timing and the 'wow' factor."
Harlem High actors competed in the larger AAAA division for the first time. They previously competed in AAA.
Lewis said in past years, he and his students were aware of the other competing theater programs and the facilities available to them. This year, the new division gave them no idea of the capabilities of competing schools.
"There was an excitement to the newness, but it was also very nerve-wracking," Lewis said. "We were a little overwhelmed, questioning being able to compete with these folks. I think we did a good job of handling the pressure and the overall challenge."
The cast was Eric Mills, Heather Hinton, Desiree Martinez, Anthony Dyches, Brian Jordan, Alex Martinez, Bethany Williams and Bridget Roberts. The actors were the perfect mix of personalities and talent to create a great ensemble cast, Lewis said.
"They really stepped it up," he said. "The energy was incredible. They rose to the occasion.
"I was surprised because they were giving a performance on a level we've never experienced before."
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